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The Sandwich Feedback Method: not very tasty

Abstract

When correcting employee behavior and providing negative performance comments, managers are often encouraged to begin with something positive and are frequently instructed to use the “sandwich method” in which one inserts (or sandwiches) criticism between two positive remarks. Although offered by many well-intentioned management trainers and organizations as an effective and humane way for bosses to communicate how badly an employee is doing something, this commonly used method may be undermining both the supervisor’s feedback and the relationship with their workers. After reviewing this method of corrective guidance, the authors discuss why leaders use the sandwich approach, the problems presented by this technique, and then offer an effective alternative procedure managers can use to address problematic workplace conduct.
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The sandwich feedback method: Not very tasty
C. W. Von Bergen
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Martin S. Bressler
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Kitty Campbell
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
ABSTRACT
When correcting employee behavior and providing negative performance comments,
managers are often encouraged to begin with something positive and are frequently instructed to
use the “sandwich method” in which one inserts (or sandwiches) criticism between two positive
remarks. Although offered by many well-intentioned management trainers and organizations as
an effective and humane way for bosses to communicate how badly an employee is doing
something, this commonly used method may be undermining both the supervisor’s feedback and
the relationship with their workers. After reviewing this method of corrective guidance, the
authors discuss why leaders use the sandwich approach, the problems presented by this
technique, and then offer an effective alternative procedure managers can use to address
problematic workplace conduct.
Keywords: correcting employee behavior, the sandwich method, employee feedback
Copyright statement: Authors retain the copyright to the manuscripts published in AABRI
journals. Please see the AABRI Copyright Policy at http://www.aabri.com/copyright.html.
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“You’re one of the best workers I have—when you’re here; but if you don’t
improve your attendance in the next two months, I’m going to have to fire
you. You’ve got more talent in your little finger than most people have in
their whole body and that’s why I’m so worried about you.”
When employees do things that are unsafe, unhealthy, unfair, or destructive to the
organization, such misconduct cannot be ignored or allowed to continue. According to Trevino
(1992), misconduct can be defined from the manager’s perspective as any behavior that does not
meet work standards according to the prescribed moral or technical requirements. Under this
definition, employee theft, drug or alcohol abuse, tardiness, excessive absenteeism or sick leave
use, insubordination, and sub-standard work performance may all qualify as misconduct and
must be corrected” (Redeker, 1984).
One very common way that managers are often taught to deal with a worker’s poor
performance is to apply the sandwich method (Daniels, 2009), also known as the hamburger
method of constructive criticism (The Hamburger, 2007) illustrated in the above statement.
Managers using this approach to correct problematic employee behavior are instructed to begin
with a constructive compliment on something the worker does well (the fluffy bun part) after
which they are advised to get to the meat of the matter, which of course is the constructive
criticism part. Finally, supervisors are counseled to end with another constructive compliment
(i.e., the other half of the fluffy bun). The intent is to reduce defensiveness, enhance useful
communication, and make the input better tolerated by the person receiving the coaching (Nelson
& Quick, 2013). Briefly, this approach is illustrated below in Figure 1.
Figure 1. The sandwich protocol.
In using the sandwich technique the supervisor wants to correct some employee bad
behavior while simultaneously protecting the worker’s self-esteem and increasing the
individual’s receptivity to changing his or her problematic conduct in the future. This practice
often makes the supervisor feel more comfortable because s/he believes they are protecting the
worker’s ego in bringing up positives while still addressing unwanted or ineffective employee
behavior and the negative consequences for its future occurrenceswhich was the point of the
conversation to begin with.
While the supervisor may feel good because they perceive themselves as being positive
and upbeat, the employee, on the other hand, often becomes confused as to what is really
happening and the message of the manager regarding the negative employee behavior is diluted.
If continued over time, the employee may learn that praise from a supervisor is a prelude to a
rebuke from the manager. The reaction to supervisory-initiated positive reinforcement soon
becomes, “What have I done wrong now?” and workers become anxious waiting for something
inevitably bad to happen, since the positive comment has become a precursor to criticism. As an
unintended consequence, this procedure makes reinforcement less credible at other times.
COMPLIMENT CRITICISM COMPLIMENT
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Sandwiching detracts from the reinforcement value of the positive comments and diminishes the
corrective value of the punishing consequences (Daniels, 1989).
This article discusses this common managerial error, why leaders use the sandwich
approach, and the problems presented by this technique. The authors then provide an alternative
procedure managers can use to address problematic workplace conduct. This is followed by a
series of guidelines and a conclusion.
Why Leaders Use the Sandwich Approach
There are numerous reasons why managers use the sandwich technique. Schwarz (2013)
offered several reasons: “first, they think it is easier for people to hear and accept negative
feedback when it is sprinkled with positive feedback; second, they assume the sandwich
approach provides balanced feedback; and third, they believe that giving positive feedback with
negative feedback reduces worker discomfort and anxiety”. Regrettably, these supervisors
simply assume these reasons to be true without any corroborating evidence from the
management literature (Daniels, 1989; 2009). Interestingly, when these leaders were asked to
query their subordinates on how they preferred to obtain feedback on their job performance,
most employees stated that they only wanted the substance (the meat) without the breadthe
censure without the niceties (Schwarz, 2013)! Another interesting finding was that leaders
admitted that they used this particular approach since they find giving negative performance
feedback too stressful. Managers found it to be more relaxing by beginning the discussion with
the employee by starting first with positive comments. In spite of this, “easing in” will often
produces anxiety rather than preventing anxiety. The lengthier the conversation without
providing appropriate corrective feedback, the more uncomfortable managers became.
