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Behavioral Responses to Failure: The Effects of Goal Orientation, Psychological Capital, and Intrinsic Motivation


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Failure can be a feared or even fatal stumbling-block for many individuals and businesses but can also be the hallmark of a successful entrepreneur or enterprise. Whether failure becomes an insurmountable obstacle or a refining challenge depends largely on an individual’s behavior after a failure. This study examined the effects of goal orientation, psychological capital, and intrinsic motivation on the post-failure behavior of 180 adults currently employed in a workplace environment. Main findings included: 1) significant correlations found between age and many adaptive characteristics, confirming that a productive failure response is something that can be learned, developed, or trained over time, 2) data better supported a tripolar model of goal orientation than the 2x2 model used, 3) significant intercorrelations between various failure responses indicated that individuals don’t usually respond to failure with a single behavior but with a cluster of related behaviors, 4) strongest relationships were found with mastery-approach and performance-avoidance goal orientations, which each correlated respectively with adaptive and maladaptive responses to failure, 5) the mediating relationships involving PsyCap and intrinsic motivation within the SEM model were diametrically opposed to what was hypothesized as well as what was suggested in the existing literature. Overall, results showed promise for the potential of a cohesive failure model connecting an interrelated network of preexisting individual characteristics to the way people respond after a failure, but some unexpected findings indicate that further research is necessary to determine the structure and placement of the different variables within the model.
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I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
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