Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation

2104 Words Aug 2nd, 2012 9 Pages

Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation
Fred C. Lunenburg
Sam Houston State University

ABSTRACT Locke and Latham provide a well-developed goal-setting theory of motivation. The theory emphasizes the important relationship between goals and performance. Research supports predictions that the most effective performance seems to result when goals are specific and challenging, when they are used to evaluate performance and linked to feedback on results, and create commitment and acceptance. The motivational impact of goals may be affected by moderators such as ability and self-efficacy. Deadlines improve the effectiveness of goals. A learning goal
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Asking organization members to improve, to work harder, or to do your best is not helpful, because that kind of goal does not give them a focused target.

FRED C. LUNENBURG _____________________________________________________________________________________3

Specific goals (often quantified) let organization members know what to reach for and allow them to measure their own progress. Research indicates that specific goals help bring about other desirable organizational goals, such as reducing absenteeism, tardiness, and turnover (Locke & Latham, 2002). Goals Must Be Difficult but Attainable A goal that is too easily attained will not bring about the desired increments in performance. The key point is that a goal must be difficult as well as specific for it to raise performance. However, there is a limit to this effect. Although organization members will work hard to reach challenging goals, they will only do so when the goals are within their capability. As goals become too difficult, performance suffers because organization members reject the goals as unreasonable and unattainable. A major factor in attainability of a goal is self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997). This is an internal belief regarding one’s job-related capabilities and competencies. If employees have high selfefficacies, they will tend to set higher personal goals under the belief that they are attainable. The first key to successful goal setting is to build and reinforce