Subordinates sensed their discomfort and then became more anxious and worried.
Other reasons why leaders may use the sandwich method surround the issues of optimism
and being positive. Managers are encouraged to be upbeat based on two fundamental
motivational perspectives: approach and avoidance. Many of the major theorists of motivation
and personality have incorporated the approach-avoidance distinction into their
conceptualizations (Elliot & Covington, 2001) as fundamental and basic to human functioning.
The origin of the approach-avoidance distinction may be traced back to the ancient Greek
philosophers Democritus (460-370 B.C.) and Aristippus (435-356 B.C.), who espoused an
ethical hedonism that strives to maximize pleasure and avoid pain as the central guide for human
behavior. These two perspectives, one approach and the other avoidance, help account for the
popularity of the sandwich method.
Approach
The approach perspective holds that individuals move toward those things they find
attractive. (Matlin & Stang (1978), stated that there could possibly be no virtue more enviable in
the United States than to be an optimistic and positive person. Researchers such as Judge, Erez,
& Bono (1998) and Neck & Manz, (2007) stated that management theorists teachers,
theologians, philosophers, counseling and sports psychologists and even well-known self-help
experts emphasize the importance of being a positive person in order to be able to achieve
productivity, happiness, satisfaction, in addition to personal growth and effectiveness The
American way of life is replete with stories emphasizing optimism. The French philosopher
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Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States in 1831 to determine what made the country so
vibrant and successful and noted America’s optimism and emphasis on the positive. Perhaps
such an emphasis on being positive should come as no surprise since it is a cultural byproduct of
a country that placed the right to happiness in its 1776 Declaration of Independence.
The cultural tradition of positivity still fuels the American dream in the 21st century
(Handy, 2001). Many parents raise their children to see the glass as half-full and to recognize
that every cloud has a silver lining. Americans are a positive peoplecheerful, optimistic, and
upbeat: this is their reputation as well as their self-image (Ehrenreich, 2009). Such a positivity
zeitgeist has become so ingrained in American society that positive seems to not only be normal
but also normativethe way a person should be. Thus, it is understandable why managers when
correcting poor employee performance want to highlight the positive even as they address a
worker’s poor conduct.
Avoidance
The avoidance perspective holds that individuals try to evade that which they find to be
undesirable or disagreeable. This is the case with providing subordinates negative feedback.
Such feedback, however, presents a dilemma; most believe it necessary but few want to deliver it
(Ilgen & Davis, 2000). Apparently, it is so aversive that it is often neglected (Landy & Farr,
1980; Von Bergen, 2012), frequently leading to future, more serious problems. Many supervisors
would rather endure a root canal than deliver negative performance feedback where there are
some hard, cold truths that they cannot avoid discussing (Kjerulf, 2008). This perspective
suggests, once again, why managers may like the sandwich approach with its emphasis on
positive aspects of employee behavior while interjecting a few words about problematic
behavior.
Why the Sandwich Method Is Ineffective
The sandwich procedure offers a security blanket for those managers who find it difficult
to provide their employees with hard-hitting feedback because of a variety (and in many
instances irrational) concerns including fear of offending the employee, the fear of the employee
no longer liking the manager, the fear of the employee leaving the company, and especially the
fear of disturbing workplace dynamics. Those who advocate the sandwich system contend that
this approach becomes the starting point for the discussion, which is a better alternative than not
having the discussion. Nevertheless, although many argue for the sandwich it may not be as tasty
as some might think, and may actually hinder performance.
Daniels, 2009; Knowledge train, 2013; Petty, 2009; and Wood, 2013 offer the following
key reasons why the sandwich feedback technique might be bad practice:
1) First, this method becomes a crutch that for the most part benefits the manager giving
the feedbacknot the employee receiving the feedbackalthough many managers
believe they are implementing such a strategy to help their employees, it does little to
increase the effectiveness of the negative consequence on the performance of the
person being corrected. The sandwich technique tends to obscure the real meaning
and confuses the employee by diluting the main points. This results, in part, because
messages positioned in the middle tend to be overshadowed by those at the beginning
(the primacy effect) or those at the end (the recency effect). For any presentation,
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people are more likely to remember the first and last parts (Hogarth & Einhorn,
1992).
2) Over time when supervisors praise someone for a great job, employees begin
anticipating a reproach. Daniels (2009) calls this “the waiting for the other shoe to
drop syndrome” (Daniels, 2009, p. 96). Allen and Snyder (1990) relate a story about a
supervisor, Alex, who as a result of positive reinforcement training went into an
employee’s office and said, “Lisa, I just saw the report you wrote and the letter was
excellent. You have saved me considerable time here and I appreciate it.” The worker
stared at the supervisor for what seemed to be a very long time before the leader
turned to leave. As he was going, Lisa called out, “Alex, what did you really come in
here for?” His straightforward and sincere compliment made her suspicious.
