Jul 16, 2004

Goal setting and Unethical behaviour

Picked this up from the BusinessPundit's Blog where he quotes a Wharton research:

"From childhood on, individuals are told that setting goals for themselves will make them more diligent, more focused and generally more successful in whatever they set out to do - whether it's win tennis games, ace their exams or become CEO of their company.
But goal-setting also has a dark side to it, according to a recent research paper by a Wharton faculty member and two colleagues. In addition to motivating constructive behavior, goal setting - especially when it involves rewards - can motivate unethical behavior when people fall short of the goals they set or that are set for them. The relationship between goal setting and unethical behavior is particularly strong when people fall just short of reaching the goal."

That means that managers have to be sensitive to such fact and either hire really honest people or set targets that are more flexible and concentrate not just on the what of achievement but also on the how of the achievement!