Article: 360-Degree Feedback: Going Around in Circles? by Don Tosti and Roger Addison


At 4:00 AM after an ISPI conference, I met Don Tosti. We shared a cab to the airport and spent the time together laughing. We exchanged jokes and puns, which quickly past the time.

If you’re not familiar with Tosti’s and Addison’s published works, you should. Both have made substantial contributions to advance our knowledge of human performance improvement, and I’ve learned a great deal from their works!

360-Degree Feedback / a.k.a. Multisource Feedback

Anyone involved in performance improvement knows how critical feedback is for employees to verify and fine-tune their behavior. Likewise, management also needs this. 360-degree feedback is one technique used to accomplish this. According to Tosti and Addison:

People in managerial positions seldom get good feedback on their practices and behavior in the course of their work, so multisource feedback offers an excellent way to get the kind of feedback people need to become more fluent in good management practices.

However, someone who is skilled at administering, interpreting, and communicating results should manage the process. Without proper management, Tosti and Addison explain that too much can go wrong. Here’s one example that they share:

People can change only a few things at a time. If they are confronted with too many recommendations for change, they experience overload and often nothing changes. Most feedback instruments suffer from this phenomenon…

They suggest focusing on 3-6 practices to work on, but I recommend limiting this to one or two.

One note of caution: Tosti and Addison state that reporting results from multiple roles (such as blending feedback from superordinates, peers, and subordinates) can confound the data. They suggest the alternative of separating the data by role and reporting feedback from one or two roles at a time. Doing this may not be a good idea. At one financial organization that does this, managers downplayed subordinate feedback or rationalized and thought of excuses for ignoring the feedback based on the role. If you find a large discrepancy between superordinates and subordinates, you might want to analyze the cause to provide better reporting and recommendations.


The article entitled, 360-DEGREE FEEDBACK: GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES?, is available as a PDF through the HPT Treasure’s website:

#  #  #

One thought on “Article: 360-Degree Feedback: Going Around in Circles? by Don Tosti and Roger Addison

  1. good

    Roger Kaufman, Ph.D., CPT, ABPP, Fellow, American Psychological Association, Fellow, American Educational Research Association.

    Professor Emeritus, Florida State University,

    1123 Lasswade Drive, Tallahassee, Florida 32312;

    Email: or; or

    Phone: 850-386-6621 or 850-386-6874; FAX: 850 422-2722.

    I am honored that The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) has created the Roger Kaufman Award for the continual achievement of measurable positive societal impact by an individual or organization”.

    Please see any of my 41 books on


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.