Motivation through Conscious Goal Setting

ArticleinApplied and Preventive Psychology 5(2):117-124 · March 1996with 17,453 Reads
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Abstract
The article describes what has been found during 30 years of research by the author and others on the relationship between conscious performance goals and performance on work tasks. This approach is contrasted with previous approaches to motivation theory which stressed physiological, external or subconscious causes of action. The basic contents of goal setting theory are summarized in terms of 14 categories of findings. An applied example is provided.

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    A model is presented to reconcile the management of software development and organizational management through the relationship of factors associated with production in software factories and administrative factors, aligning operational metrics with the strategic objectives of the factories. Other authors have proposed models such as the Integrated Maturity Capability (CMMI), the Personal Software Processes (PSP), or the Software for Equipment (TSP), to support the continuous improvement of software factories. In parallel, the organizational management has consolidated the missionary development of companies in different sectors, through the exercise of strategic planning and its deployment. The proposal presented in this article provides a tool, complementary to those that serve as support for the development and deployment of strategic planning for the convenience of executives of software factories. The result of this proposal was validated in four software factories with different levels of maturity.
  • Thesis
    Selbstreguliertes Lernen spielt eine fundamentale Rolle für das Meistern der Aufgaben und Herausforderungen, welchen sich Studierende alltäglich gegenüber-sehen. Für zielgerichtetes und erfolgreiches selbstreguliertes Lernen sind Kompetenzen im Bereich der Metakognition und der Motivation von großer Bedeutung. Ziel der vorliegenden Dissertation war es, ein Instrumentarium zu entwickeln, um solche Kompetenzen im Bereich der Motivation und motivations-/ volitionsbezogenen Metakognition erfassen, verstehen und fördern zu können. Einführend wird zunächst die Bedeutung von Motivation für Lern- und Leistungsverhalten im Studium näher erläutert. Anschließend wird das Modell motivationsbezogener Kompetenzen von Spinath (2005) als Grundlage dieser Dissertation vorgestellt. In den darauf folgenden Kapiteln werden drei empirische Studien vorgestellt: Um motivationsbezogene Kompetenzen messen zu können, wurde in Studie 1 ein Instrument zur Erfassung solcher Kompetenzen entwickelt und validiert. In Studie 2 wurden Zusammenhänge motivationsbezogener Kompetenzen zu Fortschrittsempfinden und Motivation für folgende Handlungen näher untersucht. Im Rahmen von Studie 3 wurde ein Training zur Förderung motivationsbezogener Kompetenzen entwickelt und evaluiert. Die Befunde werden abschließend zusammenfassend kritisch diskutiert und es werden theoretische und praktische Implikationen abgeleitet. Es wird geschlossen, dass das entwickelte Instrumentarium ermöglicht, motivationsbezogene Kompetenzen reliabel und valide zu erfassen, zu verstehen und zu fördern. Langfristig soll die Förderung motivationsbezogener Kompetenzen zu einer Maximierung der Motivation und Leistung von Studierenden und dadurch auch zu einer Minderung weiterführender negativer Konsequenzen (wie z. B. Studienabbruch) führen.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    If coaching is to continue to grow and develop, if we as coaches are to deliver coaching and coaching methodologies that are genuinely effective for our clients, then we need to be au fait with the coaching literature and the body of research that informs effective coaching practice. In short, we need to engage in evidence-based coaching. Not only does such an approach allow us to work in an ethical and professional manner, steering clear of the all-too-frequent fads and foibles evident throughout sections of the coaching and self-development industry, but it helps us as coaches develop on a personal level. By questioning our assumptions, by engaging in constructive and informed self-reflection about our coaching practice, we become more mature, balanced and purposeful professionals. However, this can feel extremely challenging for those new to evidence-based approaches to coaching. This article aims to provide the reader with basic foundational information about the state of play in coaching research and evidence-based practice along with a simple but very useful framework for evaluating the utility of coaching literature. The article concludes with some tips for staying abreast of emerging coaching research.
