Tested the hypotheses that goal acceptance moderates the relationship of goal difficulty to task performance as follows: (a) The relationship is positive and linear for accepted goals; (b) it is negative and linear if the goal is rejected; and thus, (c) slope reversal from positively to negatively linear relationships is associated with transition from positive to negative values of goal acceptance. The experiment was a within-S design, allowing for high variance in acceptance, with technicians and engineers (21–50 yrs of age) divided at random into a 2-phase experimental condition (n = 104) with specific goal difficulty gradually increasing from Trial 1 to 7 and a control group (n = 36) with the general instructions to "do your best." Instructions for Phase 2 differed from Phase 1 in that Ss were instructed to reassess their acceptance of difficult goals. The task consisted of determining, within 2-min trials, how many digits or letters in a row were the same as the circled one to the left of each row. Results support the hypotheses. (16 ref)
Journal of Applied Psychology – American Psychological Association
Published: Feb 1, 1984
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