Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Jiing-Lih Farh


A laboratory experiment, using 165 students, was conducted to assess the effects of goal type (quantity vs quality), goal difficulty (difficult vs easy), goal specificity (specific vs nonspecific), and feedback type (goal-discrepant vs strategic) on performance. Subjects were asked to perform a heuristic task, appropriate for the assessment of both quantity and quality performance. Results indicated: (a) the provision of quality feedback will increase effort and will improve quality performance; (b) individuals value quality feedback more than they value quantity feedback; (c) individuals are more accurate in their prediction of quantity performance than they are in their prediction of quality performance; (d) the provision of strategic feedback results in better quality performance than the provision of only goal-discrepant feedback. However, strategic feedback does not encourage any more planning than goal-discrepant feedback; (e) quality goal specificity does not reduce inter-individual quality performance variability, but does reduce intra-individual quality performance variability; (f) providing a quality goal will improve quality performance, even before feedback is provided, (g) before feedback, individuals with difficult quality goals will not perform any better qualitatively than individuals with easy quality goals. However, after feedback, quality goal difficulty does make a difference; (h) feedback can help individuals accurately direct attention to areas of performance deficiency; and (i) multiple goals which are easy evoke more positive affective reactions (higher goal commitment and performance satisfaction, less goal conflict, and lower perceptions of goal difficulty) than multiple goals which are difficult. The results of this study not only contribute to the theoretical refinement of the goal-setting paradigm, but also suggest directions for including quality goal-setting within a "total quality management" paradigm.