The Double Edge Sword of “High Potential” Expectations

Igor Kotlyar

Abstract


Many organizations categorize employees in terms of potential, labeling some as “high potential” employees. This practice of labeling employees based on their performance potential can create differentiated expectations of performance and, thus, impact their attitudes and behaviors. However, research has not examined the impact of such labels on the recipients’ attitudes following performance feedback. In our laboratory study of 477 undergraduate business students from a large North American university, we examined the effect of “high potential” expectations on task commitment and satisfaction following positive and negative feedback. Our results indicate that such labels can make individuals more sensitive to feedback and consequently create unintentional negative effects on commitment and satisfaction.


Keywords


feedback; “high potential” employees; labeling; satisfaction; commitment

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https://doi.org/10.5964/ejop.v9i3.620

Citing articles (via Crossref)

  • Igor Kotlyar, Leonard Karakowsky (2014)
    Sources of satisfaction with high-potential employee programs
    Journal of Management Development, 33(10), p. 1035(ff.)
    doi: 10.1108/JMD-08-2012-0113