Which Participants Are Most Motivated to Accept 360-Degree Feedback?

September 28, 2016 by Sandra Mashihi

 “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with the plan.”

-Tom Landry

Some limited research suggests that two factors play a role in who is most likely to be the most motivated and respond the most favorably to 360-degree feedback.

Atwater & Brett (2006) findings suggest that:

  • Individuals who have higher levels of organizational commitment are more motivated to change, regardless of the nature of the feedback.
  • Individuals who hold more positive attitudes toward the feedback process are also more motivated to change and report more follow-up activities than those who held less positive attitudes.

Smither, Brett, and Atwater (2008) examined some of the factors that influence the accessibility of feedback and subsequent improvement in performance as follows: 

  • Participants that are more likely to recall positive, rather than negative, feedback from others
  • Participants that are more inclined to recall feedback that relates to their performance orientation but not as likely to recall feedback that concerns their capacity to develop subordinates
  • Participants that were more inclined to recall feedback that alluded to specific, tangible behaviors, rather than global, abstract traits
  • Participants were more likely to recall feedback from supervisors and subordinates than from peers

Coach’s Critique: 

Every participant has a different motivation level in receiving, accepting, and developing themselves in the 360-degree feedback process. As I coach different clients, I notice the extent to which their motivation level results in positive behavioral change. In my experience, I have found the following differences between motivated participants and those that are not:

First , those with a higher motivation level are more proactive in receiving feedback; that is, they are less defensive, resistant, and view feedback in a more constructive way. These individuals tend to hone in on the aspects of the 360 that are useful to them in terms of development. On the other hand, participants that lack motivation to develop are more likely to focus on those areas of their 360 report that they feel they may have been inaccurately judged or evaluated.

Also, those individuals that are motivated are more likely to participate in deliberately practicing new behaviors in order to change. We all know that changing behaviors are hard enough, so if participants lack a sufficient level of motivation to take action to change, they simply are not likely to change. With a sufficient motivation level, they are also more likely to be resilient in the face of obstacles and challenges with completing their goals.

Because motivation is a key ingredient for succeeding in the development process, one of the things we want to do as coaches is to help gauge our client’s motivation level in accepting the feedback and committing to a course of action. For the 360 feedback process, it is a good idea to review the research implications (above) about the types of participants that are more likely to reveal motivation. Furthermore, before gaining a commitment for action, it is a beneficial to apply Motivation Interviewing (Miller & Rollnick) to increase client’s motivation level to participate in creating new habits for development.

What has been your experience with identifying motivated participants? Beyond that, what has been your experience with motivating participants?


Dr. Sandra Mashihi is a senior consultant with Envisia Learning, Inc. She has extensive experience in sales training, behavioral assessments and executive coaching. Prior to working at Envisia Learning, Inc., She was an internal Organizational Development Consultant at Marcus & Millichap where she was responsible for initiatives within training & development and recruiting.. Sandra received her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles and received her Master of Science and Doctorate in Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology.

Posted in 360 Degree Feedback

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