A Strategy Map’s Effect on the Feedback That Middle Managers Pass Along to Upper Management

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Feedback from lower-level employees helps upper management know when a strategy revision is necessary. Middle managers have significant control over upper management’s access to lower-level employee feedback because they decide whether to pass along that feedback when they receive it. A strategy map may help mitigate bias in these middle managers’ feedback reporting decisions. In my experiment, participants act as middle managers who receive one of two types of lower-level employee feedback: positive feedback or negative feedback. Without a strategy map, participants over-report positive feedback, under-report negative feedback, and exhibit motivated reasoning toward negative feedback. With a strategy map, participants over-report positive feedback less, under-report negative feedback at the same rate, and their motivated reasoning against negative feedback no longer affects their reporting willingness. Thus, a strategy map could help de-bias some of the feedback middle managers pass along to upper management.