A Validation of Edwin Locke’s Goal Setting Theory: Implications for Organizations


  • Jaya Chitranshi
  • Naval Lawande


Edwin Locke’s Theory of Goal Setting (1968), states that an individual’s goal-attainment improves if he has specific goals, receives specific feedback about his performance, is committed to achieve the goal, is sufficiently motivated and is confident of achieving the goal. The key focus of this research is on assessing the effectiveness of individual-organizational goal-mapping. The authors aim to validate the constructs and examine organizational implications of Edwin Locke’s Goal Setting Theory. The research question aims to identify the key driver that boosts employee motivation towards better performance. As today, organizations need employees who perform to achieve organizational goals, ‘individual target setting perfectly aligned with organizational goals’, has gained a lot of impetus. Organizations are on the look-out for better ways of higher employee motivation which result in higher performance. One of the plausible ways to do that seems employee-goal setting.  This exploratory research is based on Systematic Literature Review (SLR) on the topic. The study has been restricted to secondary data consisting of relevant research articles in the specific area of the theory of Goal-setting. The authors reviewed research articles for four decades, from 1968 to 2012.The presence of the constructs of the theory like goal-specificity, commitment, appropriate feedback, motivation and self-efficacy are found to operate and boost employee-performance. It has been observed that the theory has its wide applications in fixing of Key Result Areas (KRAs) in the continuous performance management system, Management by Objectives (MBO), achieving departmental targets, achieving company goals.