3) Workers are not mindless and if leaders consistently provide performance feedback
using the sandwich method, the employees quickly begin to realize the real purpose
behind the message was the zinger the manager delivered during the middle part of
the discussion. Employees then begin to doubt the manager’s honesty with regard to
any of the positive things they do that the supervisor tells them because they are
always wondering when the criticism will come.
4) The sandwich tactic demolishes the worth of positive feedback when tied to negative
performance feedback. Positive feedback can be an effective means to reinforce
appropriate behaviors however, the sandwich feedback method diminishes the
effectiveness of providing feedback to the employee. Associated with this is the “yes,
but” rule, with the classic example being “Yes, you did a good job, but you know you
still have a long way to go” (Daniels, 2009, p. 87). Using the word “but” in the
middle of a sentence is often interpreted by the receiver of the message as “ignore
what I’ve just said, because the important point is coming up.” This causes people to
ignore the first part and obsess on the last part. It becomes a prodding, nagging style
of management and workers often respond to such statements by indicating that “No
matter what you do around here, you can never please _______.” Motivation is
decreased, rather than increased as the supervisor had hoped.
5) The impact or need for understanding improvement may be weakened. Supervisors
should not reinforce what they want and correct what they do not want in the same
breath (Daniels, 1989). The worker may fail to recognize the most important aspect of
the feedback providedthe correctionand therefore the original objective of
providing the critique (i.e. identifying inappropriate behaviors or opportunities for
improvement) may not be achieved.
6) The manufactured positives supervisors create often provide the person with an over-
stated and inaccurate understanding of how they are actually performing. Given that
many people already have an overly favorable view of their abilities (Kruger &
Dunning, 1999; Nowell & Alston, 2007), providing contrived positives may simply
lead to further inaccurate self-assessments and make it more difficult for individuals
to recognize their performance limitations.
7) An employee’s positive qualities tend to remain consistent over time and repeated use
of these same qualities in the sandwich results in the outside of the sandwich
becoming more and more “stale”(Kislik, 2007). At the same time, the middle of the
sandwich keeps changing or expanding because of both unresolved and new
problems.
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One take away from the above concerns addresses the issue of truthfulness. It appears
that the sandwich approach is somewhat disingenuous in order to make the giver of the negative
feedback feel more comfortable when correcting worker performance (Johnson & Phillips,
2003). Whether this approach is labeled sugarcoating, softening the blow, or putting the worker
at ease, there appears to be an element of opaqueness inherent in the sandwich method that is
problematic.
In order for leaders to be most effective however, they must be transparent with regard to
the strategies they employ when working with their employees.
For example, Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric (GE) and current
management guru noted (Welch & Welch, 2005):
From the day I joined GE
to the day I was named CEO, twenty years later, my bosses cautioned me
about my candor. I was labeled abrasive and consistently warned my candor
would soon get in the way of my career. … and I’m telling you that it was candor that
helped make it work” ( p. 34).
This approach does not call for rudeness, but sincerity in which an individual respectfully
calls things the way they see them. Managers who take this approach don’t bother wasting time
with the usual sandwich feedback approach, therefore subordinates are more open to their honest
feedback. Managers who speak directly to their employees actually treat people with greater
respect. Employees then accept compliments from their manager and respect that kind of
feedback.
Consider the ridiculousness of the transparency scenario presented by Schwarz (2013)
using the sandwich approach. In his example, a supervisor might begin by saying something such
as this:
“Alex and Stacey, I have some negative feedback to give you. I’ll start
with some positive feedback to relax you, and then give you the negative
feedback, which is the real purpose of our meeting. Then, I’ll finish with
more positive feedback so you won’t be as disappointed or angry with me
when you leave my office. How does that work for you?”
Hopefully, most readers will see the absurdity of making such a strategy transparent.
The Sandwich Alternative
If supervisors have corrective feedback to provide someone, the authors believe it is
important to deliver it in a straightforward manner. For some managers it might be helpful to
also remember the words of noted behaviorist Aubrey Daniels (2001) who indicated, “‘Always
be positive,’ is the worst advice you could ever give or receive” (p. 44), when correcting worker
conduct. This may be important for some supervisors who find it difficult to engage in decidedly
non-positive behavior required in disciplinary discussions. There are times when a person’s
conduct does not call for the manager to be positive and pleasing. Management response like this
can actually be harmful to a sound performing company, employee, or team success. According
to Podsakoff, Todor, & Skov (1982), rewarding employees by forever being positive often
results in failing to teach employees and clarify workplace rules.
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Proper correcting is not easy. To decrease unwanted performance a supervisor must pay
careful attention to several guidelines. Supervisors who follow these guidelines help people do
the right thing as well as reduce the chance that they will perform in an undesirable way. These
guidelines are summarized in Table 1 and are designed to provide straightforward, direct,
descriptive communication with examples about what the employee needs to improve in an
honest and sensitive manner.
