Organizational Consultation XXIV: Feedback (Part One)
In describing the differences between a traditional Human Resource Management (HRM) and a Quality orientation to organizational effectiveness, Robert Cardy captures several of the key differences that also exist between deficit and appreciative orientations:[vii]
The field of HRM has focused on people rather than the system. A major assumption underlying HRM is, simply stated, people matter. . . . Much of HRM is focused on measuring individual differences in workers in performance or characteristics believed to be related to performance. The HRM field has assumed that worker motivation is largely determined by extrinsic factors. While intrinsic motivation has sporadically been recognized as potentially important . . . the thrust has been on setting extrinsic contingencies to maximize performance.
I would paraphrase Cardy in offering a similar analysis of deficit-oriented approaches to increasing organizational effectiveness. The deficit-based model of organizational effectiveness has focused on individual employees rather than the system. A major assumption underlying deficit-based models of feedback is, simply stated, that individual performance and individual employees do matter. Most deficit-oriented feedback systems are focused on measuring the individual differences of workers in their performance or characteristics that are related to this performance, particularly as these differences contribute to our understanding of performance deficits. Deficit-based feedback is based on the assumption that worker motivation is largely determined by extrinsic factors. While intrinsic motivation has sporadically been recognized as potentially important . . . the thrust has been on setting extrinsic contingencies to maximize high quality performance and, in particular, to minimize deficient performance.