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A goal is an
idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosoph ...

idea
of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision,
plan A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with details of timing and resources, used to achieve an Goal, objective to do something. It is commonly understood as a modal logic, temporal set (mathematics), set of intended actions through whi ...

plan
and commit to achieve. People endeavour to reach goals within a finite time by setting
deadline Deadline(s) or The Deadline(s) may refer to: * Time limit, a narrow field of time by which an objective must be accomplished Arts, entertainment, and media Comics * Deadline (DC Comics), a fictional villain * Deadline (magazine), ''Deadline'' (m ...
s. A goal is roughly similar to a
purpose Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future The future is the time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur ...
or aim, the anticipated result which guides reaction, or an
end End, END, Ending, or variation, may refer to: End *In mathematics: **End (category theory) **End (topology) **End (graph theory) **End (graph_theory)#Cayley_graphs, End (group theory) (a subcase of the previous) **End (endomorphism) *In sports an ...

end
, which is an
object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Entity, something that is tangible and within the grasp of the senses ** Object (abstract), an object which does not exist at any particular time or pl ...
, either a
physical object A bubble of exhaled gas in water In common usage and classical mechanics, a physical object or physical body (or simply an object or body) is a collection of matter within a defined contiguous boundary in three-dimensional space Three-dimen ...
or an
abstract object In metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the rela ...
, that has intrinsic value.


Goal setting

Goal-setting theory was formulated based on
empirical research Empirical research is research using empirical evidence. It is also a way of gaining knowledge by means of direct and indirect observation or experience. Empiricism values some research more than other kinds. Empirical evidence (the record of ...
and has been called one of the most important theories in organizational psychology. Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham, the fathers of goal-setting theory, provided a comprehensive review of the core findings of the theory in 2002. In summary, Locke and Latham found that specific, difficult goals lead to higher performance than either easy goals or instructions to "do your best", as long as
feedback Feedback occurs when outputs of a system are routed back as inputs as part of a chain Image:Kettenvergleich.jpg, Roller chains A chain is a wikt:series#Noun, serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with ...

feedback
about progress is provided, the person is committed to the goal, and the person has the ability and knowledge to perform the task. According to Locke and Latham, goals affect performance in the following ways: # goals direct attention and effort toward goal-relevant activities, # difficult goals lead to greater effort, # goals increase persistence, with difficult goals prolonging effort, and # goals indirectly lead to
arousal Arousal is the physiological Physiology (; ) is the scientific study of functions and mechanisms in a living system. As a sub-discipline of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including th ...

arousal
, and to discovery and use of task-relevant knowledge and strategies A positive relationship between goals and performance depends on several factors. First, the goal must be considered important and the individual must be committed. Participative goal setting can help increase performance, but participation itself does not directly improve performance.
Self-efficacy Self-efficacy, a concept originally proposed by the psychologist Albert Bandura Albert Bandura (; born December 4, 1925) is a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be r ...
also enhances goal commitment. For goals to be effective, people need feedback that details their progress in relation to their goal. This feedback needs to be positive, immediate, graphic, and specific. Providing feedback leads to set references points and "comparisons to the standard inform their behavioral responses" (Stajkovic A.D. and Sergent, K, Cognitive Automation and Organizational Psychology). Some
coaches Coach may refer to: Guidance/instruction * Coach (sport), a director of athletes' training and activities ** Coach (basketball) * Coaching, the practice of guiding an individual through a process ** Acting coach, a teacher who trains performers T ...

coaches
recommend establishing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bounded (
SMART Smart or SMART may refer to: Arts and entertainment * ''Smart'' (Hey! Say! JUMP album), 2014 * Smart (Hotels.com), former mascot of Hotels.com * ''Smart'' (Sleeper album), 1995 debut album by Sleeper * ''SMart ''SMart'' was a British CBBC t ...

SMART
) objectives, but not all researchers agree that these
SMART criteria S.M.A.R.T. is a mnemonic acronym, giving criteria to guide in the Goal setting, setting of goals and objectives, for example in project management, employee-performance management and personal development. The letters S and M generally mean specifi ...

SMART criteria
are necessary. The SMART framework does not include goal difficulty as a criterion; in the goal-setting theory of Locke and Latham, it is recommended to choose goals within the 90th percentile of difficulty, based on the average prior performance of those that have performed the task. Goals can be long-term, intermediate, or short-term. The primary difference is the time required to achieve them. Short-term goals are expect to be finished in a relatively short period of time, long-term goals in a long period of time, and intermediate in a medium period of time.


