Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Carl I. Greenberg
James M. Thomas
Undergraduate psychology students (N = 60) were randomly assigned to do-your-best, assigned, or participative goal-setting conditions. The sample was split at the mean on the basis of scores received on a clerical test, resulting in low- and high-ability groups. Specific Goals led to higher performance than did the do-your-best goals. With task ability and goal difficulty held, constant, there was no significant difference between the assigned and participative conditions on goal attainment, goal acceptance, or performance.
When the groups were split on ability, only the low ability group performed significantly better than the do-your-best group. Two reasons are suggested to explain this difference. First, low-ability subjects may have "recognized an opportunity to improve' performance over trials, and set or were, assigned higher goals relative to high-ability subjects. Second, low-ability subjects accepted their performance goals to a greater extent than did the subjects in the high ability group.
Cash, Melvin G., "Effects of Participation in Goal Setting When Task Ability and Goal Difficulty are Held Constant" (1980). Student Work. 225.