Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Horvath, Michael

Subject Headings

Autonomy (Psychology), Interest (Psychology), Goal (Psychology), Performance -- Psychological aspects, task autonomy, task interest, goal setting, performance

Abstract

Task autonomy and task interest have been studied in the organizational literature as main effects, demonstrating positive effects on productive work behavior and goal-setting behavior. Providing high task autonomy or an interesting task may stimulate goal setting, but the interaction of these two variables may significantly increase goal level and consequently task performance. Yet, little research has examined this interaction on individuals' goal-setting behavior, when given the opportunity to self-set goals. The purpose of this research is to discover whether the effects of task autonomy on self-set goals are stronger for tasks that are more interesting. Furthermore, I assessed the relationship between goal difficulty and task performance to determine whether goal difficulty mediates the relationship between the interaction and performance. In this study, I created four separate conditions by verbally manipulating task autonomy (high, low) and task interest (interesting, uninteresting). Participants were asked to complete an assembly-type task and set a goal based on how many objects they felt they could construct in 20 minutes. Following the experiment, participants completed a six-item task questionnaire and I assessed their quantitative and qualitative performance on the task. Results contribute to the motivational and organizational literature, and the understanding of worker productivity

Included in

Psychology Commons

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