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Goal setting and worker motivation

Author

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  • Sebastian J. Goerg

    (Florida State University, USA, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Germany)

Abstract

Employers want motivated and productive employees. Are there ways to increase employee motivation without relying solely on monetary incentives, such as pay-for-performance schemes? One tool that has shown promise in recent decades for improving worker performance is setting goals, whether they are assigned by management or self-chosen. Goals are powerful motivators for workers, with the potential for boosting productivity in an organization. However, if not chosen carefully or if used in unsuitable situations, goals can have undesired and harmful consequences. Goals are a powerful tool that needs to be applied with caution.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian J. Goerg, 2015. "Goal setting and worker motivation," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 178-178, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izawol:journl:y:2015:n:178
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-636, May.
    2. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    3. Sebastian Goerg & Sebastian Kube, 2012. "Goals (th)at Work – Goals, Monetary Incentives, and Workers’ Performance," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_19, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    4. Alexander K. Koch & Julia Nafziger, 2011. "Self‐regulation through Goal Setting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(1), pages 212-227, March.
    5. Armin Falk & Markus Knell, 2004. "Choosing the Joneses: Endogenous Goals and Reference Standards," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 417-435, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    goals; effort; performance; non-monetary incentives;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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