An Examination of the Relative Impact of Normative Information and Self-Efficacy on Personal Goals and Performance Over Time1


  • 1

    We thank two anonymous reviewers for their many helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to John Mathieu, Department of Psychology, 437 Moore Building, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.


A model of goal-setting processes was developed that depicted the influence of previous performance, normative information, and self-efficacy on personal goals and performance. Three levels of normative information were manipulated in a counter-balanced fashion across two trials. Norms were hypothesized to have a greater influence than self-efficacy on personal goals for the first trial, whereas efficacy was hypothesized to have a stronger influence than norms on Trial 2 goals. A sample of 135 undergraduates completed a practice and two performance trials of a word game, and the results were analyzed using LISREL structural modeling techniques. Although the general hypothesized model fit fairly well, the specific results concerning the relative impact of norms and self-efficacy were opposite of the expected direction. Potential explanations for these results, and recommendations for future research are offered.