When and why performance goals predict exploitation behaviors: An achievement goal complex analysis of the selection function of assessment

  • Nicolas SommetEmail author
  • David Nguyen
  • Kevin Fahrni
  • Martin Jobin
  • Ha-Phong Nguyen
  • Hamza Sehaqui
  • Fabrizio Butera
Original Paper


We adopted an achievement goal complex framework (studying achievement goals and reasons connected to goals) to determine when and why performance goals predict exploitation of others’ knowledge. We hypothesized that: (i) when selective assessment is used (exams aiming to select a limited number of individuals), the link between performance goals and exploitation orientation is stronger; (ii) the reason why is that selective assessment fosters performance goals regulated by controlled reasons. Study 1 (N = 166) supported these hypotheses in a “real world” environment, comparing students enrolled in programs using non-selective versus selective assessment (but having a majority of common courses). Then, an experimental causal-chain-like design was used. In Study 2 (N = 187), presenting an intelligence test as selective (vs. [self-]evaluative) predicted controlled reasons connected to performance goals. In Study 3 (N = 192), inducing performance goals using controlling (vs. autonomy-supportive) language predicted exploitation orientation, indirectly impairing information-sharing behaviors. The results contribute to the understanding of both the structural antecedents and interpersonal consequences of achievement goal complexes.


Achievement goals Self-determination theory Achievement goal complex Exploitation orientation Selective assessment 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 6230 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolas Sommet
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Nguyen
    • 2
    • 4
  • Kevin Fahrni
    • 2
  • Martin Jobin
    • 2
  • Ha-Phong Nguyen
    • 2
  • Hamza Sehaqui
    • 2
  • Fabrizio Butera
    • 3
  1. 1.Life Course and Inequality Research Centre (LINES)University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale (UNILaPS)University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  4. 4.Laboratoire d’Optique Biomédicale (LOB)Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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