There are still some limitations to motivation and goal-setting theory, Latham and Locke admit. For example, they say that the goals of the organization are not always the same as the goals of the individual. Perhaps the company's goal is to get workers trained in new safety protocols. However, the manager's bonus depends upon the company's financial performance, not the employee's grasping of the safety procedures. Therefore, the manager may not be motivated to take employees away from their tasks to complete the training. Another limitation is that learning goals do not always foster interest, and interest goals do not always facilitate learning. There also is the problem that individuals are more tempted to take risky actions in pursuit of their goals, which could potentially lead to failure rather than success.
Feedback is necessary in order for goals to remain effective and retain commitment. Without feedback people are unaware of their progression or regression; it also becomes difficult to gauge the level of effort required to pursue the goal effectively (Sorrentino, 2006). Additionally, feedback allows for individuals and teams to spot any weaknesses in their current goals, which allows modifications to be made (Smith & Hitt, 2005). It is necessary for goals, and the people making the goals, to be flexible (Bennett, 2009). Feedback is most effective when it is directed at setting more challenging goals (Locke & Lantham, 1979). Effort and productivity will increase when performance falls short of goal achievement. For example, if a student receives feedback in the form of a progress report he or she may adjust study habits accordingly to achieve the desired goal. However, without feedback, the student has nothing to gauge performance. Feedback can either be process oriented or outcome oriented. Process feedback provides specific tasks that must be performed to achieve the desired outcome. Outcome feedback is focused on the outcome of the goal and offers no tangible information to utilize in goal attainment. When these types of feedback are combined it will give a clear sense of how someone is performing, and what they can do differently in order to perform better. Similar to goals, feedback must also be specific to offer constructive information on how to meet objectives (PSU WC, 2015, L. 6). By receiving feedback, individuals will know that their work is being evaluated and that their contributions are being recognized.
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