Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 75–86 | Cite as

Effects of participative vs assigned goals and feedback in a multitrial task

  • Mary C. Kernan
  • Robert G. Lord


A dynamic multitrial perspective on goal setting was adopted in order to investigate the effects of both goals (assigned vs participative) and goal-discrepant performance feedback on subsequent goal commitment and performance. Eighty subjects were initially assigned to either an assigned or participative goal condition, and performed a multitrial task with all subjects receiving goal discrepant performance feedback following the first task trial. Assigned rather than participative goal setting led to higher goal commitment, and large goal/feedback discrepancies led to greater reductions in subsequent goals. Because of these goal changes, the ability of initial goals to predict performance decreased over trials. However, when goal commitment, which reflects revised goals, was also considered, the ability to predict performance actually increased over trials. A moderating effect for need achievement was obtained such that higher-need achievers were more goal committed and performed better under participative goal setting than low-need achievers. Discussion focused on the practical and theoretical importance of a dynamic goal-setting perspective in explaining and predicting responses to goals and feedback systems.


Social Psychology Great Reduction Goal Setting Feedback System Goal Condition 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary C. Kernan
    • 1
  • Robert G. Lord
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Administrative Sciences, Graduate School of ManagementKent State UniversityKent
  2. 2.The University of AkronUSA

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