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Title:Individual and Group Goal Setting for Individual Task Performance
Author(s):Hinsz, Verlin Blaine
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:Two laboratory experiments were conducted to explore the comparison of individual and group goal setting for the task performance of individuals. In the first experiment, goal setting occurred for a problem-solving task and an error-checking task. For both tasks, two versions were constructed to reflect low and high task difficulty. The general expectation from the literature on goal setting suggests that groups should set more difficult goals than individuals. Contrary to this expectation, the group goals were on average less difficult than individual goals for both tasks, for both levels of task difficulty, and for both the initial and second goal setting occasions. This difference could not be explained by a hypothesis of concession to the least able member, or by an explanation of group members' increased desire for certainty in attaining the goal. Of greatest interest was the finding that the setting of lower goals by groups reflects lower goal preferences among the group members, which occurred in anticipation of group goal setting.
The second experiment was directed at examining explanations for this discrepancy between individual and group member goals. Three aspects involved in the group goal setting situation were considered to provide plausible explanation for this discrepancy: an anticipation of evaluation, an anticipation of interaction, and taking the other group members into consideration. To test the influence of anticipated evaluation, some subjects expected to be stating their goals publicly, while others stated their goals in a more private fashion. To test the influence of anticipated interaction, some subjects expected to engage in a group discussion and decision about the goals for performance, while other subjects expected no interaction at all. To test the influence of taking others into consideration, the subjects were asked to set goals for their own performance, and to set goals for the performance of other individuals. The results of this experiment demonstrated that each of these three factors independently influenced the goals set. A conceptual approach was presented that shows how social factors may influence goal setting, and how the influence of these factors may have resulted in the observed difference between individual and group goal setting.
Issue Date:1983
Description:93 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8409952
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1983

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