Does It Matter How I Say It?: The Effects of Constructive and Complaining Forms of Idea Presentation on Supervisory Evaluations

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We conducted an experiment to examine the effect of how subordinates present ideas (constructive vs. complaining form) on supervisor (receiver) responses (perceptions of subordinate intrusiveness and of overall performance). We demonstrated a joint effect of subordinate idea presentation (manipulated) and supervisor dogmatism (measured) such that supervisors with high levels of dogmatism rated subordinates who presented voice constructively as more intrusive and lower in performance than those with low dogmatism. Supervisor perspective taking mediated these relationships. Our findings highlight the importance of presenting ideas in a constructive form to receivers with low levels of dogmatism.

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