A study of individual differences and self-awareness in the context of multi-source feedback


Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths’ College, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK (e-mail: c.fletcher@gold.ac.uk).


Studies of multi-source feedback systems have compared individuals’ self-assessments with others’ ratings of them on various performance dimensions. The extent of the congruence of self- with other-ratings has been used as a measure of self-awareness (SAw), and this variable has been found to be significantly related to a number of performance outcomes. However, little attention has so far been given to investigating what characteristics are associated with SAw. The study reported here examined the relationship of personality and cognitive ability measures to SAw in a group of managers participating in a multi-source (360 degree) feedback process. The 45 target managers assessed themselves on six management competencies and were also rated by 353 bosses and colleagues. Measures of SAw were obtained using the methodology outlined by Yammarino and Atwater (1997), and were calculated separately in relation to bosses ratings and colleagues ratings. Target managers completed measures of personality (Cattell 16PF and Firo-B) and cognitive ability (Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking). The target managers showed considerable variation in their level of SAw, and a number of personality and cognitive scores were found to be related to SAw. However, some of the correlates of SAw differed according to whether the rater group were bosses or colleagues. The conceptualization of SAw and its use as an assessment measure are discussed.