  • Article
    Research exploring feedback in the form of workplace performance appraisals or in educational contexts, is common. However, there is a dearth of research to inform evidence-based practice in every-day positive feedback. In the current study, 289 employed adults reported on their managers’ positive feedback, the feedback-seeking culture, and rated their own task performance. Findings suggest that managerial positive feedback, but not feedback-seeking culture, meaningfully predicts task performance. Furthermore, the relationship between positive feedback and task performance is partially moderated by the feedback-seeking culture. The current study further contextualises our understanding of workplace positive feedback and draws recommendations for managerial practice surrounding congruency between culture and practice.
  • Chapter
    This chapter explores the fifth and final element of Seligman’s (Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being, Free Press, New York, NY, 2011) well-being theory and his PERMA model. The “A” represents accomplishment. It is the natural desire of the servant leader to serve, to enable followers to experience well-being, and to become servant leaders themselves (Greenleaf in The servant as leader, Center for Applied Studies, Cambridge, MA, 1970). Servant leadership is unique from other leadership approaches because of its focus on need satisfaction of followers as an end in itself. Barbuto and Wheeler (Group and Organization Management, 31: 300–326, 2006) stated that the hype around servant leadership may be warranted as their findings support the idea that servant leadership leads to accomplishment and attaining results. Servant leadership focus on the process is equally important in athletics. Servant leaders are more focused on training and instruction than non-servant leaders. Many leaders tend to rely on styles that are focused on outcomes first and foremost. They lead, influence, and motivate in ways that they believe will lead to winning, often foregoing concern for the needs and aspirations of their followers (DeSensi in Intercollegiate Sport, 7(1): 58–63, 2014). Coaches who displayed servant leadership behaviors had athletes that enjoyed the experience more than those that played for non-servant leadership coaches and teams that won more games (Rieke et al. in International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 3(2): 227–239, 2008).
  • Conference Paper
    Arthritis reduces mobility and functional independence due to inflammation and stiffness in joints. A physically active lifestyle consisting of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and non-sedentary hours helps in improving pain and mobility in arthritis patients. Physiotherapists recommend an appropriate amount of physical activity to patients so that the patients can maintain a physically active lifestyle without further hurting the joints. However, meeting the goals set by a physiotherapist becomes hard when the patient experiences a flare in the symptoms. When the symptoms flare, clinicians can help the patients in adjusting their goals. However, a meeting with a physiotherapist is not always possible. E-coaching solutions provide an opportunity to provide immediate feedback to the patients. Receiving immediate feedback is useful for patients in performing an adequate amount of physical activity without hurting the joints. We developed and studied a web application to support the clinician-guided physical activity among arthritis patients. In this paper, we discuss the implications of the study for future automated e-coaching solutions designed to support physical activity among arthritis patients.
  • Chapter
    This chapter examines the relationship between collaboration and learning. Next, attention will be turned to how collaboration was transitioned from the classroom to the online environment, as e-collaboration. The case will be made that e-collaboration has provided solutions to at least four major areas of concern in e-learning: providing sufficient interaction for the learner, creating instructor and peer telepresence for learners, stimulating learning motivation online, and providing a vehicle to deliver authentic learning tasks and activities online. E-collaboration provides richer and more human interactions. E-collaboration provides the kind of telepresence that learners seek. E-collaboration can influence learning motivation. Finally, e-collaboration has made it possible to create authentic learning tasks, projects, and activities online. Additionally, many online collaborative tools, various platforms that can support e-collaboration, instructor techniques, and illustrative examples or stories will be shared.
  • Chapter
    This chapter presents an account of the ongoing development of a vocabulary learning resource, VocPAL (Vocabulary: Progressive Autonomous Learning), for French learners of English in a university context. The chapter describes the background to the resource, its theoretical underpinnings, and its presentation features. These include pictures, sound, an association test, and context sentences forming a story. A questionnaire was administered to college students (N = 115) to assess reactions to VocPAL in an online learning environment. Further insights were gained from interviews with users of the resource. Both questionnaire and interview data suggest that, while the resource is judged favourably overall, improvements can be made to make the story more appealing and to add more interactivity. Results are discussed in terms of future development options, limitations to the study, and some broader issues regarding computer-assisted vocabulary learning.