The authors propose a nine-step approach for correct correcting as listed below in Table 1
and explained in detail. This model could help managers better address work performance and
discipline issues more effectively, thereby leading to better performance and a harmonious work
environment.
Table1. Guidelines for Correct Correcting
1. Plan the discussion, when possible.
2. Keep positives and negatives separate.
3. Time discipline so as not to be too soon or too late.
4. Focus on the issue regarding employee behavior.
5. Connect the behavioral issue to how the issue impacts
the business.
6. State consequences if behavior does not improve.
7. Identify the proper and required behavioral change that
the supervisor expects.
8. Ask how the manager can help the worker.
9. Express confidence in the employee’s ability to improve.
Plan the Discussion.
If possible, overcome fear of delivering constructive feedback by planning the discussion
with the worker and practicing conversation starters by getting politely and directly to the point.
Many managers are uncomfortable with discipline conversations and frequently make mistakes
(Atwater, Waldman, Carey, & Cartier, 2001). Thus, it may be helpful for these supervisors to
consult with their boss and/or the human resources department before the discussion. This will
enhance a leader’s self-efficacy and confidence in conducting such meetings. Additionally, if a
manger finds himself or herself in a situation where correcting behavior is necessary then they
should do it without apology. A leader’s wording preparation, approach, and specific examples
of misconduct will make them more comfortable as the deliverers of constructive feedback.
Keep Positives and Negatives Separate.
Separate the positives from the negatives. Let some time pass between the two. For
example, “Jim, I like your report. It is concise and you completed it ahead of schedule. Thank
you.” The next morning, the supervisor might say, “Jim, I was thinking about your report and if
you will make these two changes, I believe the report will be even better.” Avoid saying “You
did a good job, but ….” Henry Ward Beecher, noted U.S.
Congregational minister, said it succinctly over a hundred years ago: “The meanest, most
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contemptible kind of praise is that which first speaks well of a man (sic) and then qualifies it
with a ‘but’” (n. d.).
Timing.
Time discipline so as not to be too soon or too late. Timeliness is also important for
worker correction because it increases the perceived connection between the misconduct and the
feedback discussion (Arvey & Ivancevich, 1980; Arvey & Jones, 1985). Punishment tends to
work immediately and so if a behavior needs to stop without delay, as in matters of ethical and
safety violations, then punishment can be used as an effective strategy (Daniels & Daniels,
2005). Nevertheless, it may be best to not take punitive action without some review. There can
be many extenuating circumstances associated with inappropriate behavior. Therefore,
supervisors must evaluate the situation thoroughly before deciding on any corrective action.
Additionally, delaying criticism may be prudent if the manager is unsure how to administer
discipline correctly or has concerns regarding procedural issues (Butterfield, Trevino, & Ball,
1996). Atwater et al. (2001) found that both managers and recipients recognized that managers
often make errors in the employee correction process and that these slips were made when
managers were “out of control” (p. 267). Thus, it may be desirable to delay punishment if a
manager’s emotional state would likely lead to an unduly harsh interaction with a worker.
All too frequently, persons in authority tend to criticize subordinates only when they are
upset, angry, and no longer able to hold their temper in check (Baron, 1988). Because of the
criticizer’s strong emotions, feedback is typically delivered in a biting, insulting tone that
includes threats of termination, demotion, transfer, and other negative outcomes (Heldmann,
1988). Such criticism is highly dysfunctional. Hence, some delay in administering punishment
may be appropriatebut not too much of a postponement. This is because many managers who
wait too long to deliver negative feedback to others often let the negative emotion associated
with punishment fester and then blow-up at the target employee thus creating an even more
difficult situation (Larson, 1986). The feedback they supply then is likely to be ineffective and
may exact serious costs for organizational commitment, job-related motivation, and negative
attitudes toward supervisors or toward appraisal procedures generally (Ilgen, Mitchell, &
Fredrickson, 1981).
Focus on the Behavioral Issue.
A helpful, constructive attitude on the part of the supervisor when providing feedback has
been related to numerous positive outcomes such as satisfaction, perceptions of fairness, and
motivation to improve job performance (Burke, Weitzel, & Weir, 1978). Ask for the employees
perception of the problem and what is causing it. Encourage the worker to speak candidly and
listen carefully to the information given. Keep the feedback focused on job-related behaviors and
never criticize someone personally because of an inappropriate action. Telling people they are
incompetent, lazy, or the like is almost always counterproductive. It often results in such an
emotional reaction that the performance deviation itself is likely to be overlooked.
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Link the Issue to Business Impact.
Link the worker failings to their real impact on the business and on the employee’s
coworkers. Help the worker see where their actions are unfavorably having an impact on their
company and their career. Focus, too, on the positive results that will occur with improvement.
Describe the impact of the problem (safety issues, the need to reassign work). For example,
employee behavior is one of the primary determinants in workplace safety and injury prevention.
