Essay on Goal-Setting Theory

3068 Words Oct 12th, 2008 13 Pages
Goal-setting Theory and its Effective Application

According to the book Organisational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim (2007), motivation is the “forces within a person that affect his or her direction, intensity and persistence of voluntary behaviour in the workplace”. This means that compared to a non-motivated employee, a motivated one is willing to consistently (persistence) give more effort to their job (intensity) to achieve the desired goal or goals (direction). Today, motivating employees is important and has become more challenging for employers due to the fact that an engaged workforce result in greater performance, productivity and success for the business. This is why many managers want to find ways on how to motivate their
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2007)

As stated by Locke and Latha, there are four mediators or mechanisms of goals that can affect performance.

The first one is that there is “focus of attention on the desired end state to the exclusion of other goals” (Smith and Hitt. 2005). This means that goals can limit and direct employee’s attention, effort and action to only goal-relevant activities and not interrupted by unwanted and irrelevant ones. For instance, if one’s goal is to get a high distinction grade in Mathematics, one will focus and dedicate all his or her effort and attention to studying math and not play the Playstation. One will think twice to play and not concentrate on studies.
The second mediator is the investment of effort and energy in goal-relevant activities (Locke and Latham 2002). High and difficult goals lead to more effort than easy or vague ones. For example, if one has a goal of finishing an essay in 2 days time, he or she is likely to put more effort by working harder and faster in order to finish the essay before the due date.
Next, without skills and task knowledge, a goal cannot be achieved because performance needs both motivation and ability (Locke and Latham 2006). One cannot achieve a desired goal unless one has the ability and knowledge of it. In 1990, Wood and

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