What is Negative Feedback?

Definition: The negative feedback in business is mostly related to employee feedback and the employers’ signal that the workforce is not really covering all aspects of the job to deliver the best possible results.

What Does Negative Feedback Mean?

What is the definition of negative feedback? The oxymoron of negative feedback is that it may have a positive effect on employee behavior as employees will possibly try to improve their performance to maintain their position in the company. Hence, unfavorable feedback can take the place of corrective feedback.

However, employee motivation is not always the response to unfavorable feedback as, often, employees get angry on their supervisor and are not driven to improve their performance. On the other hand, in the cases that the employees understand why the employer is not satisfied with their work, they are doing their best to change the feedback from negative to positive.

Let’s look at an example.


Mary is a manager at a local bank. She has five people under her supervision, and she reports directly to two supervisors. Every month, she delivers the performance report for each employee, and she discusses with her supervisors if there are potential areas of improvement.

One of her subordinates, Paul, is consistently late in the morning, and he misses the morning briefing. This causes a further delay in the department because one of the remaining four coworkers has to brief him in. Sometimes, this coworker loses time and stays behind on schedule. All people in Mary’s department, including herself, need to explain to Paul details of the job that has to be carried out during the day. So, Mary decides to give Paul a unfavorable feedback as a wake-up call, hoping that he will stop being late in the morning and that he will follow the schedule of the department as every other person in Mary’s division does.

Summary Definition

Define Negative Feedback: Negative feedback means communication of dissatisfaction from customers or employees about a business’ products, services, or practices.

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