4.pngLocke’s goal theory

“Goal theory asserts that specific difficult goals lead to higher performance than “do best” or easy goals, providing that there is feedback that shows progress in relation to the goals, goal commitment, and sufficient task knowledge”(Alexander D, 2006).

There are four mechanisms or mediators of the relationship between goals and performance.” High goals lead to greater effort and persistence than do moderately difficult, easy, or vague goals. Goals direct attention, effort, and action toward goal-relevant actions at the expense of no relevant actions” (Locke, 2006).

Because performance is a function of both ability and motivation, goal effects also depend upon having the requisite task knowledge and skills. Goals may simply motivate one to use one’s existing ability, may automatically pull stored task-relevant knowledge into awareness, or may motivate people to search for new knowledge. The latter is most common when people are confronted by new, complex tasks. As we will show, such searches may or may not be successful.



Locke, Edwin A. (April 24, 2003). "On May Day Delebrate Capitalism".

Association for Psychological Science. "2005 James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award".