Ilgen, D. R. (1971). Satisfaction with performance as a function of the initial level of expected performance and the deviation from expectations. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 6, 345-361.

This study had two purposes: (a) to consider the relationship of satisfaction to the difference between expected performance and reported performance, and (b) to investigate the effect of the difference between expectations and experience on performance satisfaction without ignoring the level of expectations, or confounding level with experience.

Ss were given performance feedback independent of their actual performance after estimating what performance would be prior to each trial.

The following features resulted:

  1. Once Ss received some performance feedback their expected performance outcomes approached feedback levels.
  2. Satisfaction with performance increases as the performance difference between predicted and feedback levels increases regardless of the comparison standard.
  3. Ss with low expectations performed worse than Ss with high expectations.
  4. The level of expectation governed the degree to which Ss used feedback as a basis for judging their satisfaction.
  5. Public commitment of expected outcomes (goals) had individual effects.

Implication. The type of feedback provided for performance will govern the satisfaction levels of athletes. For it to have its most impact feedback needs to be: explicit, accurate, relevant to goals, and relevant to the individual.

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