ABSTRACT: Information systems’ reports typically contain quantitative feedback such as monetary values or the number of units sold or produced. We investigate if providing relative performance information (RPI) feedback and framing the feedback in a positive (good job) or negative (poor job) manner induces performance improvements in a repetitive task. We also investigate if feedback framing interacts with performer level, such that framed feedback has a differential effect for low performers, compared to average and high performers. An experiment was conducted using a 3 × 4 × 2 factorial design, crossing feedback framing (positive, negative, or control), relative performance information (no RPI, rank-ordered RPI, percent RPI in first session, percent RPI in second session), and contract type (fixed or variable), using 289 student participants assuming the role of production workers. Results revealed a significant positive effect of providing relative performance feedback and positively framed feedback. The results also indicate an interaction between worker performance level and feedback framing, such that low-performing workers improved performance in response to positive feedback significantly more than average and high-performing workers. Feedback framing did not have an incremental effect over relative performance feedback. These results have implications for the design of accounting information systems in terms of the type of feedback provided to workers.

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