Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Previous research investigated the effect of goal setting on supervisors' evaluations of employee performance and the causes attributed to that performance. The results demonstrated that attributions for performance were more a ffected by success versus failure in the assigned than in the participative or self-set condition . It was hypothesized that a possible exception to this relationship might occur when the goal was not accepted by the employee. This 3 x 2 x 2 factorial design investigated the impact of goal acceptance on ratings of task performance and attributions concerning that performance. The overriding determinant of attributions regarding the employee was whether or not the goal was met. For instance, whether the employee succeeded appeared to be the overriding determinant in perception of goal commitment, luck, ability , goal difficulty , and effort in both the accept and reject conditions. In addition, the accept/reject manipulation revealed some other important implications for supervisory performance appraisals and causal attribution ratings . When the employee failed in meeting the goal, supervisors (subjects) rated the employee who accepted the goal as performing better than the employee who failed but rejected the goal.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1985, Janet J. Car.