Problem

Avoidance of negative feedback


Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Positive bias in reporting
Uncritical upbeat reporting
Uncritical feel-good rhetoric
Nature:
Organizations and social groups of all kinds have difficulties in processing negative feedback. Such feedback can take the form of external criticism of the performance of the organization or of its detrimental impact on the wider environment. It can take the form of internal reporting on such questions as well as on weaknesses in the organizational performance or on programme failures. The avoidance of such feedback may be encouraged by an insecure leadership that needs to be constantly encouraged by positive feedback. It may result from the ways in which good performance is rewarded within the organizational structure which can effectively result in career penalization if reports fail to appear positive. In the latter case reporting may focus only on positive achievements or only mention failures and emerging problems indirectly, if at all. Such avoidance prevents receipt of appropriate signals by management or the leadership, resulting in inappropriate policy formulation and a lack of ability to anticipate the evolution of events.
Counter Claim:
Frail coalitions of social forces should not be threatened by unnecessary negative feedback which would undermine their ability to act at all. It is therefore appropriate that such feedback should be filtered or made available only to certain people under certain conditions.
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
08.02.1997 – 00:00 CET
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