Employees who fail to follow proper safety procedures could potentially put themselves and
their coworkers at risk for injury and resulting legal liability, as well as a resulting loss in
productivity. It is appropriate in this step for a supervisor to also get the employee’s explanation
for the performance issue. Shapiro and Brett (2005) suggest that the ability to express one’s
view, often referred to as “voice,” plays an important role in how individuals judge the fairness
of procedures.
State Consequences if Behavior Does Not Improve.
Follow the punitive procedures as stated in the firm’s company policy. Employees need
to understand the consequences of failure to demonstrate immediate and sustained improvement.
Explain what further disciplinary action may result, such as a written warning, suspension,
demotion, and/or dismissal. Document the oral warning, including key elements of the
discussion. Once again, it is advisable to contact upper level managers and the human resources
department to be sure that the contemplated consequences are indeed lawful and appropriate.
Supervisor actions overturned by higher level managers or the human resource department
reduce a supervisor’s effectiveness over the long run.
Identify the Proper and Required Behavioral Change that the Supervisor Expects.
Remind the employee of the acceptable standards or rules. If they are available in writing,
provide them to the employee. When a supervisor addresses areas where improvement is needed,
he or she must be very specific in describing the unacceptable performance or behavior. For
example, if an employee tends to speak rudely to other employees or customers, give the
employee some examples of this behavior and provide some alternative positive behaviors the
worker could have used. Define the boundaries by letting the employee know what is acceptable
and what will not be tolerated. Discuss with the employee a plan for monitoring performance and
re-evaluating the employee.
Help the Worker.
Many times it is appropriate for supervisors to ask how the supervisor can help the
worker. If it is determined that the employee lacks confidence in their ability to perform as
required on the job, then the supervisor should offer some suggestions to resolve the problem,
such as additional training, coaching, or mentoring. If the source of the problem is personal in
nature, such as marital or financial issues, encourage the employee to seek treatment or
counseling, perhaps through an employee assistance program.
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Express Confidence in the Employee’s Ability to Improve.
Following the entire discussion, rather than provide more positive feedback, use the time
to express confidence in the employee’s ability to improve his or her performance. Here it might
be important to establish an action plan and a critical points timeline that specifies when the
supervisor would like information from the employee about their progress in correcting the
problematic behavior.
Maintain Appropriate Documentation of the Discipline Administered.
No discussion of worker misconduct can end without addressing documentation. The
United States is becoming increasingly litigious and one of the most essential guidelines for
handling any and all worker disciplinary action is documentation. The goal of documentation is
to memorialize the firm’s efforts to address problematic behavior (Clancy & Warner, 1999).
When followed regularly, accurate and contemporaneous documentation will add authenticity
and credibility to the events leading to the supervisory action and will help the organization
prevail against claims of wrongful discharge, breach of contract, and/or discrimination. Taking
notes during or immediately after a discipline review will create a record of what happened and
support personnel decisions. Maintaining a journal with dated notes of any and all conferences
that take place in the manager’s office should become routine, and in a litigated matter, could
prove invaluable. They should be kept as part of the supervisor’s file in a secure area. If there are
no documents, the employee is much more likely to win should there be a court case (e.g., Lloyd
v. Georgia Gulf Corp., 1992). Additionally, Attorney West, principal at Employment Practices
Specialists in Pacifica, California (HR Daily Advisor, 2011), indicated that it is critical to get the
employee’s explanation for performance issues and to include it in such documentation.
Allowing worker input could reveal a reasonable explanation for his or her misconduct. For
example, perhaps materials run out at certain times and that is interfering with production, or
perhaps there is a child with a terrible illness causing that employee to be 10 minutes late.
Putting all these guidelines together might look something like this: “Tim, you have been
late three days this week. I have spoken to you about this before and you know how important it
is for you to be here on time because other employees cannot complete their work until you do
yours. If you are late again this month, you will be terminated. Now, do you have any questions
or comments?” (adapted from Daniels, 2009, p. 97).
CONCLUSION
Baron (1988) found that it was generally not the delivery of negative feedback, per se,
that produced such unconstructive outcomes such as increased levels of conflict, resentment, and
aggression, but rather the manner in which supervisors conveyed such information that seemed
to play the crucial role. Baron (1988) observed that discussions about poor performance using
constructive criticism (specific, considerate, feedback that does not contain threats of termination
or reassignment, or suggestions that an individual’s poor performance results from negative
internal attributions such as the person being stupid or lazy) did not generate strong feelings of
anger and tension nor increase recipients’ tendency to adopt ineffective techniques for dealing
with poor performance (e.g., making endless excuses, refusing to change). Furthermore, Ilgen
and Davis (2000) forcefully argued that giving negative feedback carries with it the
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responsibility to convey the message in such a way that will not adversely affect the probability
that the person will perform better in the future. Clearly, managers should engage in constructive
suggestions with their poorly performing subordinates regarding how they might improve their
future behavior.