Mindset theory of action phases

Before an individual can set out to achieve a goal, they must first decide on what their desired end-state will be.
Peter Gollwitzer Peter Max Gollwitzer (born 29 June 1950 in Nabburg) is a German professor of psychology in the Psychology Department at New York University New York University (NYU) is a private research university in New York City New York City (NY ...
's mindset theory of action phases proposes that there are two phases in which an individual must go through if they wish to achieve a goal. For the first phase, the individual will mentally select their goal by specifying the criteria and deciding on which goal they will set based on their commitment to seeing it through. The second phase is the planning phase, in which the individual will decide which set of behaviors are at their disposal and will allow them to best reach their desired end-state or goal.


Goal characteristics

Certain characteristics of a goal help define the goal and determine an individual's motivation to achieve that goal. The characteristics of a goal make it possible to determine what motivates people to achieve a goal, and, along with other personal characteristics, may predict goal achievement. * ''Importance'' is determined by a goal's attractiveness, intensity, relevance, priority, and sign. Importance can range from high to low. * ''Difficulty'' is determined by general estimates of probability of achieving the goal. * ''Specificity'' is determined if the goal is qualitative and ranges from being vague to precisely stated. Typically, a higher-level goal is vaguer than a lower level subgoal; for example, wanting to have a successful career is vaguer than wanting to obtain a master's degree. * ''Temporal range'' is determined by the duration of the goal and the range from proximal (immediate) to distal (delayed). * ''Level of consciousness'' refers to a person's cognitive awareness of a goal. Awareness is typically greater for proximal goals than for distal goals. * ''Complexity'' of a goal is determined by how many subgoals are necessary to achieve the goal and how one goal connects to another. For example, graduating college could be considered a complex goal because it has many subgoals (such as making good grades), and is connected to other goals, such as gaining meaningful employment.


Personal goals

Individuals can set personal goals: a student may set a goal of a high mark in an exam; an athlete might run five miles a day; a traveler might try to reach a destination city within three hours; an individual might try to reach financial goals such as saving for retirement or saving for a purchase. Managing goals can give returns in all areas of
personal life Personal life is the course or state of an personhood, individual's life, especially when viewed as the sum of personal choices contributing to one's personal identity. Apart from hunter-gatherers, most pre-modern peoples' time was limited by ...

personal life
. Knowing precisely what one wants to achieve makes clear what to concentrate and improve on, and often can help one subconsciously prioritize on that goal. However, successful goal adjustment (goal disengagement and goal re-engagement capacities) is also a part of leading a healthy life.
Goal setting Goal setting involves the development of an action plan A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with details of timing and resources, used to achieve an Goal, objective to do something. It is commonly understood as a modal logic, tempor ...
and planning ("goal work") promotes long-term
vision Vision or The Vision may refer to: Perception Optical perception * Visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment (biophysical), environment through photopic vision (daytime vision), color visio ...
, intermediate
mission Mission may refer to: Religion *Mission (station) A religious mission or mission station is a location for missionary work, in particular Christian missions. History Historically, missions have been religious communities used to spread ...

mission
and short-term
motivation Motivation is what explains why people or animals initiate, continue or terminate a certain behavior at a particular time. Motivational states are commonly understood as forces acting within the agent that create a disposition to engage in goal-d ...

motivation
. It focuses intention,
desire Desires are states of mind that are expressed by terms like "wanting", "wishing", "longing" or "craving". A great variety of features is commonly associated with desires. They are seen as propositional attitude A propositional attitude is a menta ...
, acquisition of knowledge, and helps to organize resources. Efficient goal work includes recognizing and resolving all
guilt Guilt may refer to: *Guilt (emotion), an emotion that occurs when a person feels that they have violated a moral standard *Culpability, a legal term *Guilt (law), a legal term *GUILT, or Gangliated Utrophin Immuno Latency Toxin, antagonistic parasi ...
, inner conflict or limiting
belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconsci ...

belief
that might cause one to sabotage one's efforts. By setting clearly-defined goals, one can subsequently measure and take pride in the accomplishment of those goals. One can see progress in what might have seemed a long, perhaps difficult, grind.


Achieving personal goals

Achieving complex and difficult goals requires focus, long-term diligence, and effort (see
Goal pursuit Goal pursuit is the process of attempting to achieve a desired future outcome. This generally follows goal settingGoal setting involves the development of an action plan A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with details of timing and ...
). Success in any field requires forgoing excuses and justifications for poor performance or lack of adequate planning; in short, success requires emotional maturity. The measure of belief that people have in their ability to achieve a personal goal also affects that achievement. Long-term achievements rely on short-term achievements. Emotional control over the small moments of the single day can make a big difference in the long term.


