Feedback Sign Effect on Motivation: Is it Moderated by Regulatory Focus?

Dina Van-Dijk, Avraham N. Kluger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Scopus citations


Despite our common sense notion that indicates that feedback sign (positive vs. negative) has a decisive effect on motivation, the vast literature has no clear specifications regarding when and how positive (negative) feedback increases or decreases motivation (e.g. Kluger & DeNisi, 1996). The variability in feedback sign effects can be explained by self-regulation theory (Higgins, 1997, 1998). Specifically, relatively high levels of motivation are induced either by failure under prevention focus (failure to meet obligations) or by success under promotion focus (fulfilling a desire). In two experiments, regulatory focus was operationalised by a manipulation of situational factors (scenarios) and by three measures of individual differences (values, occupations, and the motives for choosing one's job). Results from these experiments corroborated the hypotheses with all the different operationalisations. Future experiments should investigate the possible three-way interaction between situational regulatory focus, chronic regulatory focus, and feedback sign.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-135
Number of pages23
JournalApplied Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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