December 6, 2011

Goal Setting and Performance

Organizational Behavior Revision Article

Goal - Definition

A goal is a performance target that an individual or group seeks to accomplish.

A 1968 paper by Locke is considered to be the seminal work on the theory of goal setting. Locke anoints Frederick W. Taylor, "the father of industrial engineering" as "the father of employee motivation theory". According to Locke, Taylor's use of tasks was a forerunner of modern-day goal setting.

Lcoke accepts the purposefulness of behavior, which comes out of Tolman's cognitive theorizing, and the importance of values, or valence, and consequences. Goals provide a directional nature to people's behavior and guide thoughts and actions to one outcome rather than another.

Role of Commitment

Locke is continuously refining and developing his theory. His recent addition to the theory is the role of commitment. If there is no commitment to goals, goal setting will not work. Commitment is one's attachment to or determination to reach a goal.

Locke recognizes the comprehensive nature of social cognitive theory and he feels that role modeling has significant effect on goal choice and goal commitment.

Importance of Specific Goals

Specific goals have been found to be more effective than vague or general goals such as "do your best."

Importance of Reachable but Challenging Goals

Reachable but challenging goals leads to involvement and high performance to attain the goals.

Role of Feedback

Two forms of feedback can enhance goal related effort and hence the chances of goal attainment.

1. Process feedback: Process feedback is information related to how the process is being done. As the performer receives support for some portion of procedure and methods he is using and getting some suggestions for modifying some other portions he develops interest to continue the activity and improve its weak points.

2. Outcome feedback. Outcome feedback is information related to the goal. As the performer receives indication that his effort is helping him in moving towards attainment of his goals, there is motivation to continue with the task.

Hence objective and timely feedback are important and preferable to no feedback at all.


Luthans, Fred, Organizational Behavior, 9th Ed., "Chapter 15. Managing Performance through Job Design and Goal Setting", Mc-Graw Hill, New York, 2002.

Related Articles

Goal Setting - Managing Yourself

________________ ________________

________________ ________________

Article originally posted in

No comments:

Post a Comment