Edwin Locke Goal Setting Theory

According to Bratton and Gold, performance management refers to the set of interconnected practices designed to ensure that a person’s overall capabilities are appraised, so that relevant goals can be set for work and development, and so that, through assessment, data on work behaviour and performance can be collected and reviewed.

Performance management would therefore be a continuous process of identifying, measuring and developing the performance of individuals and aligning performance with the strategic goals of the organisation. Performance management is a cycle that would involve the setting of the employees’ goals and objectives, coaching the performance during the entire period and to formally evaluate the performance in a performance
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This theory states that goal setting is essentially linked to task performance. It states that specific and challenging goals along with appropriate feedback contribute to higher and better task performance. This theory explains what types of goals are most effective in producing high levels of motivation and performance and why goals have these effects. In simple words, goals indicate and give direction to an employee about what needs to be done and how much efforts are required to be put in.
Locke’s goal setting theory has contributed in the aspect of setting the employees objectives. The goal setting theory has  as a technique used to raise incentives for employees to complete work quickly and effectively. Goal setting also leads to better performance by increasing motivation and efforts, but also through increasing and improving the feedback quality.
The key features of the goal setting theory would include links to employee performance. The willingness to work towards attainment of goal is main source of job motivation. Clear, particular and difficult goals are greater motivating factors than easy, general and vague goals. Specific and clear goals lead to greater output and better performance. Unambiguous, measurable and clear goals accompanied by a deadline for completion avoids
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Examples of these firms would be General Electric and Federal Express. General Electric successfully applied goal setting theory in all levels of their organisation. The company would set goals for all the employees and reviews these regularly. They also put in systems to enable employees to reach their goals. On the other hand, Federal Express (more commonly known as FedEx) tried to use goal setting that required input from internal and external sources. Managers sought for input from subordinates and customers, and then set goals for their subordinates. This was used so that a more complete understanding of both the employees and customers’ expectation.
Equipped with the information on Locke’s goal setting theory, managers should use this information and to a great extent apply them into the setting of goals and objectives with employees during the start of the performance management cycle.

On the final note, performance management is a continuous cycle wherein employee’s objective setting, coaching performance and performance appraisals are the three main key steps. To further improve performance management, and with the knowledge of Locke’s goal setting theory, it should be applied and used to the benefit of the organisation, company or

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