The Role of Ability in Goal Setting: A Re-specification of Ability and Task Complexity as Goal-Performance Moderators

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Title: The Role of Ability in Goal Setting: A Re-specification of Ability and Task Complexity as Goal-Performance Moderators
Author: Craven, Denise Elizabeth
Advisors: Joan J. Michael, Committee Chair
Abstract: The present study sought integration of two well-documented relationships: the relationship between general mental ability and performance of complex tasks, and between goal characteristics and level of work performance. Goal-setting theory states that the impact of goal level (difficulty and specificity) on performance depends on the task's complexity level. Past versions of the theory have also specified ability as a moderator of the goal-performance relationship. This study tested an alternative model of ability and task complexity as goal-performance moderators: a 3-way interaction among general mental ability (GMA), goal level, and task complexity. Undergraduate psychology students completed a class-scheduling task, which manipulated task complexity and goal difficulty at two levels each. Whereas main effects of task complexity and GMA were found, the 3-way interaction was not supported. Statistical and design limitations, including the absence of control for goal commitment, are discussed.
Date: 2008-03-11
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Psychology
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/5951


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