  • Article
    Used 91 sales representatives to test a process model that assessed the relationship of conscientiousness to job performance through mediating motivational (goal-setting) variables. Linear structural equation modeling showed that sales representatives high in conscientiousness are more likely to set goals and are more likely to be committed to goals, which in turn is associated with greater sales volume and higher supervisory ratings of job performance. Results also showed that conscientiousness is directly related to supervisory ratings. Consistent with previous research, results showed that ability was also related to supervisory ratings of job performance and, to a lesser extent, sales volume. Contrary to expectations, 1 other personality construct, extraversion, was not related to sales volume or to supervisory ratings of job performance. Implications and future research needs are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Towards experimental analysis of human motivation in terms of motives, expectancies and incentives Motives in fantasy, action & society Social foundations of thought and action: A social-cognitive view The role of proximal inten-tions in self-regulation of refractory behavior
    • J W Atkinson
    • A Bandura
    • K M Simon
    Atkinson, J. W. (1958). Towards experimental analysis of human motivation in terms of motives, expectancies and incentives. In J. W. Atkinson (Ed.), Motives in fantasy, action & society. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social-cognitive view. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Bandura, A., & Simon, K. M. (1977). The role of proximal inten-tions in self-regulation of refractory behavior. Cognitive Thera-py & Research, 1, 177-193.
  • The biological basis of teleological con-cepts Volition as cognitive self-regulation. Orga-nizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
    • H Binswanger
    Binswanger, H. (1990). The biological basis of teleological con-cepts. Los Angeles: Ayn Rand Institute Press. Binswanger H. (1991). Volition as cognitive self-regulation. Orga-nizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 154-178.
  • Introduction to Objectivist epistemology
    • A Rand
    Rand, A. (1990). Introduction to Objectivist epistemology. New York: NAL Books.
  • Towards experimental analysis of human motivation in terms of motives, expectancies and incentives Motives in fantasy, action & society
    • J W Atkinson
    Atkinson, J. W. (1958). Towards experimental analysis of human motivation in terms of motives, expectancies and incentives. In J. W. Atkinson (Ed.), Motives in fantasy, action & society. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.
  • Article
    The authors used 91 sales representatives to test a process model that assessed the relationship of conscientiousness to job performance through mediating motivational (goal-setting) variables. Linear structural equation modeling showed that sales representatives high in conscientiousness are more likely to set goals and are more likely to be committed to goals, which in turn is associated with greater sales volume and higher supervisory ratings of job performance. Results also showed that conscientiousness is directly related to supervisory ratings. Consistent with previous research, results showed that ability was also related to supervisory ratings of job performance and, to a lesser extent, sales volume. Contrary to expectations, 1 other personality construct, extraversion, was not related to sales volume or to supervisory ratings of job performance. Implications and future research needs are discussed.
  • Article
    Training in self-management was given to 20 unionized state government employees to increase their attendance at the work site. Analyses of variance revealed that compared to a control condition (n = 20), training in self-regulatory skills taught employees how to manage personal and social obstacles to job attendance, and it raised their perceived self-efficacy that they could exercise influence over their behavior. Consequently, employee attendance was significantly higher in the training than in the control group. The higher the perceived self-efficacy, the better the subsequent job attendance. These data were significant at the .05 level.
  • Article
    Eight experiments were conducted to explore the relationships between goal level, valence, and instrumentality. Valence, measured in terms of anticipated satisfaction across a range of performance levels, was strongly but negatively related to goal level. This finding was explained by showing that low goals entail using less stringent standards for self-evaluation than do high goals. Instrumentality was positively associated with goal level. Subjects believed that trying for hard goals would be more likely to give them a sense of achievement, develop their skills, and prove them competent than would trying for easy goals. Subjects also believed that high goals would lead to more practical (job and life) benefits, as well as more pride and self-respect, than would low goals.
