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Goal setting organization theory

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Classification and Relevance

                Organizations exist within complex environments, they exist for the simple reason that groups of people can accomplish much more than individuals who work alone.  The complexities of collective social mobility and action give rise to the necessity for effective management and leadership.  In order to fully examine this problem, many theories and techniques attempt to narrowly define the need for organizational classification.

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Perspective and metaphor

            Within the article “The Ubiquity of the Technique of Goal Setting in Theories of and Approaches to Employee Motivation” by Edwin A.

Locke, the author presents the importance of goal setting as a motivating and key factor in organizational theory.  The main argument that the offer makes within this article is that goal setting has been recognized, whether explicitly or implicitly as a key component of work motivation.  The unanimous support of goal setting within theories of work motivation and organization stems from a general recognition that rational human action is goal directed.

  The author attempts to argue within his article that while goal setting has been rejected by major work motivation theories in the past, its implicit importance has forced these schools of thought to change their opinions about the importance of goal setting.  The three theories that Locke emphasizes are the Scientific Management and of Management of Objectives, the Human Relations and Expectancy theory, and the Cognitive Growth and Organizational Behavior Modification theory.  This article can be classified within the perspective of the Scientific Management and Management by Objectives theory.  Its identification with the outward need for goal setting is paralleled within the Scientific Management system that is advocated by its early founder, Frederick W. Taylor.  Although the Scientific Management theory interprets goal setting as the formation of “tasks” that the worker must complete linearly, its still an explicit support of the concept of goal setting.  By arguing that goal setting is one of the major components of worker motivation theory, Locke’s predictive theory can be labeled as an affirmation of Taylor’s Scientific Management theory of worker motivation.

Summary and Areas of Importance
The emphasis within this article on the importance of goal setting within organizational theory is interesting since it takes a relevant look at the nature of goal setting and the concept of purposeful work.  The author argues that goal setting takes place within the workplace consistently, and that most employees behave in such a way that they are consciously goal directed because their actions are purposeful.  Lock argues his point through a review of three different schools of worker motivation, with each inevitably confirming the importance of goal setting within the context of motivation.  The argument that Locke presents is important, because the assumption made within many primary theories argue that social impetus and the desire to belong are strong enough motivating tools to blunt the necessity of “task and reward” methods of motivation.  Through a thorough analysis of the extent of these three theories, Locke shows that despite many attempts at minimizing the importance of goal setting within the motivation framework, it is ultimately still the catalyst for action.  This is because of his basic assumption that goal setting is instinct driven through rational human action.
The most interesting aspect of Locke’s analysis is in his systemic breakdown of existing theories of worker motivation.  He shows that the classical model presented in the Scientific Management and Management of Objectives theory has consistently defined the importance of goal setting within the framework of motivation.  The author notes that goal setting is intrinsically linked to the “task and reward” methodology that most employers use to motivate employees into a conscious goal setting and accomplishment mindset.  By noting the importance of goal setting as a fundamental aspect of motivation, the author creates the argument that goal setting is an implicit human desire based on our rational system of action, rather than acquired through social interaction.  Therefore, it takes a predominant position within motivation theory because it lays at the foundation of how humans think about task accomplishment.

Necessity of the Author’s Theory
The reason the author believes this article is necessary, is to highlight the changes made within motivation theory over the past century through the shifting emphasis on goal setting.  Locke explains that while the VIE theory and the Cognitive Growth and Organizational Behavior Modification theory had denied the primary importance of goal setting, it inevitably had to conclude, whether explicitly or implicitly, the importance of goal setting in human motivation.  This results from the inability of these theories to explain human tendencies to gain motivation from the formation of goals.  Although both theories have argued that social, rather than personal desires for success are the catalyst for motivation within the workplace, strong evidence to the contrary has modified their theories.  Contemporary research shows that the motivational effects of participation itself, may be due partly to the association with goal setting since participation often has no effect on the performance when goal setting.  By highlighting the implicit recognition of goal setting as a prominent explanation for motivational organization, the author refocuses modern debates on motivational theory on the importance of goal setting rather than social factors.

