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In the late 1960s, Edwin Locke proposed that intentions to work toward a goal are a major source of work motivation. Goals tell an employee what needs to be done and how much effort is needed. Evidence strongly suggests that specific goals increase performance, that difficult goals, when accepted, result in higher performance than do easy goals; and that feedback leads to higher performance than does nonfeedback. Specific hard goals produce a higher level of output than do the generalized goals. If factors like ability and acceptance of the goals are held constant, we can also state that the more difficult the goal, the higher the level of performance.

Why are people motivated by difficult goals? Challenging goals get our attention and thus tend to help us focus. Difficult goals energize us because we have to work harder to attain them. When goals are difficult, people persist in trying to attain them. Difficult goals lead us to discover strategies that help us perform the job or task more effectively. People will do better when they get feedback on how well they are progressing toward their goals. Self-generated feedback is more powerful a motivator than externally generated feedback. The evidence is mixed regarding the superiority of participative over assigned goals. If employees have the opportunity to participate in the setting of their own goals, will they try harder? A major advantage of participation may be in increasing acceptance. If people participate in goal setting, they are more likely to accept even a difficult goal than if they are arbitrarily assigned it by their boss. Evidence strongly suggests that specific goals increase performance, that difficult goals, when accepted, result in higher performance than do easy goals; and that feedback leads to higher performance than does nonfeedback. If participation isn't used, then the individual assigning the goal needs to clearly explain its purpose and importance.
First, training programs often make use of enactive mastery by having people practice and build their skills. In fact, one reason training works is that it increases self-efficacy. Individuals with higher levels of self-efficacy also appear to reap more benefits from training programs and are more likely to use their training on the job. The best way for a manager to use verbal persuasion is through the Pygmalion effect or the Galatea effect.

As discussed in Chapter 5, the Pygmalion effect is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy in which believing something can make it true. In some studies, teachers were told their students had very high IQ scores when in fact they spanned a range from high to low. Consistent with the Pygmalion effect, the teachers spent more time with the students they thought were smart, gave them more challenging assignments, and expected more of them—all of which led to higher student self-efficacy and better grades. This strategy also has been used in the workplace. Sailors who were told convincingly that they would not get seasick were in fact much less likely to do so. Intelligence and personality are absent from Bandura's list, but they can increase self-efficacy. People who are intelligent, conscientiousness, and emotionally stable are so much more likely to have high self-efficacy that some researchers argue self-efficacy is less important than prior research would suggest. They believe it is partially a by-product in a smart person with a confident personality. Although Bandura strongly disagrees with this conclusion, more research is needed.
What role does equity play in motivation? An employee with several years experience can be frustrated to find out that a recent college grad hired at a salary level higher than he or she is currently earning, causing motivation levels to drop. Why? Employees make comparisons of their job inputs and outcomes relative to those of others. See Exhibit 7-6. If we perceive our ratio to be equal to that of the relevant others with whom we compare ourselves, a state of equity is said to exist. We perceive our situation as fair. When we see the ratio as unequal, we experience equity tension. Additionally, the referent that an employee selects adds to the complexity of equity theory. There are four referent comparisons that an employee can use. First is Self-inside, which is based on an employee's experiences in a different position inside his or her current organization. Second is Self-outside, which is based on an employee's experiences in a situation or position outside his or her current organization. Third is Other-inside where another individual or group of individuals inside the employee's organization Is the basis of comparison. Other-outside: Another individual or group of individuals outside the employee's organization work and the amount of effort you allocate to each task are affected by the consequences that follow. If you're consistently reprimanded for out producing your colleagues, you'll likely reduce your productivity. But we might also explain your lower productivity in terms of goals, inequity, or expectancies.
But organizational justice draws a bigger picture. Exhibit 7-7 shows a model of organizational justice. Employees perceive their organizations as just when they believe rewards and the way they are distributed are fair. In general, people see allocations or procedure favoring themselves as fair. Few people really make mathematical calculations of their inputs relative to the outcomes of others. They base distributive judgments on a feeling or an emotional reaction to how they think they are treated relative to others, and their reactions are often emotional as well. Our discussion has also focused on reactions to personal mistreatment. People react emotionally to injustices committed against others, prompting them to take retributive actions. The other key element of organizational justice is the view that justice is multidimensional. How much we get paid relative to what we think we should be paid (distributive justice) is obviously important. But, according to researchers, how we get paid is just as important. Thus the model of organizational justice includes procedural justice—the perceived fairness used to determine the distribution of rewards. Two key elements of procedural justice are process control and explanations. Process control is the opportunity to present your point of view about desired outcomes to decision makers. Explanations are clear reasons management gives for the outcome. Thus, for employees to see a process as fair, they need to feel they have some control over the outcome and that they were given an adequate explanation about why the outcome occurred. It's also important that a manager is consistent (across people and over time), is unbiased, makes decisions based on information, and is open to appeals. The effects of procedural justice become more important when distributive justice is lacking. If we don't get what we want, we tend to focus on why. If your supervisor gives a cushy office to a co-worker instead of to you, you're much more focused on your supervisor's treatment of you than if you had gotten the office. Explanations are beneficial when they take the form of post hoc excuses ("I know this is bad, and I wanted to give you the office, but it wasn't my decision") rather than justifications ("I decided to give the office to Sam, but having it isn't a big deal."). Interactional justice describes an individual's perception of the degree to which she is treated with dignity, concern, and respect. When people are treated in an unjust manner (at least in their own eyes), they retaliate (for example, badmouthing a supervisor). Because people intimately connect interactional justice or injustice to the conveyer of the information, we would expect perceptions of injustice to be more closely related to the supervisor. Of these three forms of justice, Distributive justice is most strongly related to organizational commitment and satisfaction with outcomes such as pay. Procedural justice relates most strongly to job satisfaction, employee trust, withdrawal from the organization, job performance, and citizenship behaviors. There is less evidence about interactional justice.
Here, we review the most established to determine their relevance in explaining turnover, productivity, and other outcomes, and assess the predictive power of each. We looked at Need Theories such as Maslow's hierarchy, McClelland's needs, and the two-factor theory focus on needs. None has found widespread support, although McClelland's is the strongest, particularly regarding the relationship between achievement and productivity. In general, need theories are not very valid explanations of motivation. We focused on Self-Determination Theory and Cognitive Evaluation Theory. As research on the motivational effects of rewards has accumulated, it increasingly appears extrinsic rewards can undermine motivation if they are seen as coercive. They can increase motivation if they provide information about competence and relatedness. We looked at Goal-Setting Theory. Clear and difficult goals lead to higher levels of employee productivity, supporting goal-setting theory's explanation of this dependent variable. The theory does not address absenteeism, turnover, or satisfaction, however. Reinforcement Theory was next one the list. This theory has an impressive record for predicting quality and quantity of work, persistence of effort, absenteeism, tardiness, and accident rates. It does not offer much insight into employee satisfaction or the decision to quit. We went over Equity Theory/Organizational Justice. Equity theory deals with productivity, satisfaction, absence, and turnover variables. However, its strongest legacy is that it provided the spark for research on organizational justice, which has more support in the literature. And we closed with Expectancy Theory. Expectancy theory offers a powerful explanation of performance variables such as employee productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. But it assumes employees have few constraints on decision-making, such as bias or incomplete information, and this limits its applicability. Expectancy theory has some validity because for many behaviors people consider expected outcomes.