Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation

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Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation


Managerial issues are at the core of any business enterprise. This explains why most experts in related disciplines attempt to relate such matters to individual and organizational performance through various theories and principles. One such theoretical perspective that is effective in highlighting the essence of proper management in the business platform is goal setting. It is one of the philosophical frameworks of motivation in the organizational setting. It involves the establishment of various levels of individual and organizational performance with the main aim of acquiring desirable results that are in line with the elements of customer satisfaction and increased returns. As a motivational theory, it enables individuals and teams to modify their strategies and practices with the main aim of improving their performance. A case study of Douglass Café highlights this correlation, which forms the basis of increased productivity and returns as well as the attainment of customer satisfaction in a typical organizational setting. This eatery is situated at the Student Center in Douglas Campus, Rutgers University. This cafeteria offers a variety of products, which are suitable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Despite being a well-established café in this region, certain modifications in the human resource department will be effective in improving the performance of the employees. Motivation of the human resources in this enterprise through the goal setting theory will be beneficial in terms of customer satisfaction and increased returns.

Goal-Setting Mechanisms

There are various mechanisms associated with goal setting as a motivation theory in the organizational setting (Jarecki, 2005). These mechanisms affect the behavior of an individual or team since it is a crucial step in the passage of employee motivation with reference to increased enthusiasm, enhanced persistency, and improved strategies of attaining the preset objectives. One of the mechanisms embedded in the goal setting theory entails directing attention of the employees towards the attainment of desirable outcomes within a specified timeframe. As one of the vital components of this theoretical perspective, setting clear goals will aid the management of Douglass Café in directing the attention of its human resources to the acquisition of behaviors that are useful in accomplishing personal and organizational objectives. In addition, the energizing mechanism will inspire the human resources of this eatery to increase their efforts in executing activities effectively depending on the involved complexities. This relates to the mechanisms of persistence, which will aid the human resources of this cafeteria to spend quality time in improving their skills and competence in different sections. Similarly, the creation of effective strategies is a vital element that will encourage workers to formulate practical and suitable techniques aimed at attaining the preset objectives at an individual, team, and organizational level.

Goal-Setting Conditions

By using motivation as the main approach of improving all sections of Douglass Café, the offered products and services will meet the standards of the enterprise in addition to the attainment of increased proceeds due to a higher percentage of patrons. However, four key conditions are crucial in formulating goals that will invoke high levels of motivation through the discussed mechanisms. This includes goal commitment, goal difficulty, goal specificity, and response on growth towards the objectives. With reference to goal commitment, the human resources ought to accept the set objectives in order to benefit from the motivational element. This level of determination differs among the workers and has a dire connection with one’s performance. Personalizing the essence of the goal and enhancing the level of self-efficacy are chief aspects that aid in acquiring the benefits of goal commitment.

Goal specificity is also a key condition that will aid in acquiring the benefits of motivation through the principles of the goal-setting theory. Evaluating the means of attaining the preset objectives as well as other crucial details will aid in measuring the progress of one’s activities in fulfilling the goals. While considering this condition, the workers should ensure that the formulated strategies and goals are concrete, achievable, and challenging. This will propel the employees to increase their efforts in order to meet their targets. Similar to the element of goal commitment, understanding the importance of the objective and personalizing this importance is useful in completing complex tasks effectively. Nonetheless, this depends on the intellectual level of the individual and the relevance of his or her skills in undertaking such tasks.

Similarly, it is important for the human resources to formulate and implement strategies that meet the condition of goal difficulty. A significant level of complexities in the process of goal attainment will aid in increasing the energy of the employees in meeting the formulated objectives. However, these challenging goals should be attainable by use of the available resources and the skills of the workers under consideration. This is because setting goals that are too difficult to attain through the available human and monetary resources will jeopardize the inspiration and commitment of the workers. In addition, it may lead to undesirable traits and cultures including corruption, lack of integrity, and ineffective execution of the official duties assigned to the workers.

Figure 1: This graph indicates the relationship between performance and goal difficulty as one of the conditions in the goal-setting theory.


For the management of Douglass Café to benefit from the concepts of the goal-setting theory of motivation in terms of customer satisfaction and increased productivity, certain basics procedures will aid in inspiring the workers to improve their performance in line with the preset objectives. To begin with, it is vital to list all the available resources within the café and employing a manager whose mandate is to supervise the formulation, implementation, and progress of the workers’ goals. Other useful tactics in simplifying the objectives include breaking down the goals and setting a timeframe for the completion of each task. In line with the discussed conditions and mechanisms, constant supervision will be useful in understanding the progress of these targets and the required modifications. The 360 coaching technique will also aid the management of this cafeteria in training the human resources on the crucial components of the goal-setting theory and other relevant aspects of motivation.


In conclusion, the goal-setting theory encompasses all crucial elements of motivation in the organizational setting. These mechanisms and conditions are applicable in motivating the human resources of Douglass Café. This is because of the correlation between motivation and productivity of the human resources in any organizational setting. Based on the discussed components, it is important to engage the workers in the formulation and implementation of the strategies in order to acquire desirable results that exemplify improved performance at the individual, team, and organizational levels. This will aid in maximizing the benefits of the goal-setting theory.

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