Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Repeated Success and Failure Influences on Self-Efficacy and Personal Goals

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Repeated Success and Failure Influences on Self-Efficacy and Personal Goals

Article excerpt

Research shows that challenging and specific goals in conjunction with high self-efficacy lead to higher levels of task performance. The impact of repeated success and failure on personal goals and self-efficacy was examined. Undergraduate students initially participated in two-idea generation tasks in which they generated different uses for common objects, such as a knife, which provided them with opportunities to either succeed or fail in goal attainment. Participants then set personal goals and judged their self-efficacy for a subsequent idea generation trial. Our results show that participants who experienced repeated successes set higher personal goals than did those with only a single success, while self-efficacy was not significantly influenced by repeated success or failure. These findings suggest that situational and personal factors such as reactions to prior successes and failures may influence personal goals on future tasks, but do not seem to have an influence on self-efficacy.

After completing tasks such as athletic events, academic tests, or games, many people evaluate their performances against a personal goal they had previously set for their performance (Locke & Latham, 199Ob). Some people enter these task situations with judgments about how well they will be able to perform and the degree to which their skills are sufficient to reach their desired outcomes. These people will be inclined to label their performance as successes or failures by comparing them to their desired performance levels. These successes and failures may impact the task performer's perceived competence on similar future tasks and may also alter the personal goals that he/she sets for himself/herself before taking on these various challenges. Our research explores the influence of repeated success and failure of goal attainment on personal goals and selfefficacy.

Many internal and external processes have been found to affect task performance in the workplace, at school, and in everyday activities. Locke and Latham (1990a) attempt to explain task performance as primarily a function of two interrelated factors: personal goals and self-efficacy. The setting of goals influences task performance if certain situational criteria are met. Goals that are specific and challenging contribute to higher levels of task performance if the goal can be attained and if the task performer is committed to achieving the goal (Locke & Latham, 2002). Self-efficacy, or people's beliefs about their ability to perform the necessary actions for a specific task, has also been found to directly influence task performance (Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998). Bandura (1982) found that reports of higher self-efficacy led to higher task performance outcomes. Research shows that a person's level of self-efficacy may influence how persistent he or she is and the amount of effort he/she is willing to invest in a task, in which case feelings of higher self-efficacy may lead to greater task performance (Eccles & Wigfield, 2002). Self-efficacy may be a crucial tool to help predict levels of performance. However, it is also necessary to understand how people evaluate their behavior once their task performance is complete and how they alter their behavior for future trials.

It is also important to discuss the way individuals interpret their performance relative to a previously set goal or standard and the type of changes they may make in their behavior to compensate for any discrepancies. Lord and Kernan (1989) describe how control theory can help explain how people evaluate their performances during goal-directed tasks. They suggest that task performers assess the outcome of their personal task against a predetermined goal by receiving feedback from the environment. The task performers then compensate for discrepancies between their goals and the outcomes by making cognitive or behavioral changes. Therefore, those who surpass their goal may either set higher goals or reduce their effort on future tasks, and those who fall short of their goal may choose either to work harder or lower their future goals. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.