  • Article
    This study was designed to replicate conceptually and to explain the goal-level vs. incentive-type interaction reported by Mowen, Middlemist, and Luther (1981) based on goal setting and social cognitive theories. Mowen et al. found that subjects performed more poorly with hard goals than medium goals under a bonus pay system, the opposite of what was found for a piece-rate system. In the present study, an hourly pay condition was added. Mowen et al.'s interaction was replicated using a two-trial design in which subjects could obtain feedback about their ability to attain the incentive bonuses between trials. The experimental effects were completely mediated by personal goals and self-efficacy. Goal commitment was related to performance, but did not mediate the experimental conditions. The implications for the design of incentive systems are discussed.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Two studies are reported on an aspect of goal setting that has not been explicitly researched to date, namely, intra-individual goal conflict. The first study utilized an experimental, laboratory design using student teams in which conflicting goals (quantity vs. quality) were assigned. The second study was a correlational, field study of college professors which measured conflict between teaching and research. In both studies conflict was negatively related to at least one performance outcome. This negative association was not mediated by goal commitment, goal priority, goal level or task strategies in either study. In both cases, the main source of the conflict was pressure.
  • This paper summarizes and integrates research concerned with a long-neglected topic in psychology: the relationship between conscious goals and intentions and task performance. The basic promise of this research is that an individual's conscious ideas regulate his actions. Studies are cited demonstrating that: (1) hard goals produce a higher level of performance (output) than easy goals; (2) specific hard goals produce a higher level of output than a goal of “do your best”; and (3) behavioral intentions regulate choice behavior. The theory also views goals and intentions as mediators of the effects of incentives on task performance. Evidence is presented supporting the view that monetary incentives, time limits, and knowledge of results do not affect performance level independently of the individual's goals and intentions. A theoretical analysis supports the same view with respect to three other incentives: participation, competition, and praise and reproof. Finally, behavioral intentions were found to mediate the effects of money and “verbal reinforcement” on choice behavior. It is concluded that any adequate theory of task motivation must take account of the individual's conscious goals and intentions. The applied implications of the theory are discussed.
  • Article
    Previous experimental studies of participation have typically examined its motivational (especially commitment) benefits. These studies showed that these benefits are neither large nor consistent. The present study focused on the cognitive benefits of participation in decision making (pdm) and on the role of a different motivational mediator, self-efficacy. Unlike previous research which claimed to study the cognitive (informational) effects of participation, the present experiment: (a) allowed the information concerning task strategies to emerge from group discussion rather than being manipulated by the experimenter; (b) measured the actual strategies that were developed and used by subjects in the pdm condition; and (c) measured self-efficacy which was associated with the discovery and use of these strategies. It was found that the strategies developed by the subjects and their self-efficacy completely mediated the effect of participation on performance. Further, participation in setting goals, consistent with previous studies, did not affect performance but did affect self-efficacy.
  • Article
    On the basis of 7 charismatic and transformational leadership theories, 3 core components (vision, vision implementation through task cues, and communication style) were identified. A laboratory simulation manipulated the 3 components in a completely crossed experimental design, where 2 trained actors portrayed the leader. Participants were 282 students in upper level business classes who performed a simulated production task. The vision of high quality weakly affected performance quality but significantly affected many attitudes. Vision implementation, in the form of task cues, affected performance quality and quantity. Charismatic communication style affected only the perception of charisma. Mediation was not found; rather, an exploratory path analysis found a 2-part causal sequence, where the vision of quality and vision implementation each affected self-set goals and self-efficacy, which, in turn, affected performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
    Full-text available
    In this monograph we describe a unique method for resolving scientific disputes: the joint design of crucial experiments by the antagonists themselves with the help of a mediator. This method was applied to the issue of the effect of participation on goal commitment and performance. In research on this topic, Latham and his colleagues had obtained markedly different results from those obtained by Erez and her colleagues. With Locke serving as a third party mediator, Latham and Erez designed four experiments to resolve the discrepancies. The experiments were conducted at the University of Washington and the University of Maryland. The results revealed that the major reason for the difference was that Erez gave very brief tell instructions to her assigned goal subjects, whereas Latham used a tell and sell approach. Four additional factors also contributed to the earlier difference in findings: goal difficulty, setting personal goals before goal treatments were introduced, self-efficacy-inducing instructions, and instructions to reject disliked goals. It was concluded that (a) the differences between Latham and Erez can be explained on the basis of differences in specific procedures, and (b) the method used to resolve this dispute should be used by other investigators. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Intentional behavior Knowledge as a determinant of the effects of participation on performance and attitudes. Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Pro-cesses
    • T A Ryan
    • J Scully
    • S Kirkpatrick
    • E A Locke
    Ryan, T. A. (1970). Intentional behavior. New York: Ronald Press Scully, J., Kirkpatrick, S., & Locke, E. A. (1995). Knowledge as a determinant of the effects of participation on performance and attitudes. Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Pro-cesses, 61,276-288.
