Leadership Studies Essay Summary on Goal Setting Theory

Goal Setting Theory

The goal setting theory is built around the setting of objectives at an individual and collective level. The presence of general objectives enables people to work towards the achievement of their goals. The presence of goals within the subconscious is an important part of goal achievement. Prominent individuals can program and reprogram their subconscious making it possible to achieve intentional thought. In setting objectives, it is clear that specific objectives are achievable and drive greater performance than general objectives. There should not be clashing of objectives at the goal setting level and the individuals who set the goals should be focused on achieving them in order to experience success. The achievement of each objective should then be celebrated as important milestones in the goal achievement process (Locke and Gary, 2006). Hard objectives often lead to greater execution push compared to other objectives as they show discontent with the current conditions and the strife towards achievement of something bigger.

The high and hard objectives push one to accomplish more than simple objectives. Sentimental principles are the key arbitrators to the goal setting process. Work overload, which is indicated by the presence of many goals without the necessary push to accomplish any of the assignments, can result in the inability to accomplish any of the objectives set. Objectives can only be successful if they have distinct sources. While other objectives may be set by others, they could also be set through cooperation with those involved as well as individually towards the accomplishment of individual objectives. The achievement of any of the objectives is dependent on individual adequacy. The objectives can be set for a season or as follow up to rivalry. In both cases, the achievement of the objectives makes an essential impact on the goal setting process. In some cases, individuals opt to undertake objective introduction while others take the executive objective introduction stance in goal setting. The difference between the two is that the second stance is taken by those averse to risks, who prefer objectives that will not make them be judged by others (Seijts et al., 2004).

Goal attainment is inseparable from attaining victory. This is because many people struggle with attaining their objectives. The prosperity rate can thus be enhanced through a framework developed for achievement of set goals. The principles in this framework include the development of an uplifting mind that can help ne move towards the goal; setting appropriate long term goals; aligning the objectives to the goals to be achieved since goals and objectives should not clash; making timely objectives; ensuring that focus is maintained on only one objective at a time; committing to victory and not providing alternative options for oneself; using Allen’s getting things done theory; consistently working on the objectives; setting the objectives openly; helping others; monitoring the progress daily and celebrating milestones in the process.

The goal setting process has many impediments. The first is the clash of objectives particularly in an organizational set up where individual and organizational goals may clash. When the individual objectives are not aligned to the organizational objectives, achievement of any of the goals may be difficult. While the pros for goal setting are clearly outlined, there have been hypotheses that goal setting has the potential of leading to dishonest conduct where individuals fail to achieve the set goals. There are also claims that goal setting can result in people focusing on the conclusion rather than on the process of getting there (Schweitzer et al., 2004).




Locke, E. & Gary L. (2006), New Directions in Goal-Setting Theory. Association for Psychological Science 15 (5): 265–268

Schweitzer, M., Ordóñez, L., & Douma, B. (2004), Goal setting as a motivator of unethical behavior, Academy of Management Journal (Academy of Management) 47 (3): 422–432

Seijts, G.H., Latham, G.P., Tasa, K., & Latham, B.W. (2004). Goal setting and goal orientation: An integration of two different yet related literatures. Academy of Management Journal, 47, 227–239.


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