What is feedback?

We explain what is the feedback and its meanings in different areas. Also, what is positive and negative feedback.

What is feedback?

Means feedback (sometimes  feedback , a loan of the English) a mechanism by which an output process system again addressed its input process, continuing operation or creating a loop ( loop ).

You can talk about it in numerous contexts and on various systemic approaches, whether in engineering, architecture, economics , biology, administration and communication sciences , among others. It can occur as a desired or accidental phenomenon , with positive or harmful consequences, depending on its context.

For example, feedback in the context of war operations is key, since it allows the adjustment of its control dynamics. A bomber plane, for example, executes a mission in constant contact with its base, which provides the information necessary for success. The plane, on the other hand, returns the information as the mission passes, updating through a loop the information that will then be supplied again.

Feedback in Communication

In communication processes, it is given when the sender and receiver exchange their places momentarily , allowing the former to know how (and if) he is being received, and therefore if he should continue with the communication .

A clear example of this is the small phatic statements we emit when talking on the phone, which have no meaning as such but to indicate to the other person that we are following his speech and can continue.

Feedback in a system

In general systems theory, it consists of the process by which any system (a family , a company , a computer , etc.) collects information regarding its operation: either internal or external processes in which it affects its surrounding environment.

In both cases, the system can then adjust, focus or determine its future actions , so that feedback is a form of control mechanism  .

Feedback in the administrative process

In administration, the feedback allows the existence of control instances.

In the administration, which is the science that studies the ideal way to control the resources of human systems, it allows the existence of control instances : stages of the productive process in which a department receives returns with respect to its operations from others , or in which it raises to the leadership the observations arising from its own operation, as a way of reinjecting information to the system itself. Then, management can make informed decisions.

Positive and negative feedback

There is talk of positive and negative, to refer to the reinjection of information to the system that causes, respectively, effects of accumulation or growth (positive) or subtraction and decrease (negative) at the entrance.

This does not refer to the convenience or not of the result of the feedback , but to its effect on the entire system: in this way the tendency of the system in question to balance is determined.

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