The Effect of Feedback Packaging on Ratee Reactions1


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    The authors thank Kathryn Austin, Allandra Bulger, Andrew Hart, Nomahn Humayun, Mariya Hussain, Candice Wallace, Tyree Winters, and Aaron Worpell for their help in data collection, tape transcription, and coding.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Marie Waung, Behavioral Sciences, 4901 Evergreen Road, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI 48128-1491. E-mail:


In performance-feedback situations, reactions to the rater have been examined rarely. A clearer understanding of what causes negative reactions toward raters might be used by them to better control feedback outcomes without having to distort the feedback message. In Study I, ratee reactions to the packaging of feedback messages were examined in a laboratory experiment. A legitimizing statement included in the feedback message resulted in more positive reactions to the rater than when no such statement was presented. In addition, the use of less personal feedback language resulted in more positive reactions to the rater than when more personal language was used. Neither legitimization statement nor type of language significantly impacted reactions to the feedback message or perceptions of performance, indicating that they did not distort the feedback message. In Study 2, a laboratory observation, the use of more personal language by the rater was related negatively to ratee confidence in rater judgment and rater likability. More research on feedback packaging, with the goal of training raters in how best to convey the feedback message, is needed.