Dr Erika’s Eruditions #3 – Goal Setting Gone Wild

What do you think: Should you set goals? Or not?

Goal setting is generally assumed to be a good thing. However, it can also cause problems.
It can:
– Reduce learning
– Reduce co-operation. Increase competition.
– Make people feel not effective; and therefore less engaged.
– Reduce doing something for the sake of doing it. Reduce intrinsic goals. Increase extrinsic goals.

It turns out that mostly people need less extrinsic motivation than we think.

You might want to have:
– Learning goals, rather then performance goals

In companies, additionally, goals can cause these problems:
– Increase unethical behavior.
– Increase risk taking too much.
– “By setting goals, managers may create a hedonic treadmill in which employees are
motivated by external means (goals, rewards, etc.) and not by the intrinsic value of the job itself.”
(Deci, 1971, 1975; emphasis mine).