Personal goal achievement and happiness

There has been a lot of research conducted looking at the link between achieving desired goals, changes to self-efficacy and integrity and ultimately changes to
subjective well-being Subjective well-being (SWB) is a self-reported measure of well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a ...
. Goal efficacy refers to how likely an individual is to succeed in achieving their goal. Goal integrity refers to how consistent one's goals are with core aspects of the self. Research has shown that a focus on goal efficacy is associated with happiness, a factor of well-being, and goal integrity is associated with
meaning (psychology)Meaning is an epistemological concept used in multiple disciplines, such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, semiotics, and sociology, with its definition depending upon the field of study by which it is being used. These multidisciplinary us ...
, another factor of well-being. Multiple studies have shown the link between achieving long-term goals and changes in subjective well-being; most research shows that achieving goals that hold personal meaning to an individual increases feelings of subjective well-being.


Self-concordance model

The self-concordance model is a model that looks at the sequence of steps that occur from the commencement of a goal to attaining that goal. It looks at the likelihood and impact of goal achievement based on the type of goal and meaning of the goal to the individual. Different types of goals impact both goal achievement and the sense of
subjective well-being Subjective well-being (SWB) is a self-reported measure of well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a ...
brought about by achieving the goal. The model breaks down factors that promote, first, striving to achieve a goal, then achieving a goal, and then the factors that connect goal achievement to changes in subjective well-being.


Self-concordant goals

Goals that are pursued to fulfill intrinsic values or to support an individual's self-concept are called self-concordant goals. Self-concordant goals fulfill basic needs and align with what
psychoanalyst Psychoanalysis (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...
Donald Winnicott Donald Woods Winnicott (7 April 1896 – 25 January 1971) was an English paediatrician and psychoanalyst who was especially influential in the field of object relations theory and developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the ...
called an individual's "True Self". Because these goals have personal meaning to an individual and reflect an individual's self-identity, self-concordant goals are more likely to receive sustained effort over time. In contrast, goals that do not reflect an individual's internal drive and are pursued due to external factors (e.g. social pressures) emerge from a non-integrated region of a person, and are therefore more likely to be abandoned when obstacles occur.
Those who attain self-concordant goals reap greater well-being benefits from their attainment. Attainment-to-well-being effects are mediated by need satisfaction, i.e., daily activity-based experiences of
autonomy In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions ...

autonomy
, competence, and relatedness that accumulate during the period of striving. The model is shown to provide a satisfactory fit to 3 longitudinal data sets and to be independent of the effects of
self-efficacy Self-efficacy, a concept originally proposed by the psychologist Albert Bandura Albert Bandura (; born December 4, 1925) is a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be r ...
, implementation intentions, avoidance framing, and
life skills Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable humans to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life. This concept is also termed as psychosocial The psychosocial approach looks at individuals in the conte ...
.
Furthermore,
self-determination theory Self-determination theory (SDT) is a macro theory of human motivation and personality that concerns people's inherent growth tendencies and innate psychological needs. It is concerned with the motivation Motivation is what explains why peopl ...
and research surrounding this theory shows that if an individual effectively achieves a goal, but that goal is not self-endorsed or self-concordant, well-being levels do not change despite goal attainment.


Goal setting management in organizations

In
organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...

organization
s, goal management consists of the process of recognizing or inferring goals of individual
team A team is a group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal A goal is an idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as ...

team
-members, abandoning goals that are no longer relevant, identifying and resolving conflicts among goals, and prioritizing goals consistently for optimal team-collaboration and effective operations. For any successful
commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of voluntary exchange of products and se ...

commercial
system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, structure and purp ...

system
, it means deriving profits by making the best quality of
goods In economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant ...
or the best quality of
services Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part of the workload of Faculty (academic staff), university faculty * Civil service, the body of employees of a governm ...
available to end-users (
customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. The delivery of a service for a cost is also considered a sale. The seller, or the provider of the goods or services, complet ...

customer
s) at the best possible
cost In production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (goods and services) * Production ...

