The socialization of performance goals

TitleThe socialization of performance goals
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSommet, N, Pillaud, V, Meuleman, B, Butera, F
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Date Published04/2017
KeywordsLeadership, Performance goals, Self-competence, Social identification, socialization

How are competitive goals transmitted over time? As most competence-relevant contexts (e.g., school) are hierarchy-relevant (e.g., teacher/students), supervisors’ performance-approach goals (desire to outperform others) should play a major role. We formulated a performance goals socialization hypothesis: The higher a supervisor’s performance-approach goals, the stronger the effects of time on followers’ performance-approach and -avoidance (desire not to be outperformed by others) goals. Study 1, involving coaches and their soccer players, showed that indeed a performance goals socialization phenomenon exists. Study 2, involving thesis supervisors and their Ph.D. students, showed its consequences: performance goals socialization reduced subordinates’ motivation and well-being over time. Study 3, involving video game team leaders and their players, showed its enabling condition: the stronger the subordinates’ identification to their team, the more pronounced the performance goals socialization. Study 4, involving schoolteachers and their pupils, showed its directional moderator: the higher the subordinates’ perceived self-competence, the higher the change in performance-approach goals over time, and the lower that in performance-avoidance goals. It is then crucial to consider social hierarchy when studying goal formation.