The authors present an empirical review of the literature concerning trait and state goal orientation (GO). Three dimensions of GO were examined: learning, prove performance, and avoid performance along with presumed antecedents and proximal and distal consequences of these dimensions. Antecedent variables included cognitive ability, implicit theory of intelligence, need for achievement, self-esteem, general self-efficacy, and the Big Five personality characteristics. Proximal consequences included state GO, task-specific self-efficacy, self-set goal level, learning strategies, feedback seeking, and state anxiety. Distal consequences included learning, academic performance, task performance, and job performance. Generally speaking, learning GO was positively correlated, avoid performance GO was negatively correlated, and prove performance GO was uncorrelated with these variables. Consistent with theory, state GO tended to have stronger relationships with the distal consequences than did trait GO. Finally, using a meta-correlation matrix, the authors found that trait GO predicted job performance above and beyond cognitive ability and personality. These results demonstrate the value of GO to organizational researchers.
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