Examining the relationship between achievement goal theory and non-task work performance

Kim Louw

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

287 Downloads (Pure)


[Truncated] More than ever before, organizations and their employees must be both dynamic and adaptable to survive and prosper in the global market. In response to this new business landscape, organizations are under increased pressure to motivate their employees to continually update their skills and adapt their behavior to changing job demands. Individual differences in the acquisition of new skills and motivation towards work outside of their strict job tasks can therefore determine individual as well as organizational success. The construct of goal orientation is emerging as a useful construct for understanding, at least in part, the differences between individual motivation strategies, organizational climate and employee behaviors. The most recent conceptualization of the construct describes four goal orientations that describe how individuals approach, interpret and respond in achievement situations. These are; mastery approach, a focus on self-referent learning and development; performance approach, a focus on outperforming others and demonstrating normative competence; performance avoid, a focus on avoiding poor performance; and mastery avoid, a desire to avoid loss of skills.
Previous literature has primarily investigated the role of goal orientation on employee’s task performance. This thesis extends this research by investigating the role of goal orientation in predicting non-task behaviors and performance in the workplace. Specifically, this thesis focuses on the possible negative ramifications of adopting a performance approach orientation on employee non-task workplace behavior. Across six chapters, and four empirical studies the hypothesis that a performance approach goal orientation causes individuals to engage in counterproductive and negative non-task behaviors is theorized and tested.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
  • Dunlop, Patrick, Supervisor
  • Yeo, Gillian, Supervisor
  • Griffin, Mark, Supervisor
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


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