When Goals Are Counterproductive: The Effects of Violation of a Behavioral Goal on Subsequent Performance

  • Soman D
  • Cheema A
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A considerable body of research supports the idea that individuals who set be- havioral goals perform better than others who set no goals. In this article, we propose that in addition to the positive effects, goals may also have a counter- productive effect. Specifically, we propose that violating one’s goal may cause a deterioration of subsequent performance as compared to individuals who have no goals. When the violation of one’s goal is coded as a failure, it can result in demotivation, negative emotion, and consequently a poorer performance. We re- port two experiments that demonstrate the counterproductive effects of goals and discuss potential moderators of this effect along with several possible process explanations

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  • Dilip Soman

  • Amar Cheema

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