Implications for Managers
A 2010 study by the Corporate Executive Board (Griffin, 2010) found that companies
that encouraged honest feedback among its staff, and rated highly in the area of open
communication, delivered a 10-year total shareholder return 270 percent greater than other
companies7.9 percent compared to 2.1 percent. This illustrates the importance of providing
effective feedback. But how it is done is equally important as indicated in this paper. While the
sandwich approach has been heralded as an excellent way for giving such corrective feedback,
this paper has shown that it possesses a number of limitations and, in reality, may do more harm
than good.
Of course, in addition to the financial impact on company performance, employees
cannot develop their work potential without clear and honest feedback on their performance.
Managers, who do not provide this necessary feedback in an effective manner, not only short-
change their employees’ development, but can also negatively impact overall company
performance.
The sandwich method may be more comfortable for the supervisor and s/he will not
initially appear as harsh or critical. However, as illustrated here, the sandwich method ultimately
comes across as sugar coating over a bitter pill. There is no evidence to support the effectiveness
of this technique in correcting current employee behavior and improving future worker conduct.
Conversely, “sandwiching benefits the sandwicher more than the sandwichee” (Daniels, 2009, p.
101) and all evidence points to the more direct approach being the most productive way to
provide employee feedback.
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... In order to stimulate learning, scholars suggest various models to offer feedback. In undergraduate medical education, educators have been using models such as Pendleton rules (Chowdhury & Kalu, 2004;Pendleton, 1984), sandwich (Von Bergen et al., 2014), agenda-led outcome-based analysis (ALOBA) (Silverman, 1996), partnership-empathyapology-respect-legitimation-supports (PEARLS) (Milan et al., 2006), and stop-keep-start 21 (SKS) models (DeLong & DeLong, 2011). In medical specialty education, models include continue-alter-stop-try (CAST) (Sefcik & Petsche, 2015) and one-minute preceptor (OMP) (Sabesan & Whaley, 2018). ...
Article
The centrality of feedback is undeniable in education. However, not all feedback effectively encourages learning or improves performance due to predicaments in feedback delivery and receptivity. Several studies suggest other ways where feedback is offered in a dialogic fashion instead of a monologic one. Nevertheless, few papers do so in the context of medical education, especially when the learning processes involve marginalized people such as disaster-affected patients. This paper draws on autoethnographic experiences of providing dialogic feedback for medical students using Paolo Freire's dialogue concepts. This feedback was given during reflective sessions in community-based medical education at post-disaster areas in Aceh, Indonesia. The findings show that Freire's dialogue concepts help assess dialogic feedback quality and offer insights into power relations between teachers and students. To achieve the aim of providing dialogic feedback --obtaining new understandings-- educators need to establish a more equal position in teacher-student relationships. In sum, the findings highlight the applicability of Freire's concept of dialogue in offering feedback for students especially when the training takes place in a context of marginalized people.
... While the perception of the feedback changes, studies have shown that there is no improved impact on performance through the feedback-sandwich, as compared to other sequences of negative and positive feedback (Parkes, Abercrombie, & McCarty, 2012;Henley & DiGennaro Reed, 2015). Managers believe in having a working feedback-strategy when using the sandwich-method; employees, on the other side, experience the sandwichmethod as dilutive of the actual talking point (von Bergen, Bressler, & Campbell, 2014). This impressive might stem from the serial-position effect, which consists of the recency and primacy effect (Ebbinghaus, 1885). ...
Thesis
DOWNLOAD HERE: https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:hbz:992-opus4-8362 Research on motivation may be alive and vital, but it is highly fragmented. This thesis discusses the most prevalent motivation theories and compares their ideas and concepts to introduce two new fields of research in this area: neurology and cardiology. The next era of motivation research will conflate concepts derived from behavioral approaches with organic substructure and elevate our understanding of motivation. A sound understanding of motivation allows organizational scholars to solve the motivational problem in the context of the organizational problem. To make proper use of promising novel insights in organizational contexts, we will revisit the current state of performance evaluation and their ability to coordinate and motivate individuals. By reconsidering how rewards crowd out intrinsic motivation via complex moods, and how superior intrinsic motivation increases performance compared to extrinsic motivation, this thesis introduces the motivation-potential model of feedback. Using a case study on a feedback-based management control system at a European e-commerce company based in Germany, we test how self-determination theory could be expanded by neurological concepts and quantitatively applied to design performance evaluation systems under the consideration of the motivation-potential model of feedback. In its entirety, this thesis attempts to build common ground for the future of motivation research and provides in-depth examples of theorization upon the aggregation of the field of research, as well as practical application and execution.
... The sentiment arc of negative feedback also did not conform to our structural expectations. The secondary literature in organisational studies has, in recent years, evaluated whether the widespread practice of sugarcoated negative feedback is an effective strategy for managers (Bergen, Bressler, and Campbell 2014;Daniels 2009). We speculated that reviewers might adopt such an approachcolloquially referred to as a 'shit sandwich'based on previous studies in the field (Fortanet 2008;Samraj 2016, 79-80). ...