            In the context of worker motivation, I believe that the author is right in assuming the intrinsic nature of goal setting within motivational theory.  It is intuitive to argue that goal setting allows a greater mobility of organization, since it allows a clear vision into actions taken.  This implies that goal setting allows for a linear strategy for organization, by allowing an individual to define their strategy through the completing of goals rather than the approval of coworkers or the confidences of their employer.  By asserting that goal setting is the major catalyst for achievement, Locke asserts that there are personal motivations for achievement that does not correspond with the group success mentality.  Goal setting within the workplace is evident in a practical sense as well as theoretical.  The modern management system of “pay or performance” is a good example of the use of goal setting with worker motivation.  This system of management rewards employees who meet assigned goals consistently with monetary rewards in order to encourage the completion of assigned goals.  Recognition within the modern work force of the importance of goal setting in the overall productivity of employees is an active example of how Locke’s research has a crucial impact on the work environment.  By encouraging employers to be goal conscious, it allows motivational tactics and techniques to be geared towards the assigning and completion of goals.  The author argues that many people have surprised at the east with employers have been able to get employees to accept assigned goals without incentives or rewards.  This again shows that there is a natural human inclination in goal creation, and the compulsion to organize linearly through goal accomplishment.

Theoretical Integrity

            The Theoretical model that Locke employs within this article is a dissection of the importance of goal setting in relations to the modern theories of worker motivation.  His basic premise is that the goal setting, rather than an acquired social technique as argued in classic theories of worker motivation, is individually driven rather than socially driven.  Therefore, goal oriented organization is rationally intuitive within human action rather than acquired.  In structuring his theory, Locke examines the casual relationships within three classic models of worker motivation, and their perspective on goal setting.  His analysis concludes that many theories of goal setting argue for the actualization of growth within the workplace.  The human instinct and psychological desire for growth implies that the best mechanism for the realization of growth is through work.   However, even in his structural critique, Locke challenges the concept of social catalysts for work accomplishment by arguing that even the fear of communal reprisal as motivation for excelling within the workplace is goal driven.  Therefore, Locke’s theory of goal setting is inescapable because it ties into the intuitive nature of human conflict resolution and internal motivation.
Although Locke’s argument makes a logical leap in asserting that humans action is rationally dictated by the desire to create goals, his overall theoretical approach to goal setting is extremely compelling.  This may be a result of my internal understanding of goal setting as a necessary trend for accomplishment within the workplace.  However, even if goal setting is not intrinsically linked by human rationale, it can be argued that within the current social framework, goal setting has become an independent force within worker motivation.  Modern businesses recognize that goal driven management is most affective because it allows for the best analytical method for delineating worker accomplishment.  By creating a scale of worker productivity center around the concept of goal accomplishment, it forces, willingly or unwillingly, the concept of goal setting onto modern working employees.  Therefore, Locke’s theory cannot in actuality be gauged by his acknowledged method of analyzing the modern workplace, because of the social recognition of goal setting.  Situations arise for instance, where goal setting and accomplishment cannot explain all aspects of worker motivation.  Nonprofit work is a common example that works outside of the model for goal setting, since it appears to lack the definitive “task and reward” that becomes necessary within the goal setting model.  Nonprofit work appears to be driven by social compulsions of good will, community love, and other factors that are disassociated with individual achievement.  Despite these problems with Locke’s theory, his argument and accurate analysis of the imbedded internal instinct of goal creation even within opposing theories of worker motivation is highly compelling.

Compare and Contrast

            Locke’s theoretical model conflicts with many current theories of organization because it implicitly assumes that human rationale demands a linear strategy to goal accomplishment.  Organizational theories such as the Chaos theory argue firmly against this linear assumption because of the external influences on individual organization as a result of social pressure and beliefs.  The chaos theory of organization argues that factors that are unplanned and incongruous with existing plans influence the organizational pattern, therefore linear strategy intrinsically cannot work because of its inability to account for non linear interference.  Linear strategies for goal accomplishment demand a step by step operating procedure, rather than accomplishment through different and often hectic techniques.  Therefore, goal driven motivation is much less socially oriented than other theories of motivation.  As a result it does not coincide with theories of organization that demands more indirect distinctions of goal accomplishment.

Morgan, Gareth. Creative Organization Theory: A Resourcebook. Seattle: Sage

     Publications Inc, 1999.

Pfeffer, Jeffrey. New Directions for Organization Theory: Persistent Problems

     and the Future of the Field. Oxford: Oxford University Press US, 1997.

Peterson, Randall S. Leading and Managing People in the Dynamic Organization.

     Boston: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003.

Locke, Edwin A. “The Ubiquity of the Technique of Goal Setting in Theories of
and Approaches to Employee Motivation.” Academy of Management Review (July
1978): 595-601. CD-ROM.

Cite this Goal setting organization theory

Goal setting organization theory. (2017, Jan 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/goal-setting-organization-theory/

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