Debunking the Goal Setting Theory

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Debunking the Goal Setting Theory Presented to Trudy Dunson, Instructor MGMT 2125, Performance Management By Andrea Smith 10/13/2014 Often times in the business world, organizations become so fixated on the goals they set, that when they begin to go wrong, an organization will invest more into that goal instead of looking for a different path. Oliver Burkeman’s book, “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” devotes a whole chapter to the importance or lack thereof of setting goals. In his book, he tells a story of Chris Kayes who was on the foothills of Mt. Everest at the same time the tragedy that took the lives of eight climbers depicted in the book, “In Thin Air.” Kayes observed even through this…show more content…
However on the flip side these same traits used to create a positive environment can also be used to against the organization. We start with the letter “S” for specific as this commands that the goal to be focused and attentive. Unfortunately though, this can actually cause a too narrowed focus where employees will overlook important details of the task. With a narrowed focus, employees become blind to everything else but their task and the often times miss a critical detail that could potentially steer them into a new direction and a more profitable gain or prevent a fatal error from occurring. An example in this can be seen in the automotive industry of late and the entire vehicle recalls that have been made due to faulty engine or ignition parts that have caused human fatalities. The automotive industry giants have a specific goal to create a top of the line vehicle fast and get it out to the market that they continuously pass over safety issues and inspections in order to accomplish this single goal. In keeping with the classic notion that you get what you reward (Kerr, 1975, 1995), goal setting may cause the employee to miss important aspects of their task or performance that are not specifically outlined by the goal setting system. Next we move on to the “M” for measurable and the hazards that can arise from putting a measurable capacity on goals. Being able to measure progress is said to keep the employees on track and provide
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