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)


Goal-directedness is the distinctive feature of human rationality (Locke & Latham, 1984)

18 October 2010

There is nothing originally about the concept of goal setting. Everyone knows that you have to set goals in order to accomplish anything in life. Goal-directedness is the distinctive feature of rational human activity. The problem in business and in life, is how to use goal setting effectively.

(Locke & Latham, 1984, p. x)