When striving to meet goals, individuals monitor their progress towards achieving them. The discrepancy between their current performance and their goal determines task (dis)satisfaction, and thus whether they will make greater effort. We propose and test a theoretical extension of goal-setting theory, namely that different types of goal standards (minimal or maximal) fundamentally change this monitoring process. Through four experiments we demonstrate that with maximal goals (“ideal” standards), individuals experience greater task satisfaction the nearer their current performance comes to the goal. In contrast, with minimal goals (“at least” standards), their satisfaction level remains low, regardless of how close their performance is to the goal. When goals are exceeded, the reverse applies: with maximal goals, satisfaction remains high regardless of the level of overperformance, while with minimal goals, satisfaction is determined by the level of overperformance. We also demonstrate that task satisfaction levels influence subsequent decisions on goal striving.

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Keywords Decision-making, Goal setting, Goal standards, Goal-performance discrepancies, Maximal goal, Minimal goal, Task satisfaction
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2020.08.004, hdl.handle.net/1765/130147
Journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Giessner, S.R, Stam, D.A, Kerschreiter, R, Verboon, D. (Danny), & Salama, I. (Ibrahim). (2020). Goal-setting reloaded: The influence of minimal and maximal goal standards on task satisfaction and goal striving after performance feedback. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 161, 228–241. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2020.08.004