Definition:

Feedback control is a process used by managers to assess the performance of the team. It helps to determine the performance of an individual member of the team. The implementation of the feedback control puts the manager in a position to lead the team effectively.

In other words, feedback control is a system of control that helps managers to control and monitor the performance of a team by providing feedback.

How does it work?

The feedback control compares the performance/output of the team with a set goal or expected performance. This gives a clear expectation from the team.

Once the process is completed the actual performance of the team can be compared with the pre-set goal to assess if the team has been successful in the achievement of the desired goal.

How to design a feedback control?

The feedback control can be designed with four elements. These elements include pre-set point, actual performance, variance, and feedback.

First of all, the goal or certain level of the performance is set by the manager that includes identification of certain points to direct the complete mechanism of control ahead. This is the target approach of the manager or a desired result from the process.

The second element is getting actual performance from the process which is obtained once the process is completed to a certain extent or a complete process has been performed. That’s the point from where actual performance is collected to be used in the further process.

The third element of the feedback control system is variance analysis. The variance is calculated by comparing pre-set performance or goal with the actual performance of the business.

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That’s the main point where analysis needs to be done and reasons need to be identified for the variances and matrices of the controls. If managers perform effectively in this area of performance, feedback control is more than effective to enhance the performance of the business.

The fourth element of feedback control is the provision of feedback. That’s the main area where the professional judgment of the manager is required to formulate effective feedback. If feedback is constructive it motives the employee to performance of their duties.

All the four elements of the feedback system are linked and flow in a sequence. If all the steps of the feedback control are effective, it results in better management of the feedback control system.

Advantages of feedback control

There are multiple advantages of a feedback control system in the organization. These advantages include effective planning of the project, variance analysis, positive influence on the business, and alignment of the business strategy.

1) Effectiveness of planning

The use of a feedback control system requires pre-set of the performance or goal for the organization. It increases the culture of planning and performance measurement within the business.

The culture of the planning and performance measurement helps to enhance the effectiveness of the planning process.

2) Variance analysis

The variance analysis helps to identify key areas of the processes that affect the efficiency of a business. This is the main point of improvement where critical processes can be identified that create problems in the achievement of organizational goals.

3) Positive influence/motivation

The feedback control helps to communicate the expectation of the business to employees of the company. It gives a certain direction to the employees and keeps them motivated to work.

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They also have in their mind that their performance is to be evaluated in the future which helps them to achieve their career goal.

4) Alignment in business strategy

The feedback control helps to direct the direction of the environment, business strategy, and value. It helps to set the direction of the business. The main point of the feedback control is that planning that can be aligned with the overall direction of the business.

Limitation of feedback control

The performance with the feedback control can only be measured once a certain part of the process has been completed. If there is a deviation in the performance in comparison with the pre-set pro forma, the manager cannot do much to reverse the process and get the performance of his desire.

In other words, feedback control is not a preventative control that helps in avoidance of the error. On the contrary, it’s a detective control that measures the deviation once the process has been completed. So, the feedback control system cannot be of much importance in the case of unique projects However, if the project is of repetitive nature it can be used effectively.

Example of feedback control

The sales manager of the company sets the target of the tram to sell 10,000 units of product in one month. There are 10 salesmen and each salesman is assigned the responsibility to sell 1,000 units in a month and the target market were divided among them. The first step of the process is completed for setting the goal.

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The second step starts when after the month-end, the results are collected from team members and discovered that the total sale of the units was 8,000. There was a shortage of 2,000 units in the number of products sold.  The third stage starts where the manager calculates the variance of each salesman and comes to know that four salesmen could not achieve the desired target and the sale of each salesman was short by 500 units.

In the fourth stage, the manager interviews the sales manager and inquires the reasons for not being able to achieve the target. The manager discovers that the time of visit for these managers was at the peak hours of the market and the owners of the shops did not entertain them as they were already busy with their customers.

So, the manager provided his feedback to align their time of visit with other salesmen that were successful. Hence, the manager provided feedback to enhance the performance of the sales team. If these underperforming salesmen follow the feedback from the manager, they seem to achieve the desired targets as other salesmen in the team.