Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Clemons C. Kessler, III
Carl I. Greenberg
Sixty-two male Caucasian undergraduate Psychology students were randomly divided into four treatment groups wherein they all performed an identical task under the direction of a "supervisor." The supervisor dispensed either non-evaluative verbal feedback, Structured Praise, Considerate Praise, or a combination of Structured and Considerate Praise to subjects in treatment conditions one through four respectively. Considerate praise is characterized as aperiodic, unlinked (to the giving of a formal performance appraisal), informal (not required by the "system"), spontaneous, generally unwritten, "from the heart" type praise while structured praise is essentially just the opposite.
The dependent variables of task quantity, task quality, task error rate, supervisor initiating structure scores and supervisor consideration scores were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance with harmonic mean solution.
The major research hypotheses postulated that subjects in condition four, the combined praise system, would perform significantly better on the dependent variables of quantity, quality, and error rate, and rate their supervisor significantly higher on initiating structure and consideration. Analysis led to the rejection of all of these hypotheses.
It appeared, however, that the two types of praise differentially effect subjects' perceptions and attitudes regarding their supervisor. Although there were no statistically significant behavior differences found between conditions, those subjects who received Considerate Praise rated their supervisor significantly more considerate than did subjects in condition one (non-evaluative verbal feedback). The major finding of the present research seems to be that while supervisors who dispensed either type of praise or their combination were seen as maintaining definite standards, only the supervisor who dispensed Considerate Praise was also seen as doing little things to make it pleasant to be a member of the work group.
The practical ramifications of the use of Considerate Praise are discussed. Suggestions for future research are recommended.
Kennedy, Ronald M., "Differential Effects of Praise Types" (1977). Student Work. 98.