Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Committee Director

Jeffrey Olenick

Committee Member

Ian Katz

Committee Member

Andrew Bennett


Although the provision of feedback has traditionally been treated as a dyadic event, I argue for the existence of a neglected third-party - the witness. Drawing from the dual process model of vicarious mistreatment and feedback intervention theory, I hypothesize that 1) third parties experience negative [positive] affect when witnessing an unjust [just] feedback event, 2) negative [positive] affect is stronger when feedback cues are self-referenced [task-referenced], and 3) negative [positive] affect is related to a subsequent decrease [increase] in feedback seeking intentions. Results from a 2x2 between-subjects experiment with 470 participants provide partial support for the hypotheses. Third-parties experienced negative affect after witnessing an unjust feedback event, which lead to decreased feedback seeking intentions. This relationship occurred in both the self-referenced and in the task-referenced feedback cue conditions, but significantly stronger when task-referenced. Comparatively, third parties only experienced positive affect and increased feedback seeking intentions after witnessing a just feedback event if the feedback cues were task-referenced. I discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the existence of third parties to feedback events, third-party affective reactions, and the importance of feedback cues when providing feedback.


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