Goal def (Hale & Whitlam, 1995)

20 October 2010

Targets are often known by other names such as objectives and goals but really these terms all describe the same thing. Targets explain what should be achieved at the end of an activity – a point to be hit or a desired result. The emphasis in this definition is important because the focus is on output rather than input or effort. Of course a particular target may be very demanding in terms of effort required to achieve it but the emphasis in the output statement is on the fact that it is achieved rather than how it was achieved. The guidance on how to achieve the target is discussed and agreed once the target has been described in terms of an output statement.

(Hale & Whitlam, 1995, p. 78)


Goals are problems (short) (Moskowitz & Grant, 2009)

18 October 2010

A goal specifies a desired state (which can include ending, or moving away from, a negative state). The desired state specified by the goal is not yet currently achieved. Responses that move the person toward that desired state (or away from an undesired state) are engaged to compensate for the discrepancy between the current state and the desired state.

(Moskowitz & Grant, 2009, p. 308)

Goals are problems (Moskowitz & Grant, 2009)

18 October 2010

Carver and Scheir (1999) added to the TOTE model a metamonitoring feedback loop, which takes as input the rate of discrepancy reduction, compares it to a reference value, and signals a need to speed up or an option to slow down, depending on the outcome of the comparison. In this model, the metamonitoring loop produces emotion. An acceptable rate of discrepancy reduction enhances positive emotion, whereas an unacceptably low rate of discrepancy reduction produces negative emotion (see also Hsee & Abelson, 1991; Hsee, Abelson, & Salovey, 1991). This means that people feel good not only when they attain a goal (i.e., eliminate the discrepancy), but also when they believe that they are making good progress toward goal attainment, irrespective of the discrepancy from goal attainment. For example when only starting to work toward a goal, the discrepancy to the goal is relatively large, but rate of progress is high relative to the preengagement state, and therefore the early stage of goal pursuit would be characterized by high spirits and positive affect. In contrast, attaining a goal (closing the discrepancy) is often characterized by slowing down, and thus produces negative emotion: the feeling of anticlimax. For example, upon completing a long and torturous graduate program and finally submitting a copy of the Ph.D. thesis, students often find themselves discouraged and sad instead of feeling the long-anticipated elation.

(Moskowitz & Grant, 2009, p. 279)


Goals are problems, Lewine (Moskowitz & Grant, 2009)

18 October 2010

In Lewin’s (1951) field theory, goals are viewed as quasi-needs. Like a need (e.g. hunger), a goal involves a discrepancy between an actual state and a desired state, a discrepancy that creates tension that a person tries to reduce by fulfilling the goal. This tension is motivation, a force directed toward goal fulfillment.

(Moskowitz & Grant, 2009, p. 277)

Goals are problems (Moskowitz & Grant, 2009)

18 October 2010

The selected goal is equated with a standard, or reference criterion. THe goal is essentially the discrepancy between the standard and one’s current standing. For example, one may set the goal of achieving at basketball by setting a standard of making 10 consecutive foul shots. The current state is that 10 consecutive shots have to be made. A goal thus exists due to this discrepancy. The discrepancy energizes or motivates behavior aimed at reducing the discrepancy. Why? Because the discrepancy has associated to it a tension that the person experiences as aversive and unpleasant, and that one is driven to eliminate … When the discrepancy is reduced, the goal is disengaged. Of course, other obstacles to goal pursuit may lead to disengagement as well, allowing the system to rotate to one of its other goals.

(Moskowitz & Grant, 2009, s. 19)

Goals are problems (Moskowitz & Grant, 2009)

18 October 2010

In their model of action phases, Hechausen and Gollwitzer (1987) assumed that a person’s motives produe more wishes and desires than can be realized. Therefore, one must chosse a goal to pursue by a process of deliberating over the feasibility and desirabilitiy of one’s wishes and desires. Only feasible and attractive wishes are turned into goals and initiate goal-directed behaviors. However, initiation of action is based also on the perscieved suitability of the present situational context. All of this is considered in relation to the desirability and feasibility of other competing goals that press to be realized in the given situation and to possible future situational contexts that may ber more or less suitable than the one at hand.

In conclusion, a fundamental assumption on which most goal work is predicated is that goals are analyzed with a consideration to the desirability and the feasibility of attaining the goal (see Atkinson, 1964) … These considerations connect the individual to the environment.

(Moskowitz & Heidi, 2009, p. 5)

Goals are problems (Locke & Latham, 2006)

18 October 2010

Goal-setting theory (Locke & Latham, 1990, 2002) was developed inductively within industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology over a 25-year period, based on some 400 laboratory and field studies. These studies showed that specific, high (hard) goals lead to a higher level of task performance than do easy goals or vague, abstract goals such as the exhortation to “do one’s best.” So long as a person is committed to the goal, has the requisite ability to attain it, and does not have conflicting goals, there is a positive, linear relationship between goal difficulty and task perfonnance. Because goals refer to future valued outcomes, the setting of goals is first and foremost a discrepancy-creating process. It implies discontent with one’s present condition and the desire to attain an object or outcome.

(Locke & Latham, 2006, p. 265)