Title page for ETD etd-07092009-122101

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Byrd, Trevor G.
URN etd-07092009-122101
Title Prioritizing Effort Allocation in a Multiple-Goal Environment
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Foti, Roseanne J. Committee Chair
Donovan, John J. Committee Co-Chair
Carlson, Kevin D. Committee Member
Hauenstein, Neil M. A. Committee Member
  • self-regulation
  • task prioritization
  • multiple goal
Date of Defense 2009-06-26
Availability unrestricted
This study replicated and extended existing research concerning task prioritization in multiple-goal scenarios. The theoretical perspectives on which hypotheses were based was a combination of Bandura’s self-efficacy theory (1986) and rational models of control theory (Klein, 1989; Lord & Levy, 1994). Participants were 216 college students who received extra-credit points for their involvement. They performed six repeated trials on a computerized task consisting of two simultaneous sub-tasks. Participants pursued an assigned long-term goal on each task, and goal achievement was rewarded with additional extra-credit points as an incentive. Task prioritization was assessed with four separate measures of effort allocation, including the time spent on each task, the number of computer mouse-clicks made within each task, scores on a self-report assessment of exerted effort, and responses to a self-report task prioritization assessment. Results indicated that participants prioritized tasks on which they were closer to goal attainment, tasks on which they were more efficacious, tasks on which they were experiencing a faster rate of progress, and tasks on which they reported greater goal commitment. Results also indicated that the effect of goal-performance discrepancies (GPDs) on task prioritization was mediated by self-efficacy. Further the amount of time remaining before a deadline moderated the relationship between GPD and task prioritization, although the form of this relationship was not in the proposed direction. Achievement goals were examined as moderators of the relationship between GPDs and task prioritization, but results were non-significant. Overall, these findings provide additional evidence that expectancies are often central to understanding self-regulation in multiple-goal scenarios, as first asserted by Kernan and Lord (1990). The current study also provides additional evidence concerning the importance of temporal factors in determining resource allocation in multiple-goal scenarios. Results from the current study point toward multiple issues for exploration in future research, such as an integrated model focusing in part on the pivotal role of self-efficacy or other expectancy-related constructs. Results also demonstrate implications for applied work, including clear evidence that employees should be expected to allocate their finite resources toward goals on which they believe success is most likely.
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