Book
This Element describes for the first time the database of peer review reports at PLOS ONE, the largest scientific journal in the world, to which the authors had unique access. Specifically, this Element presents the background contexts and histories of peer review, the data-handling sensitivities of this type of research, the typical properties of reports in the journal to which the authors had access, a taxonomy of the reports, and their sentiment arcs. This unique work thereby yields a compelling and unprecedented set of insights into the evolving state of peer review in the twenty-first century, at a crucial political moment for the transformation of science. It also, though, presents a study in radicalism and the ways in which PLOS's vision for science can be said to have effected change in the ultra-conservative contemporary university. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
... Feedback strategies are important. The sandwich feedback method is usually applied to guide the teacher"s written comments, that is, Compliment, Criticism, and Compliment (Bergen, Bressler & Campbell, 2014), which means that the feedback begins with praise, then moves to criticisms and ends with praise again. The method wisely balances the negative feedback and positive feedback since it takes the learners" emotion into consideration. ...
Article
Full-text available
To compose an argumentative writing essay for a Chinese college student is a challenging activity as argumentative writing requires the high-order skills such as analysis, evaluation, reasoning. These skills are also termed as critical thinking skills. Thus this paper proposed to teach Chinese college English learners to compose an argumentative essay through the approach of infusing critical thinking skills into argumentative essay writing classes. It also put forward a pedagogical framework to facilitate Chinese college argumentative writing teachers to develop students’ argumentative writing ability.
... Although the sandwich approach to physical education and coaching feedback has received endorsement from many researchers, it is important to note that others have pointed out weaknesses in the approach as well. For example, some view this approach as ineffective (e.g., Von Bergen, Bressler, & Campbell, 2014), particularly if positive comments are generic or lacking in content, because the first and last portions of the sandwich act as a distraction from the corrective feedback, which some practitioners consider more important for improvement. For example, telling someone "Good job!" or "That was a great attempt!" may be useful for boosting motivation, but these phrases do not specifically reinforce the behaviors that should be repeated on subsequent trials. ...
Article
Physical educators and coaches serve essential educational functions, including promoting higher levels of physical activity, increasing understanding of culturally-appropriate sports skills and games, and providing a foundation for lifelong fitness through increased knowledge of health and exercise. Although movement principles are often emphasized in sport or physical activity contexts, tenets from the related field of performance psychology can supplement and facilitate student growth and learning. Important areas to consider include communication, attention, mindset, and mental skills such as goal-setting or imagery. This article outlines tips and strategies that practitioners can use to enhance feedback delivery, increase motivation, and improve skill retention through the understanding and incorporation of psychological principles that influence motor learning and performance.
Chapter
Understand the importance of feedbackIdentify the key requirements for delivering good feedbackExplore the pros and cons of different feedback modelsUnderstand some of the barriers to effective feedback, and relate these to your own practice. Understand the importance of feedback Identify the key requirements for delivering good feedback Explore the pros and cons of different feedback models Understand some of the barriers to effective feedback, and relate these to your own practice.
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of the study is to analyze clusters of statements embedded in the evaluative strategy of polarity compensation in German and Russian academic reviews in Linguistics. Moreover, the article is aimed at identifying linguistic and cultural differences determining the usage of this evaluative strategy. The most typical feature established for the strategy under consideration roots in the balancing positive and negative assessments. For the first time, the analysis takes into account the variability of the polarity compensation strategy depending on specific patterns of the interaction between positively and negatively polarized assessments in clusters. The study carried out shows that the polarity compensation in evaluative acts accomplished in academic linguistic reviews can function as a macro-strategy of expert evaluation. Single assessments embedded in polarity compensation strategy can be implied as a recommendation, (dis)agreement with the author, proof by contradiction. The article describes the results of a comprehensive socio-communicative and discursive study of expert evaluation acts. Qualitative and quantitative analysis leads to description of the polarity compensation mechanism as well as to elicitation of lexical and grammatical means typical of this strategy. Interpretation of the statistical data processing allows us to draw conclusions about culturally specific trends in the use of the polar compensation strategy by German and Russian reviewers. Цель исследования – рассмотреть скопления (кластеры) высказываний, включённые в реализацию оценочной стратегии полярной компенсации в немецко- и русскоязычных академических рецензиях по лингвистике, и выявить лингвокультурные различия в применении данного механизма экспертного оценивания. Установлено, что в рамках указанной стратегии уравновешиваются оценки различной (позитивной и негативной) полярности. В анализе впервые учитывается вариативность стратегии полярной компенсации, обусловленная особенностями взаимодействия положительно- и отрицательно-поляризованных оценок в кластерах. На материале рецензий из академических журналов лингвистической тематики доказан макрохарактер стратегии полярной компенсации: отдельные оценки в рамках данной стратегии могут имплицироваться посредством рекомендации, (не)согласия с автором, показа «от обратного». По результатам комплексного качественноколичественного изучения экспертных оценок в русле сопоставительного социо-коммуникативного и лингво-дискурсивного анализа описан механизм оценивания в рамках стратегии полярной компенсации и выявлены лексико-грамматические средства-индикаторы данной стратегии. Интерпретация результатов статистической обработки данных позволяет сделать выводы о культурно-специфических тенденциях применения стратегии полярной компенсации немецкими и российскими рецензентами.
