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Goal Setting in the Australian Public Service: Effects on Psychological Empowerment and Organizational Citizenship Behavior


  • Jeannette Taylor is professor in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia. Her research interests include public service motivation, performance management, and information use for decision making. E-mail:


Do specific and difficult job goals have a positive, negative, or negligible effect on higher levels of performance in the form of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) among government employees? Importantly, how do they influence OCB: directly and/or indirectly through psychological empowerment? This article on a small group of Australian federal government employees draws from the goal-setting and self-determination theories to provide a better understanding of how goal setting affects OCB. Findings show that goal specificity largely influenced OCB indirectly through psychological empowerment. In contrast, goal difficulty raised OCB directly and through the partial mediating effect of psychological empowerment.