Effects of assigned versus participatively set goals, knowledge of results, and individual differences on employee behavior when goal difficulty is held constant

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In Exp I, 60 female clerical workers were randomly assigned to participative, assigned, and “do best” goal conditions on a clerical test. Specific goals led to higher performance than did the “do best” goals. With goal difficulty held constant, there was no significant difference between the assigned and participative conditions on performance or goal acceptance. Goal attainment, however, was higher in the assigned condition than it was in the participative condition. No main or interaction effects were found for knowledge of results (KR) or for individual difference measures with performance or goal acceptance. However, high self-esteem Ss who received KR attained their goals more often than did Ss with low self-esteem when the goals were participatively set. Exp II was conducted with 28 employees from the same sample in a performance-appraisal setting over an 8-mo period. Assigned goals resulted in higher performance and greater goal acceptance than participatively set goals. There was a positive linear relationship between goal difficulty and performance in the participative condition only. (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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