Relationship of Goal Level to Valence and Instrumentality

Article (PDF Available)inJournal of Applied Psychology 77(4):395-405 · August 1992with 440 Reads
DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.77.4.395
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Abstract
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. Ss 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. Ss 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. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Journal
of
Applied Psychology
1992.
Vol.
77, No. 4,
395-405
Copyright
1992
by
Ihe
American Psychological Association,
Inc.
0021-9010/92/$3.00
Relationship
of
Goal
Level
to
Valence
and
Instrumentality
Anthony
J.
Mento
Loyola College
in
Maryland
Edwin
A.
Locke
University
of
Maryland
Howard
J.
Klein
Ohio State University
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
perfor-
mance
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.
Locke
and
Latham (1990) recently integrated
the
research