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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2013 Feb;104(2):236-48. doi: 10.1037/a0031039. Epub 2012 Dec 31.

All roads lead to Rome: the impact of multiple attainment means on motivation.

Author information

1
McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78702, USA. szu-chi.huang@phd.mccombs.utexas.edu

Abstract

Individuals have different concerns before and after they become relatively certain about a goal's attainability; hence, we propose that the presence of alternative means of goal attainment will have a distinctive impact on motivation, depending on their stage of goal pursuit. In the initial stage of goal pursuit, people are concerned about whether the goal is attainable. The presence of multiple attainment means (vs. a single means) makes the goal seem more easily attainable and thus leads to greater motivation. Conversely, when people have made substantial progress on the goal and its attainment is relatively secured, they focus more on how they can race to the end and complete the pursuit. At these times, a single means (vs. multiple means) provides a more straightforward action plan and in turn leads to greater motivation. Two field studies and 3 lab experiments support this theorizing.

PMID:
23276274
DOI:
10.1037/a0031039
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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