Essays on Effective Application of Goal-Setting Theory Assignment

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The paper 'Effective Application of Goal-Setting Theory' is a perfect example of a Management Assignment. Even in contemporary lifestyles, goal setting has become the singular way in which individuals advance in their careers, in their wealth accumulation, in their family care, and in their personal ventures. But perhaps the most notable area of life in which goals are a pertinent foundation of achievement is in organizations. Formulation and pursuit of goals, both long term and short term, is a proven and effective way of nurturing and maintaining motivation as organizations pursue the desired result such as the generation of revenue, growth of market share, etc (Locke and Latham 2002, 705– 717). As such, the concept of goal formulation and pursuit is a common phenomenon in both human personal life and in a business settings (Locke and Latham 2002, 705– 717).

As shall be elaborated hereunder, the concept of forming and pursuing goals towards the desired objective was conceived as a theoretical consensus by organization theorists at around the 1960s. This theory is today referred to as the goal-setting theory, among the most popular if not the most, pervasive motivation theories of contemporary times.   Goals in this instance refer to a defined objective, the endpoint of an action, aim or target that an individual determines as the sought after accomplishment upon application of effort and time (Locke, Shaw, Saari and Latham, 1981).

Goals are used to provide direction and focus of the effort activity, thus permitting an individual to evaluate his or her performance by comparing the targeted end and the time frame with the efforts being put during the conscious pursuit (Locke and Latham 2002, 705– 717).     This brief essay reviews how this theory has been and can be employed in practical settings.

The essay begins with a brief description of the theory, its history, and development before looking at what current literature postulates on the application of this theory. After this, the paper then critically elaborates on the application dynamics of the goals setting theory, its practicality, use, and limitations of such applications in real-life scenarios. This allows for a valid conclusion to be drawn as the terminal section of the paper.   Goal Setting Literature Review To conceive the origins of the goal-setting theory, it is important to look briefly at the history of motivation theories.

The beginning of the 20th Century saw the emergence of three motivational theories namely, the Drive Theory (holding that people are motivated only by an intrinsic desire to attain their physiological needs like security, food, etc), the Reinforcement Theory (postulating that people are motivated only by having their behaviors reinforced with praise, rewards, etc) and the Subconscious Motives theory (postulating that people are motivated only by their subconscious intentions and desires) (Locke 1968, 157-189).   By the 1960s however, two organization theorists Gary Latham and Edwin Locke began an academic quest to challenge the three theories and in the course of that quest developed the goal-setting motivation theory (Locke 1968, 157-189).

Locke and Latham postulated that employees always act very consciously and purposefully so as to pursue their desired goals. As such, this theory holds people as rational self-determining beings and not as subjects of unconscious and predetermined environment elements (Locke 1982, 512-514). The goal-setting theory saw motivation of employees to result from the self-determination of those employees themselves as active agents (Latham and Locke 2006, 332– 340), able to make autonomous decisions and choices (Locke 1982, 512-514).


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