How Can Child Welfare Case Managers Motivate Themselves?: Testing The Direct and Indirect Effects Of Seeking Goal-Related Feedback
1) a positive main effect for feedback seeking on motivation (stage 1);
2) feedback received fully mediates the feedback seeking-motivation relationship (stage 2); and
3) a positive two-way seeking-receiving feedback interaction effect on motivation (stage 3).
Methods: Four hundred and nineteen case managers from 10 county-based child welfare agencies across New York State were surveyed (79.5 % response rate). Cronbach’s alphas and factor loadings all achieved recommended levels. Discriminant validity was established using principle axis factoring with varimax rotation. Hypotheses were tested using procedures outlined by Aiken and West (moderator analysis), and Baron and Kenny (mediator analysis). No violations of OLS regression were noted.
Results: All hypotheses were supported. The main effect for seeking feedback (β = 0.13, p < 0.05) and two-way seeking-receiving feedback interaction (β = 0.14, p < 0.05) were significant in the predicted direction. The Sobel test confirmed receiving feedback’s mediational role (Sobel test statistic = 1.96, p < 0.05). Finally, Baron and Kenny’s procedures for establishing a mediated effect indicated that the relationship between feedback seeking and motivation was fully mediated by feedback received.
Conclusion and Implications: The present study is the first known empirical investigation to demonstrate a main, moderated, or mediated effect between feedback seeking and motivation. If child welfare agencies plan to increase case manager motivation via self-regulation, study findings suggests that seeking and receiving feedback’s dynamic and interdependent relationship must be taken into consideration. Failure to provide goal-related feedback to case managers pursuing such information not only reduces motivation by attenuating competency beliefs and outcome expectancies, but also may obstruct key stages of self-regulation. Testing the impact of feedback sought from various sources is one area of future research. For example, given that supervisors are responsible for evaluating case manager performance, seeking feedback from co-workers or clients is less likely to have a positive and significant indirect impact on motivation.