|M.Sc Student||Kaplan Ella|
|Subject||Goal-Setting and Regulatory Focus: An Integrative Approach|
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Miriam Erez|
This study brings together two motivational theories that focus on goals as the immediate regulators of human behavior. The regulatory focus theory asserts that people have two basic self-regulation systems: Avoidance of punishment - prevention focus, and accomplishment of rewards - promotion focus. The regulatory focus is determined by situational and chronic factors. The goal-setting theory proposes that specific and difficult goals lead to higher performance levels than general goals, since they create a strong situation and reduce variations in performance. We hypothesized that the regulatory focus effects will occur under general but not under specific goals. 110 students were randomly assigned into four experimental conditions. The regulatory focus was manipulated by telling participants that they could win an extra bonus point if their performance level is high (promotion), or that they could lose one, if their performance level is low (prevention). Participants in each regulatory focus condition were randomly assigned into a specific/ general goal condition. Additionally, participants completed a questionnaire, assessing their chronic regulatory focus. The results demonstrated that chronic-promotion individuals were more resistant to situational effects than chronic-prevention individuals. Second, goal-specificity moderated the effect of the regulatory focus on performance, which was found only under general goals. Unlike previous research, participants in the prevention focus performed better than those under promotion focus. This unexpected finding could be explained by the prospect theory, asserting that the subjective experience of pain from a loss of X is greater than the experience of pleasure from a gain of X. The apparent contradiction between our findings and previous research are further discussed.