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3. Process Perspectives on Motivation
Apply your knowledge about process perspectives on motivation to identify the area of goal-setting theory at the root of the problem.
Vonda is frustrated with her manager, Glenda. Last week, when Vonda asked about Glenda’s expectations, Glenda said, “Just do your best.” But Vonda doesn’t know exactly what to do, and as a result, she isn’t very motivated.
Lelani really likes her new boss. During a meeting last month, the boss outlined specific goals for Lelani to meet, which excited Lelani. But now Lelani isn’t sure how well she is doing in terms of meeting the goals, so she is not very motivated.
Use the following research summary and your knowledge of goal-setting theory to answer the questions that follow.
According to recent research, only 35% of full-time students complete their university degrees in 4 years. Why is this?
Could universities improve academic performance and completion rates simply through the use of goal setting?
Dominique Morisano tested this idea in her dissertation research. Morisano followed 85 students who weren’t doing very well in school for 4 months. The entire group of students was similar in many ways (GPA, demographics, native language, and academic probation standing). Half of the students (the goal group) participated in an 8-week, intensive goal-setting program, while the other half (the control group) did not. The goal-setting program helped students to set personal goals and to create detailed strategies for achieving them. Morisano found that students who received goal-setting training were less likely to withdraw from school than students in the control group.
(Source: Morisano, D. (2010). Setting, elaborating, and reflecting on personal goals improves academic performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(2), 255–264)
What do the results of Morisano’s study illustrate?
Having specific, difficult goals increases a student’s GPA.
Students performed better in their second semester than they did in their first semester.
Students with higher GPAs are more likely to set goals.
Training students in goal setting leads to an increase in achieving their objectives.
Because students set their own goals in this experiment, they are likely to have a higher level of than students whose goals were set for them by professors.
The goal-setting theory of motivation assumes that a person’s behavior results from conscious intentions and goals. Goal is related to how hard a person has to work to accomplish a goal.
Equity theory is based on the idea that people are motivated to seek fairness in the rewards they receive for performance. Consider what you know about equity theory as you read the following scenario and fill in the blanks in the dialogue.
Imagine you own a professional soccer team. You’ve been posting player salaries and guaranteed compensation online since 2007 as a result of an agreement with the Major League Soccer Players Union.
You know that some salaries are a bit on the high side and some are on the low side. You’ve been trying to smooth things out, and overall, you think you’re doing pretty well. But today, four of your players approach you on the field. Two of your best players, Dwight and Guillermo, start to talk for the group, and they don’t sound happy.
YOU: Hey, guys, what’s going on?
GUILLERMO: Dwight and I just got done looking at the latest pay postings. What do you think you’re doing?
YOU: I thought things were coming along pretty well. Are you seeing a problem?
DWIGHT: A problem? It’s more than a problem! Why does everybody else on the team have a guaranteed salary of at least $30,000 more than their base pay? And you’re giving us a measly $25,000? I’ll say we have a problem! Our are just as high as anybody else’s on the team, and you know it!
YOU: I’m sorry the league pay seems to you. I compared the salaries in our club with the salaries in several other clubs, and, overall, the players on our team have higher than the players on the other teams.
When pay is made public, people evaluate how equitable their pay is in light of the pay other people are receiving. The problem in this case is that Dwight and Guillermo have found out that others are getting paid more than they do for the same work. What are they likely to do under these circumstances? Check all that apply.
Come to more practices
Attend fewer practices
Try to convince the coach to give them more money
Quit the team