We examine how task features interact with individuals' regulatory modes in determining performance. Effective goal pursuit normally occurs when high locomotion (the regulatory mode concerned with motion from state to state) and high assessment (the regulatory mode concerned with critical evaluation) work together (Kruglanski et al., 2000). However, there may be situations in which this high-high combination is unnecessary or even detrimental to good performance. We hypothesized that on simple tasks, high locomotion and low assessment should lead to the best performance; on complex tasks, however, high locomotion and high assessment should lead to the best performance. We tested these hypotheses in two empirical studies, one carried out in an organizational setting, the other in the lab. In the first study, we measured individuals' locomotion and assessment tendencies, asked them to rate the complexity of their daily work tasks, and obtained measures of their job performance from their supervisors. In the second study, we measured individuals' locomotion and assessment tendencies, manipulated the task complexity of an inbox task they had to complete, and measured their performance on that task. Both studies provided support for our hypotheses. These results offer important insights regarding the effects of regulatory mode on performance.
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