Thanks demonstrated by a review of laboratory and filed

Thanks
to two different experiments of (Mento,
Cartledge & Locke, 1980), we know that task difficulty is positively
and linearly related to effort and performance. However, the topic has been
further developed with the addings of Erez and Zidon (1984), that, by focusing
on goal acceptance, found that the relationship, when acceptance is low, is
linear ad negatively related. Accepted goals become self-set goals and goal
acceptance is defined as negatively related to task difficulty. In this way, it
is clear that a difficult goal can boost performance, while a too difficult (or
too easy, so not engaging) cannot.

 

1.1.1.     
Specific
vs general goals

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Contrary
to widespread belief that “do your best” is an effective way of improving
performance, it is demonstrated by a review of laboratory and filed studies
(Locke, Shaw, Saari & Latham, 1981) that specific hard goals are the best
to improve performance. When people are asked, or set for themselves to do
their best, they simply not do it. The definition is too broad and allows for
various levels of performance. Thanks to goal specificity is possible to reduce
the definition of a satisfactory level of performance, or variability, because
the ambiguity is less (Locke, Chah, Harrison & Lustgarten, 1989). One
interesting experiment, by LaPorte and Nath (1976), shows how this is
demonstrated in a reading followed by a test. In the experiment condition,
participants were randomly assigned to the different treatments, high goal,
easy goal or the general goal (i.e. “do your best”). The hard goals were to
answer correctly 18/20 questions, while the easy 5/20. Participants were also
asked to rate their estimations of score. The conditions were six in total,
because two different paces were selected: the first in which participants
could dedicate all the time they desired or see fit reading the text, while the
second was a fixed amount of time. The results confirm that hard goals
consistently lead to better performance that easy or “do your best” goals.