Goal Orientation and Feedback Congruence: Effects on Discretionary Effort and Achievement


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kimberly K. Merriman, Manning School of Business, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854, USA. E-mail: kkm@kkmerriman.com


This study examines the differential effects of outcome feedback for achievement goal orientations' relationship with effort and achievement. In support of our predictions, learning goal orientation had a positive relationship with task achievement in the absence of outcome feedback and a negative relationship in its presence, while performance goal orientation maintained a positive relationship with achievement regardless of whether outcome feedback was provided. We attribute this to a decrease in task interest when initial task purpose, as determined by personal goal orientation, is incongruent with the subsequent task cues provided by outcome feedback. Predictions regarding task effort and combined goal orientation effects were not supported. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.