Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 466–481 | Cite as

A situated process model of vocational achievement goal striving within members of the academic staff at university

  • Stefan Janke
  • Oliver Dickhäuser
Original Paper


Building on achievement goal approach and self-determination theory (SDT), we propose a concise process model of achievement goal striving within academic staff members working at universities. We investigate this model in a sample of 107 academic staff members, who we questioned twice a day over the course of 2 weeks resulting in 1653 measurement occasions. Using two-level structural equation modeling, we found that substantial amounts of variance in situated achievement goals could be attributed to personal goal orientations. Life aspirations indirectly predicted the general strength of situated achievement goal striving via personal goal orientations. Finally, the situational satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness was differentially predictive for fluctuations in situated achievement goal striving, which in turn predicted situational intrinsic work motivation and work engagement. Our research ties achievement goal approach more closely to SDT and delivers a first outlook on the importance of working conditions in academia for goal setting processes and vocational motivation.


Achievement goals Basic psychological needs Personal goal orientations Intrinsic motivation Academic staff 



We would like to thank Caroline Tremble for her valuable services in language editing. Furthermore, we want to thank all academic staff members that participated in our study for the invested time and effort.


This study was funded by a grant of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG) to Oliver Dickhäuser (Grant Number DI 929 5-1) and Markus Dresel (Grant Number DR 454/8-1).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany

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