cost
. Goal management includes: * assessment and dissolution of non-rational blocks to success * * frequent reconsideration (consistency checks) * feasibility checks * adjusting
milestones A milestone is a marker of distance along roads. Milestone may also refer to: Measurements *Milestone (project management), metaphorically, markers of reaching an identifiable stage in any task or the project *Software release life cycle state, s ...
and main-goal targets Jens Rasmussen and Morten Lind distinguish three fundamental categories of goals related to technological system management. These are: # production goals # safety goals # economy goals Organizational goal-management aims for individual employee goals and objectives to align with the vision and strategic goals of the entire organization. Goal-management provides organizations with a mechanism to effectively communicate corporate goals and strategic objectives to each person across the entire organization. The key consists of having it all emanate from a pivotal source and providing each person with a clear, consistent organizational-goal message, so that every employee understands how their efforts contribute to an enterprise's success. An example of goal types in
business management Business administration (also known as business management) is the administration of a commercial enterprise. It includes all aspects of overseeing and supervising business operations. From the point of view of management Management (or man ...
: * Consumer goals: this refers to supplying a product or service that the market/consumer wants * Product goals: this refers to supplying an outstanding
value proposition A value proposition is a promise of value (economics), value to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged. It is also a belief from the customer about how value (benefit) will be delivered, experienced and acquired. A value proposition can appl ...
compared to other products - perhaps due to factors such as quality, design, reliability and novelty * Operational goals: this refers to running the organization in such a way as to make the best use of
management skills Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body. Management includes the activities of setting the strategic management, strategy of an organization ...
, technology and resources * Secondary goals: this refers to goals which an organization does not regard as priorities


Goal displacement

Goal displacement occurs when the original goals of an entity or organization are replaced over time by different goals. In some instances, this creates problems, because the new goals may exceed the capacity of the mechanisms put in place to meet the original goals. New goals adopted by an organization may also increasingly become focused on internal concerns, such as establishing and enforcing structures for reducing common employee disputes.Karen Kirst-Ashman, ''Human Behavior, Communities, Organizations, and Groups in the Macro Social Environment'' (2007), p. 112. In some cases, the original goals of the organization become displaced in part by repeating behaviors that become traditional within the organization. For example, a company that manufactures widgets may decide to do seek good publicity by putting on a fundraising drive for a popular charity or by having a tent at a local county fair. If the fundraising drive or county fair tent is successful, the company may choose to make this an annual tradition, and may eventually involve more and more employees and resources in the new goal of raising the most charitable funds or of having the best county fair tent. In some cases, goals are displaced because the initial problem is resolved or the initial goal becomes impossible to pursue. A famous example is the
March of Dimes March of Dimes is a United States nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, ...
, which began as an organization to fund the fight against
polio Poliomyelitis, commonly shortened to polio, is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology ...

polio
, but once that disease was effectively brought under control by the
polio vaccine Polio vaccines are vaccine A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often ...
, transitioned to being an organization for combating
birth defect A birth defect, also known as a congenital disorder, is a condition present at birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring, also referred to in technical contexts as parturition. In mammals, the process is initiat ...
s.


See also

* Counterplanning *
Decision-making softwareDecision-making software (DM software) is software Software is a collection of instructions that tell a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Mod ...
*
Direction of fit The technical term direction of fit is used to describe the distinctions that are offered by two related sets of opposing terms: * The more general set of mind-to-world (i.e., mind-to-fit-world, not from-mind-to-world) ''vs.'' world-to-mind (i.e., w ...
*
GOAL agent programming language GOAL is an agent programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that produce various kinds of Input/output, output. Programming languages are used in computer prog ...
* Goal modeling *
Goal orientationGoal orientation is an "individual disposition towards developing or validating one's ability in achievement settings".VandeWalle, D. (1997), Development and validation of a work domain goal orientation instrument, ''Educational and Psychological Mea ...
*
Goal programming Goal programming is a branch of multiobjective optimization, which in turn is a branch of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). It can be thought of as an extension or generalisation of linear programming to handle multiple, normally conflicting ...
* Goal–Question–Metric (GQM) * Goal theory *
Management by objectives Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It ...
*
Moving the goalposts Moving the goalposts (or shifting the goalposts) is a metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It may provide (or obscure) clarity or identify hidden similarities ...
* (OKR) *
Polytely__NOTOC__ Polytely (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 ...
*
Regulatory focus theoryRegulatory focus theory (RFT) is a theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with such pro ...
*
Strategic management In the field of management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, We ...
*
Strategic planning Strategic planning is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of th ...

Strategic planning
*
SWOT analysis SWOT analysis (or SWOT matrix) is a strategic planning technique used to help a person or organization identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business Business is the activity of making one's living or maki ...
* ''The Goal'' (novel) * '' The Jackrabbit Factor''


References


Further reading

* * {{Authority control Management Motivation