  • Article
    In 1956 AT&T decided to undertake a study of managerial lives unparalleled in its comprehensiveness and duration. This ambitious and unique research was not limited to studying the participants as managers, but examined the totality of their adult lives. In time, a second study was designed that addressed the abilities and motivations of a new generation of managers. This parallel longitudinal study provided another group, separated by twenty years from the subjects of the first study, so that individual development could be distinguished from societal change. This book is an account and evaluation of AT&T's monumental thirty years of research written by the studies' current director and her predecessor. As comprehensive and ambitious as the studies with which it is concerned, "Managerial Lives in Transition" includes social and cultural analyses as well as substantial statistical data. The authors examine the impact of recent history on management, from the dominance of white males to the emergence of women, and the growing representation of racial and ethnic minorities. Concerned with issues such as the nature of management potential, the course of adult life, and the young managers of today, this book will be of interest to psychologists, business readers, human resource managers, and students of corporate culture. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
    Comments on the book by K. A. Ericsson and H. A. Simon (see record 1980-24435-001) concerning verbal reports as data. The current status of verbal report methodologies in psychological research, and improvements in the methods for collecting and interpreting verbal report data, are discussed. The use of concurrent and retrospective verbal report procedures in conjunction with improved collecting and encoding procedures will continue to yield important data for improving psychological models. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Determined the long-term effects of self-management training given to 20 unionized state government employees to increase their job attendance in a 6-month follow-up study. A repeated measures analysis of variance revealed that enhanced self-efficacy and increased job attendance were effectively maintained over time. Perceived self-efficacy at the end of training predicted subsequent job attendance. The control group ( n = 20) was then given the same training in self-management by a different trainer. Three months later, this group showed the same positive improvement as the original training group with regard to increased self-efficacy and job attendance. These findings lend support to a self-efficacy based theory of job attendance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Whether you're a manager, company psychologist, quality control specialist, or involved with motivating people to work harder in any capacity—Locke and Latham's guide will hand you the keen insight and practical advice you need to reach even your toughest cases. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
    Investigated the effects of goal setting, self-efficacy, competition, and personality on the performance of a sit-up task. Prior to testing, Ss were administered the Sport Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ). 60 participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions: competition, medium goal; competition, high goal; no competition, medium goal; and no competition, high goal. A 5th group from the same population was added and served as the do-best comparison group. The main effect of goal level was borderline significant, and this effect was fully mediated by personal goal level and self-efficacy. Both the medium and hard goal groups significantly outperformed the do-best group. Competition did not affect performance, personal goals, commitment, or self-efficacy. The SOQ was significantly related to performance, but its effects were fully mediated by personal goals and self-efficacy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Training in self-management was given to 20 unionized state government employees to increase their attendance at the work site. Analyses of variance revealed that compared to a control condition ( n = 20), training in self-regulatory skills taught employees how to manage personal and social obstacles to job attendance, and it raised their perceived self-efficacy that they could exercise influence over their behavior. Consequently, employee attendance was significantly higher in the training than in the control group. The higher the perceived self-efficacy, the better the subsequent job attendance. These data were significant at the .05 level. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
