Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Ivo Tafkov

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeremy Lill

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Majerczyk

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Anne Farrell


This study explores whether employee responses to developmental feedback in a multitask setting differ when feedback focus on the task which is an employee’s relative strength (strength-congruent) or weakness (weakness-congruent), and wether employee response depends on whether the task is relatively more effort or ability driven. In a multitask setting, developmental feedback can be used to focus future employee efforts on one task over another. Using an experiment, I find that strength-congruent feedback on a more ability-driven task leads to a greater allocation of time to the task than when strength-congruent feedback is given on a more effort-driven task, or when weakness-congruent feedback is given. However, within the time spent on the task, I find greater performance improvement on the ability-driven task regardless of whether feedback is strength-congruent or weakness-congruent. This study broadens our understanding of the multitask environment and how employees allocate effort in the presence of communicated firm preferences.


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