Challenge versus threat effects on the goal–performance relationship

Challenge versus threat effects on the goal–performance relationship This study tested the situational effects of goals and stress on the performance of complex tasks and on adaptation to change in the task. Difficult goals often exceed the individual's resources and thus create stress. However, stress may be appraised as either challenge or threat. Challenge is experienced when there is an opportunity for self-growth with available coping strategies, whereas threat is experienced when the situation is perceived as leading to failure with no available strategies to cope with it. We hypothesized that participants who appraised the situation as a challenge would perform better and adapt better to changes under difficult goal conditions, as compared with general goals or strategy goals. By contrast, threat appraisals would be better addressed by strategy goals rather than difficult goals. One hundred and fifty five students performed a task, which required their making predictions concerning the value of 120 companies' stocks based on three manipulated cues. We used a three by three by two factorial design in which goals, stress, and change (as a repeated factor) were varied to test the hypotheses. Results supported the main hypotheses and demonstrated that the same level of goal difficulty may lead to high or low performance and adaptation to change depending on the appraisal of the situation as challenging or threatening. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are further discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes Elsevier

Challenge versus threat effects on the goal–performance relationship

Loading next page...
 
/lp/elsevier/challenge-versus-threat-effects-on-the-goal-performance-relationship-FbFbWTagAr
Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA)
ISSN
0749-5978
DOI
10.1016/S0749-5978(02)00004-3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study tested the situational effects of goals and stress on the performance of complex tasks and on adaptation to change in the task. Difficult goals often exceed the individual's resources and thus create stress. However, stress may be appraised as either challenge or threat. Challenge is experienced when there is an opportunity for self-growth with available coping strategies, whereas threat is experienced when the situation is perceived as leading to failure with no available strategies to cope with it. We hypothesized that participants who appraised the situation as a challenge would perform better and adapt better to changes under difficult goal conditions, as compared with general goals or strategy goals. By contrast, threat appraisals would be better addressed by strategy goals rather than difficult goals. One hundred and fifty five students performed a task, which required their making predictions concerning the value of 120 companies' stocks based on three manipulated cues. We used a three by three by two factorial design in which goals, stress, and change (as a repeated factor) were varied to test the hypotheses. Results supported the main hypotheses and demonstrated that the same level of goal difficulty may lead to high or low performance and adaptation to change depending on the appraisal of the situation as challenging or threatening. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are further discussed.

Journal

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision ProcessesElsevier

Published: Jul 1, 2002

References

  • Studying job stress: are we making mountains out of molehills?
    Brief, A.P.; Atieh, J.M.
  • Regulatory focus and strategic inclinations
    Crowe, E.; Higgins, T.
  • Effects of self efficacy and post training interventions on the acquisition and maintenance of complex interpersonal skills
    Gist, M.E.; Stevens, C.K.; Bavetta, A.G.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off