Title page for ETD etd-07092009-093359

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Esson, Patrice
URN etd-07092009-093359
Title They’re All in it Together: A Pattern Approach to Exploring Goal Orientation
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hauenstein, Neil M. A. Committee Chair
Carlson, Kevin D. Committee Member
Donovan, John J. Committee Member
Foti, Roseanne J. Committee Member
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Exerted Effort
  • Pattern Approach
  • Goal Orientation
Date of Defense 2009-05-11
Availability restricted
The purpose of the present study was to expand researchers’ understanding of work motivation by taking a pattern approach to the examination of the dimensions of goal orientation. To explore the differential behavior of people who possess different goal orientation patterns, the present study sought to verify the existence of optimal and least optimal patterns using two important motivational outcome variables: self-efficacy and exerted effort. In addition, the role of the performance-approach goal orientation (PGO) dimension within the context of goal orientation patterns was examined. Data was collected from a sample of college students who were asked to perform a puzzle solving task and complete scales assessing their effort exerted and self-efficacy related to this task. Three hundred and seventy one participants were classified into 8 patterns. The results confirmed the existence of an optimal and a least optimal pattern of goal orientation for self efficacy and partially confirmed the existence of such patterns for exerted effort. The findings also suggested that PGO is better understood when it is examined in the context of goal orientation patterns. Specifically, PGO exhibited adaptive behaviors when paired with a strong learning goal orientation (LGO) and weak performance-avoid goal orientation (AGO), and maladaptive behaviors when paired with a strong AGO and low LGO. Taken as a whole, the results indicated that the use of goal orientation patterns produces findings that have not been previously demonstrated by traditional variable-oriented approaches. Implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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