|Abstract or Summary
- This study explored perceptions of performance feedback communicated by
Japanese supervisors to their U.S. subordinates in Japanese subsidiaries in the U. S.
Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted with both Japanese supervisors and
U.S. subordinates and their responses were tape-recorded. The purpose of the study
was to assess perceptual similarities and differences held by participants in regard to
appropriateness and effectiveness of positive and negative feedback.
The participants were asked to give their opinions about the functions, timing,
frequency, and specificity of positive and negative feedback as well as overall
appropriateness and effectiveness of feedback. Other related issues such as U.S.
subordinates' feedback-seeking behavior and perceptions of the relationship quality
were asked as well. The descriptions given by the participants were interpreted and then
compared and contrasted within companies and across cultural groups to find
similarities and differences in perceptions.
Perceived overall appropriateness and effectiveness, thus competence, of
feedback reflected satisfaction or perceived appropriateness of each dimension of
feedback; timing, frequency, and specificity. In addition to these dimensions,
explicitness and manner of delivery emerged from the participants' responses, especially
from U.S. participants'. Japanese supervisors tended to emphasize timeliness,
frequency, or specificity of their feedback to explain the overall competence of their
feedback. U.S. subordinates, on the other hand, tended to focus on the extent of
explicitness of feedback and manner of delivery to determine overall competence of
feedback given by their Japanese supervisors.
Overall satisfaction perceived by U.S. subordinates inversely related to their
feedback-seeking behavior. When U.S. participants' needs for feedback were satisfied
by their supervisor, they did not seek further information about their performance. An
exception was that when U.S. subordinates did not find feedback meaningful in
general, they did not seek feedback, despite their dissatisfaction with feedback given to
Relationships were described by both Japanese supervisors and U.S.
subordinates in terms of the extent of formality, professional quality, friendliness, and
trust. Satisfaction with the relationship was positively related with U.S. participants'
satisfaction with overall feedback. In relationships where communication flows
continually in a transactional sense, and/or closeness and mutual trust was perceived,
U.S. subordinates tended to find feedback from their Japanese supervisors to serve