    This study contrasted goal setting and self-management training designs for their effectiveness in facilitating transfer of training to a novel task. Behavioral measures of performance were used to assess transfer in terms of skill generalization, skill repetition and overall performance level. Skill generalization was more limited among the goal-setting trainees as compared to the self-management trainees. While goal-setting trainees generalized fewer skills to the novel task context, these skills tended to be used more repeatedly. In contrast, self-management trainees exhibited higher rates of skill generalization and higher overall performance levels on the transfer task, even after the effects of outcome goal level were controlled. Implications are discussed for future research on training transfer.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Control theory has been propounded as an original and useful paradigm for integrating a number of theories of human (especially work) motivation. This paper challenges that claim. First, it is shown that the original, mechanical control theory model is not applicable to human beings. Second, it is shown that the two approaches used by control theorists to remedy its limitations did not succeed. One approach involved incorporating propositions drawn from other theories with the result that there was nothing distinctive left that was unique to control theory. The other approach involved broadening the scope of control theory by adding deduced propositions; however, these propositions were inconsistent with what was already known about the phenomena in question based on empirical research. The control theory approach to theory building is contrasted with that of goal setting theory (Locke & Latham, 1990). Goal-setting theory is a grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) which evolved from research findings over a 25-year period. Goal theory developed in five directions simultaneously: validation of the core premises; demonstrations of generality; identification of moderators; conceptual refinement and elaboration; and integration with other theories. It is hypothesized that the grounded theory approach is a more fruitful one than the approaches used by control theory.
  • Article
    The present experiment tested the hypothesis that self-regulation of refractory behavior varies as a function of goal proximity. Obese subjects were assigned to conditions in which they either monitored their eating behavior, monitored their eating behavior and set subgoals for reducing the amount of food consumed, or received no treatment. Within the goal-setting conditions, subjects adopted either distal goals defined in terms of weekly goal limits or proximal goals specifying the goal limits for each of four time periods during each day. Goal setting enhanced self-directed change as measured by reductions in both eating behavior and weight. The higher the goal attainments, the greater were the losses in weight. Proximal and distal goal setting yielded comparable overall results because the majority of subjects assigned remote goals altered this condition by adopting proximal goals to augment control over their own behavior. Within the distal goal-setting condition, the adherents to distal goals achieved relatively small changes, whereas those who improvised proximal subgoals for themselves attained substantial reductions on the multifaceted measures of self-directed change. The combined evidence lends support to the motivational and regulative functions of proximal intentions and highlights the reciprocal influence processes that operate in self-directed change.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This study investigated the relationship between Type A behavior and the research productivity of university faculty. The research also examined the roles played by various Type A subfactors (job involvement, competitiveness, and impatience) and by three hypothesized intervening variables (self-efficacy, performance goals, and working on multiple projects) in the Type A—productivity relationship. Results showed a direct relationship between Type A behavior and both quantity and quality indices of faculty research productivity. Findings also supported self-efficacy, goals, and working on multiple projects as variables intervening between the display of Type A behavior and performance. Job involvement was found to be the only Type A subfactor related to productivity.
  • Living organisms exhibit various levels of self-regulation, the highest of which is man's ability to regulate the operation of his conceptual faculty. Ayn Rand's theory of free will, the basis of this article, identifies this level of self-regulation with volition. The locus of direct volitional choice is placed in the choice “to think or not to think,” where thinking is understood as rational, purposefully directed cognition. The nature of this choice is analyzed in detail, with special emphasis on Rand's concept of mental “focus.” The epistemological status of the theory is discussed, including the role of introspective evidence in its behalf. It is argued that one's volitional control over one's own thinking has the status of an axiom, and that any attempted denial of this control is self-refuting.
