When peer reviews backfire

The January-February issue of the Harvard Business Review reports on an interesting case study of “transparent” peer reviews, in which colleagues are invited to give feedback openly, without the confidentiality layer that often accompanies 360 reviews.

What the investigators found is that colleagues who give negative feedback are later avoided by the recipient, which they explain by the fact that negative feedback is a psychological threat and people prefer so-called confirming relationships, in which they can find acceptance and recognition.

Does this mean that you should never give negative feedback? The investigators short well short of that, and instead recommend to accompany negative feedback with a validation of the person you are giving feedback to. Good advice.

Do you use peer reviews? How do they work for you?