A “360” degree view for individual leadership development

Drew, Glenys M. (2009) A “360” degree view for individual leadership development. Journal of Management Development, 28(7), pp. 581-592.

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To explore the perceived usefulness to participants of a particular 360 degree leadership survey process to assist an understanding of how ratees receive and respond to360 degree feedback.


The study included a sample of eight new and emergent leaders at one university in Australia who had completed a 360 degree feedback survey. Through semi-structured interviews, they were asked to report on their learning as a result of undertaking the 360 exercise. A constant comparison method of data analysis was used to analyse the participants’ responses.


The research study found from the group undertaking the 360 degree feedback process that, in equal proportion, participants reported receiving (i) no surprising feedback but reinforcement and affirmation, and (ii) new insights, with developmental strategies identified to effect change as a result of feedback. The paper argues, from findings of the literature and the study, the importance of a measure of institutional support for the feedback process including sound facilitation. The results of the semi-structured conversations held with the small sample attested to the importance of self-efficacy (belief of capacity to learn and develop) on the part of ratees to act on feedback gained, and of the organisation’s role in assisting self-efficacy in 360 programs. The findings support an incremental theory approach in that participants saw the feedback exercise as an opportunity to improve their capabilities and pursue learning goals over time by acting on development items suggested by the feedback. It is posited that support received by participants in undertaking the feedback activity as part of a program of development contributed to the positive response. The paper concludes by providing some guidelines for conducting effective 360 feedback discussions.

Originality/value of paper

There is a reasonable body of literature about 360 degree feedback processes from a theoretical standpoint. This qualitative study addresses a relative gap in the literature to explore how participants describe their experience of undertaking a facilitated 360 degree feedback exercise, including whether they gained new knowledge, or no new knowledge. The paper also suggests some principles that might be employed in facilitating 360 feedback to maximise benefit from the process.

Impact and interest:

9 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 17147
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Feedback, management development, leadership, 360 degree feedback
DOI: 10.1108/02621710910972698
ISSN: 0262-1711
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Deposited On: 07 Jan 2009 01:09
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2013 01:58

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