  • Article
    Examines the motivation for achievement as a psychological factor that shapes economic development. Refuting arguments based on race, climate, or population growth, the book instead argues for cultural customs and motivations - especially the motivation for achievement - as the major catalysts of economic growth. Considering the Protestant Reformation, the rise of capitalism, parents' influences on sons, and folklore and children's stories as shaping cultural motivations for achievement, the book hypothesizes that a high level of achievement motivation precedes economic growth. This is supported through qualitative analysis of the achievement motive, as well as of other psychological factors - including entrepreneurial behavior and characteristics, and available sources of achievement in past and present highly achieving societies. It is the achievement motive - and not merely the profit motive or the desire for material gain - that has advanced societies economically. Consequently, individuals are not merely products of their environment, as many social scientists have asserted, but also creators of the environment, as they manipulate it in various ways in the search for achievement. Finally, a plan is hypothesized to accelerate economic growth in developing countries, by encouraging and supplementing their achievement motives through mobilizing the greater achievement resources of developed countries. The conclusion is not just that motivations shape economic progress, but that current influences on future people's motivations and values will determine economic growth in the long run. Thus, it is most beneficial for a society to concentrate its resources on creating an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and a strong ideological base for achievement. (CJC)
  • Article
    3 laboratory experiments are reported which stem from Ryan's approach to motivation. The fundamental unit is the "intention." The experiments examined the relationship between intended level of achievement and actual level of performance. A significant linear relationship was obtained in all 3 experiments; the higher the level of intention, the higher the level of performance. The findings held both between and within Ss and across different tasks. The implications for the explanation of behavior are discussed. (19 ref.)
  • Article
    This essay argues: (1) that the fundamental conflict between the behaviorist and cognitive approaches to psychology are philosophical, not scientific; (2) that the philosophical premises underlying behaviorism (materialism, epiphenomenalism, functional model of causality, and the rejection of concepts referring to conscious states and processes) are false; and (3) that an objective, scientific approach to psychology must take consciousness and volition as axiomatic starting points.
  • Participation has been a concern of both theorists and practitioners for many decades, but sophisticated analyses of the literature have been inconclusive with respect to its performance and affective benefits (Wagner & Gooding, 1987). The present study used an experimental design to test the hypothesis that the effectiveness of participation in promoting high performance would depend upon the locus of knowledge. Thus, high performance would result if (a) there was no participation and the supervisor had correct information, and if (b) there was participation and at least one party had correct information and neither had incorrect (i.e., conflicting) information. Lower performance would result under other conditions. We also tested the hypothesis that supervisors and subordinates under participation would have more positive affect than those who did not. These hypotheses were supported in a 2 × 3 × 3 experiment varying participation (Participation and No Participation), supervisor information (Correct, Incorrect, and No Information), and subordinate information (Correct, Incorrect, and No Information). Both supervisors and subordinates reported more positive affect and perceptions under Participation (versus No Participation) regardless of their degree of correct knowledge.
  • In order to investigate what makes people feel closer to making a change decision, female undergraduates were asked to employ mental exercises on two unresolved personal problems, one being easy to implement (e.g., subscribing to a newspaper) and one being difficult to implement (e.g., breaking up with a boyfriend). In an exhaustive predecisional exercise subjects deliberated on the expectancies and values of making a change decision. Two less exhaustive predecisional exercises required that subjects imagine enjoying the incentives of having made a change decision either in a realistic or fantasy-like manner. In an exhaustive postdecisional exercise subjects had to come up with a plan on how to implement the decision not yet made and were to imagine themselves executing it. Two less exhaustive postdecisional exercises required subjects either to imagine the execution of one single implemental action, or to deliberate solely on various possible action steps. Both the exhaustive pre- and postdecisional exercises were found to be more effective in increasing subjects' perceived proximity to the act of a change decision than the respective nonexhaustive exercises. This effect was not less pronounced for difficult-to-implement problems than for easy-to-implement problems. In both exhaustive cases, the facilitative effect was not mediated by increases in outcome value or outcome expectancy. For the exhaustive postdecisional exercise, however, the effect was mediated by the formation of implemental intents. Results are interpreted in terms of a phase model of action which conceives of decisions as volitional acts that propel the individual from a deliberative state of mind (weighing) to an implemental state of mind (willing).