Self-Regulation of Goals and Performance: Effects of Discrepancy Feedback, Regulatory Focus, and Self-Efficacy

Download Download as PDF (Size:261KB)  HTML    PP. 187-201  
DOI: 10.4236/psych.2011.23030    6,150 Downloads   13,776 Views   Citations


We adopted a social cognitive approach of motivation (Bandura, 1986, 1989, 2002) to examine the influence of normative feedback and self-set goals on positive discrepancy creation and goal revision in the face of a novel task. The moderating effects of self-efficacy and regulatory focus were also examined. A laboratory study in-cluding 297 undergraduate students demonstrated that feedback, whether based on normative standards of performance or goal-performance discrepancies was a strong predictor of positive discrepancy creation and goal revision. Self-efficacy was also an independent predictor of goal revision, but regulatory focus was not. These findings have important practical implications for a variety of performance contexts (e.g., work, school, sports). Individuals will modify their goals based largely on feedback received (goal-performance discrepancies and normative standards); however, self-efficacy independently influences goal revision beyond the effects of feed-back. Other implications for research and practice are discussed.

Cite this paper

Nicklin, J. & Williams, K. (2011). Self-Regulation of Goals and Performance: Effects of Discrepancy Feedback, Regulatory Focus, and Self-Efficacy. Psychology, 2, 187-201. doi: 10.4236/psych.2011.23030.


[1] Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
[2] Bandura, A. (1989). Self-regulation of motivation and action through internal standards and goal systems. In L. A. Pervin (Ed.), Goal concepts in personality and social psychology (pp. 19-85). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
[3] Bandura, A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of self-regulation. Organizational behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 248-287. doi:10.1016/0749-5978(91)90022-L
[4] Bandura, A. (2003). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual review of Psychology, 52, 1-26. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.1
[5] Bandura, A., & Cervone, D. (1986). Differential engagement of self-reactive influences in cognitive motivation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 38, 92-113. doi:10.1016/0749-5978(86)90028-2
[6] Bandura, A., & Locke, E. A. (2003). Negative self-efficacy and goal effects revisited. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 87-99. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.88.1.87
[7] Comrey, A. L. (1992). A first course in factor analysis. (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: LEA, Publishers.
[8] Donovan, J. J., & Hafsteinsson, L. G. (2006). The impact of goal-performance discrepancies self-efficacy, and goal orientation on upward goal revision. Jounral of Applied Social Psychology, 36, 2006. doi:10.1111/j.0021-9029.2006.00054.x
[9] Donovan, J. J., & Williams, K. J. (2003). Missing the mark: Effects of time and causal attributions on goal revision in response to goal- performance discrepancies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 379-390. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.88.3.379
[10] Dweck, C. S. (1986). Motivational processes affecting learning. American Psychologist, 41, 1040-1048.
[11] Elliot, A. J., & Freidman, R. (2007). Approach-avoidance: A central characteristic of personal goals. In B. R. Little, K. Salmera-Aro, & S. D. Phillips (Eds.), Personal Project Pursuit: Goals, Action, and Human Flourishing (pp. 97-118). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
[12] Fellner, B., Holler, M., Kirchler, E., & Scabmann, A. (2007). Regulatory Focus Scale (RFS): Development of a scale to record dispotional regulatory focus. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 66, 109-116. doi:10.1024/1421-0185.66.2.109
[13] Forster, J., Grant, H., Chen Idson, L., & Higgins, T. E. (2001). Success/failure feedback, expectancies, and approach/avoidance motivation: How regulatory focus moderates classic relations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 253-260.
[14] Heath, C., Larrick, R. P., & Wu, G. (1999). Goals as reference points. Cognitive Psychology, 38, 79-109. doi:10.1006/cogp.1998.0708
[15] Higgins, T. E. (1997). Beyond pleasure and pain. American Psychologist, 52, 1280-1300. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.52.12.1280
[16] Higgins, T. E. (2000). Making a good decision: Value from fit. American Psychologist, 55, 1215-1230. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.11.1217
[17] Higgins, T. E., Friedman, R. S., Harlow, R. E., Chen Idson, L., Aykuk, O. N., & Taylor, A. (2001). Achievement orientations from subjective histories of success: Promotion pride versus prevention pride. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31, 3-23. doi:10.1002/ejsp.27
[18] Higgins, T. E., Roney, C., Crowe, E., & Hymes, C. (1994). Ideal versus ought predilections for approach and avoidance: Distinct self-regulatory systems. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 276-286. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.66.2.276
[19] Idson, L. C., & Higgins, E. T. (2000). Howe current feedback and chronic effectiveness influence motivation: Everything to gain versus everything to lose. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30, 583-592. doi:10.1002/1099-0992(200007/08)30:4<583::AID-EJSP9>3.0.CO;2-S
[20] Karoly, P. (1993). Mechanisms of self-regulation: A systems view. Annual Review of Psychology, 44, 23-52.
[21] Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1984). Goal setting: A motivational technique that works!. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
[22] Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1990). A theory of goal setting and task performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
[23] Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57, 705-717. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.57.9.705
[24] Lockwood, P., Jordan, C. H., & Kunda, Z. (2002). Motivation by positive or negative role models: regulatory focus determines who will best inspire us. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 854-864. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.83.4.854
[25] Phillips, J. M., Hollenbeck, J. R., & Ilgen, D. R. (1996). Prevalence and prediction of positive discrepancy creation: Examining a discrepancy between two self-regulation theories. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81, 498-511. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.81.5.498
[26] Shah, J., & Higins T. E. (1997). Expectancy X value effects: Regulatory focus as a determinant of magnitude and direction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 447-458.
[27] Spiegel, S., & Higgins, T. E. (2001). Regulatory focus and means substitution in strategic task performance. Unpublished manuscript, Columbia University.
[28] Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th ed.). Needman Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
[29] Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1992). Advances in prospect theory: Cumulative representations of uncertainty. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 5, 297-323. doi:10.1007/BF00122574
[30] Van-Dijk, D., & Kluger, A. N. (2004). Feedback sign effect on motivation: Is it moderated by regulatory focus?. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 53, 113-135. doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.2004.00163.x
[31] Williams, K. J., Donovan, J. J., & Dodge, T. L. (2000). Self-regulation of performance. Goal establishment and goal revision processes in athletes. Human Performance, 13, 159-180. doi:10.1207/s15327043hup1302_3
[32] Wood, R., & Bandura, A. (1989). Social cognitive theory of organizational management. Academy of Management Review, 14, 361-384.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2017 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.