Organizational Behavior

Goal Setting Theory of Motivation

In 1960’s, Edwin Locke put forward the Goal Setting Theory of Motivation. 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.

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.

The important features of the goal-setting theory are as follows:

  • The willingness to work towards the attainment of the goal is the main source of job 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 dear goals accompanied by a deadline for completion avoids misunderstanding.
  • Goals should be realistic and challenging. This gives an. individual a feeling of pride and triumph when he attains them and sets him up for the attainment of next goal. The more challenging the goal, the greater is the reward generally and the more is the passion for achieving it.
  • Better and appropriate feedback of results directs the employee behavior and contributes to higher performance than the absence of feedback. Feedback is a means of gaining reputation, making clarifications and regulating goal difficulties. It helps employees to work with more involvement and leads to greater job satisfaction.
  • Employees ‘participation in goal is not always desirable. Participation in setting goal, however, makes the goal more acceptable and leads to more involvement.

Advantages of goal setting theory:

  • Goal setting theory is a technique used to raise incentives for employees to complete work quickly and effectively.
  • Goal setting leads to better performance by increasing motivation and efforts, but also through increasing and improving the feedback quality.

Limitation of goal setting theory:

  • At times, the organizational goals are in conflict with the managerial goals. Goal conflict has a detrimental effect on the performance if it motivates incompatible action to drift.
  • Very difficult and complex goals stimulate riskier behavior.
  • If the employee lacks skills and competencies to perform actions essential for goal, then the goal-setting can fail and lead to undermining of performance.
  • There is no evidence to prove that goal-setting improves job satisfaction.