Chapter
This chapter examines clinical communication skills training in relation to the Compassion Crossroads in healthcare—the intersection in which genuine intent from healthcare providers to alleviate the suffering of ill people by communicating compassionately is often thwarted by outside influences including health systems. Chapter components are intended to equip SP Educators (SPEs) with the knowledge and practical tools necessary to train SPs to provide constructive feedback in support of learner communication skill development as they prepare to navigate the Compassion Crossroads. This chapter offers the following for use in training SPs to provide constructive feedback to learners: key definitions of common terms and concepts, a three-stage model for SP feedback training process, exercises and tips for use in SP feedback, and examples. Recognized communication skills assessment tools are also highlighted, as well as bias which is a critical area for SPEs to include in feedback training and routinely in all training. Additionally, the ASPE Standards of Best Practices applicable to Domain 3 are identified and discussed. Finally, it is common knowledge that familiarity with theatrical principles and pedagogy has been helpful to SPEs—both with and without performing arts backgrounds—in coaching SPs for years. So, we close with novel approaches that draw on theatre and performance pedagogy—including Medical Improvisation supported by program evaluation data—in partnership with SPs to support learners in honing their clinical communication skills. This is purposeful work as evidence shows SP feedback to learners makes a significant, beneficial impact in their learning. This is critical work. Once healthcare learners complete their formal education, it may be a long time or never again that they are observed and receive feedback on clinical communication skills from the patient perspective.
Article
Full-text available
This experiment tests the effectiveness of "sandwich" feedback. 91 university students solved 12 mathematical problems from the secondary-school curriculum. After the time limit, we assigned them randomly to one of three possible treatments. One group received corrective computer-administrated feedback, describing the mistakes with their methods and solutions. The second group received sandwich feedback, consisting of the same corrective part presented between two general positive statements unrelated to the participants' actual performance. The third group did not receive any feedback. Afterwards, the participants had 10 minutes to prepare for the second set of similar problems. Participants who received sandwich feedback utilized more time on preparation and solved more problems from the second set than the participants from the other two groups. This study provides only partial evidence for the effectiveness of sandwich feedbacks as it tested the effect under one specific condition using computer-mediated written feedback on math test. Further replications are needed to test the effect under various conditions, to test various forms of sandwich feedback, to explain the mechanism of sandwich feedback and to show whether the effect of sandwich feedback is caused by the specific sequence of feedback components or by mere presence of positive statements.
Article
Full-text available
Most managers would probably agree that positivity is something they value in employees, yet selection research has virtually ignored the relation between employee positivity and job performance. This article suggests that a broad personality trait, labeled positive self-concept or core self-evaluations, is a potentially important personality trait in the prediction of job performance. Positive self-concept consists of four specific traits previously studied in isolation: self-esteem, generalized self-efficacy, locus of control, and (low) neuroticism or emotional stability. Data analyzed from 12 samples revealed that these specific traits are strongly correlated and comprise a common factor. Drawing from four motivation theories, we argue that the principal reason positive self-concept is linked to job performance is because positive employees are more motivated to perform their jobs. We also argue that, in some jobs, positive self-concept may be an ability factor. Finally, we discuss various implementation issues involved in using positive self-concept in selection decisions. Overall, this article suggests that positive self-concept is a trait deserving of more attention in selection research and practice.
Article
We employed a qualitative interview technique to develop an inductive model of punishment from a managerial perspective. Findings suggest that managers feel pressure from a variety of sources - organizations, work groups, punished subordinates, and themselves. Managers are also aware that punishment is a highly charged cognitive and emotional event with broad and far-reaching effects that range well beyond punished subordinates and simply changing their attitudes and behaviors.
Article
This study investigated the relationship between leader contingent and non-contingent reward and punishment behaviors and employee performance and attitudes. Performance-contingent reward behavior was found to affect subordinate performance, satisfaction, and attraction to the supervisor, particularly among high performers. Non-contingent reward behavior was also associated with employee satisfaction and attraction, but primarily among low performers. The relationship between both contingent and non-contingent punishment behaviors and employee performance and attitudes were generally negative.
Article
Research on organizational punishment has focused on the effects of punishment on the disciplined subordinate. This article invokes a justice perspective to develop a framework for studying the effects of punishment on observers-other organizational members who take an interest in a particular punishment event. Research propositions are offered as a guide to future investigations, and implications for management are discussed.
Article
People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of the participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The topic of punishment has received essentially no attention from organizational researchers. Our purpose in this paper is to review issues and questions concerning punishment, to review existing research to delimit variables that influence the effectiveness of punishment, and to discuss research issues associated with the study of punishment in organizational contexts.
Article
In this article, we introduce this special issue by establishing a conceptual foundation for the distinction between approach and avoidance motivation. We do so primarily by explicating several reasons why the approach–avoidance distinction should be viewed as fundamental and basic to the study of human behavior. In addition, we compare and contrast the “approach–avoidance” designation with other designations that have been used in the motivational literature to cover the same or similar conceptual ground. Finally, we conclude by briefly overviewing the other contributions to this special issue, specifically highlighting how they make use of the approach–avoidance distinction.