Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Wayne Harrison

Second Advisor

James Thomas

Third Advisor

C. Raymond Millimet


The role of goal acceptance in goal setting theory was investigated through the application of Reiman's theory of social influence and multilevel models of goal acceptance. Subjects were 144 undergraduate students. A 2X2X2 factorial design was employed. The three factors were: (a) antecedents of compliance (reward versus no reward), (b) antecedents of internalization (high value relevance versus low value relevance), and (c) goal specificity (specified goals versus non-specified goals). Three measures of goal acceptance were differentially affected by the manipulations: (a) A measure of intention to complete was uniformly high and not affected by the manipulations. (b) Perceived effort toward the goal was affected by both the specificity and internalization manipulations. Specified goal and value relevance conditions showed greater perceived effort. (c) Goal specificity and compliance manipulations interacted on an item measuring goal ownership. Error rate was not found to be affected by the manipulations. Specified goals resulted in higher performance and greater task interest than non-specified goals. Limited support was found for a multilevel view of goal acceptance.


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.

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