An Experimental Inquiry about the Additive Effects of Assigned and Primed Goals and Their Interaction with Performance Feedback

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Yüce-Selvi Ü., Sümer H. C.



Goal setting and performance feedback are two important tools used to improve organizational effectiveness. The roles of these two variables in improving job/task performance have been investigated by numerous studies; however, there are still questions that need to be answered. The current study aims to investigate the effects of goal setting and performance feedback on a creativity task. The study hypotheses were tested using a 4 (assigned goal, primed goal, a combination of assigned and primed goals, and no goal) X 2 (performance feedback and no performance feedback) experimental design. The primed goal was manipulated with achievement suggesting photos. Task performance was measured twice, following Trial 1 and Trial 2. The difference between Trial 1 and Trial 2 performance scores was used as the dependent variable. The participants were 294 undergraduate students. The results showed significant goal setting and performance feedback main effects and a marginally significant interaction effect. The assigned goal and performance feedback improved performance more than did no goal and no-feedback conditions, respectively. However, the performance-enhancing effects of primed goals and the combination of assigned and primed goals were not more than simple practice effects. Regarding the marginally significant interaction, findings indicated that performance feedback is critical only when there is no goal in the system. The results did not support our expectation that using goal and performance feedback together would lead to the highest performance improvement. Consequently, this study is believed to have important implications as it yielded counterevidence concerning the expected effect of primed goals, additive effects of primed goals over assigned goals and complementary effects of goals and performance feedback in improving performance.