Understanding informal feedback seeking in the workplace: The impact of the position in the organizational hierarchy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the position of employees in the organizational hierarchy is important in explaining their feedback seeking behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach - This study takes a social network perspective by using an ego-centric network survey to investigate employees' feedback seeking behaviour within their professional networks. Data were collected from an online questionnaire among 243 employees working in a large multinational organization located in The Netherlands.

Findings - Results indicate that employees frequently seek feedback from colleagues within the same department. However, managers or leaders seek significantly less feedback from colleagues in the same department and from coaches, as compared to others. Furthermore, employees perceive the feedback they receive from managers/leaders, coaches, and colleagues in the same department as useful.

Originality/value - The study findings extend the existing literature on the dynamics of feedback seeking of employees across different hierarchical levels. Methodologically, an egocentric network survey was used to investigate the employees' relationships within their professional network. The findings suggest that this approach, novel in research on feedback seeking, is valuable and promising.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-85
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Training and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Cite this