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J Appl Psychol. 2005 Nov;90(6):1096-127.

A motivated action theory account of goal orientation.

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Department of Psychology, 306 Psychology Building, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1116, USA.


Rapid organizational change is increasing the pressure on employees to continually update their skills and adapt their behavior to new organizational realities. Goal orientation is a promising motivational construct that may explain why some individuals adapt to change better. Unfortunately, the current goal orientation literature is in a state of conceptual and methodological disarray. This presentation reviews the goal orientation literature and identifies numerous conceptual ambiguities, including definitional inconsistencies, dimensional inconsistencies, and inconsistencies in the conceptualization of stability. These conceptual ambiguities result in a confusing array of goal orientation measures and manipulations and ultimately an incoherent empirical database. A dynamic self-regulation model of goal orientation, termed motivated action theory, is presented to integrate the various conceptual perspectives and to provide guidelines for future goal orientation research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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