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Summary of Article: The motivational benefits of goal-setting By Gary P.

Latham Published in Academy of Management Executives, 2004, Volume 18, No 4 The article beautifully explains the goal setting theory and how it leads to the achievement and success of goals. It talks about the fact that goals when made specific results in improved and better performance. It is because those vague goals do not let a person to that level that encourages him to achieve a desire state because than an employee set certain targets and strive hard to achieve them. Specific goals like increase in 30% of revenues instead of increase sales let working force set high aims and targets and let them strive hard to work better in order to attain high level of satisfaction. An example of American Pulp Wood Association was given that when specific goals were set for some people they produced much better results. Those people made it public bragged about their achievements and success. In fact what happened was that physical tasks were converted into challenging and meaning oriented goals for loggers. Employee attendance is also affected by specific goals set. It exhibits psychological effect to take pride by achieving them. Goal setting is effective because it commits people and their attention is not diverted. It motivates people to put high effort. Rapid work is done when given a deadline and people are motivated to use the knowledge they have in order to achieve goals. How the effectiveness of goals are effected includes that certain goals when are performance oriented and employees lack knowledge at that stage urging them to do best can be more effective. Outcome performance oriented goals sometimes make people struggle and leads to failure. To solve such issue instead of outcome goals, high learning goals should be set that help employees to develop a plan and implement it. High learning goals surely leads to high performance. A commitment towards embracing a difficult goal is necessary. The probability of attaining a goal is high when a person believes and commitment is there. When goals are made public they create more of commitment. A supportive leader when show confidence in workers they exhibit his confidence through goals. A visionary leader inspires and motivate employees towards their goals and monetary incentives also results in achieving goals. A timely and compressive feedback let employees know what they lack or not and let them change strategy. When tasks are difficult and new strategy have to be implemented that people cannot easily cope up with at that stage goals cannot exhibit positive effects. At that stage certain steps can help like training of employees,
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learning goals as targets and other remedy is sub goals settings. Sub goals in addition to long term goals yield better output. Sub goals help people to get timely feedback, react quickly and to work consistently. When achieving goals are hindered by obstacles and constraints like resources at that time leaders help workers to motivate and reach their aims. Now seeing that whether same reasons can be given for jobs where thing are more complex. To that question the article answer with example of Weyerhaeuser where the line managers suggested to lay off engineers and scientist and they were unable to realize that the research department head was also working with the CEO. The head of R&D department tried to figure out the ways to motivate the scientists and engineers. The steps that were taken includes job analysis, secondly a motivational conflict dispute was aroused between the four directors of R&D department. The arguments include that assigned goals should be given, other said that participatory goals are best way, anothers view was that goals are for high performance and engineers and scientist are already high performance oriented, another offered bonus system, public recognition was another suggestion. No one agreed to other point of view. Nine experiments were conducted on all above stated condition and a tenth experiment was conducted on basis of kept in dark. The results were that that were left to perform were not good than dark ones, those who participated performed better than with dictated goals. At the stage where working smartly and knowledge is required participation result in better performance and strategy implementation. The article talks about the factor that when training of a person is done for self-motivation it yields effective output. For example for employees that are absent due to their lacking confidence of self-problems trying help them in overcoming such issues. Also where they have personal problems their own selected reward system helps them to get motivated. Also group discussion boosts confidence. The conclusion to the above discussion is that all techniques have certain pros and cons. People when strive hard to achieve a target may become selfish and do not help others. Compromise on quality when people target for quantity. Conflicts of goals are raised when they are more than one and prioritization is very difficult. Sometimes not learning outcomes are required instead performance is the best choice. And where employees are given difficult goals they cheat to set easy goals when have fear of failure. But if management support them and take it as a positive attribute than innovation, positive and learning aspect than positive and fruitful results are earned.

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