When goals are known: The effects of audience relative status on goal commitment and performance

J Appl Psychol. 2020 Apr;105(4):372-389. doi: 10.1037/apl0000441. Epub 2019 Aug 15.


To better understand how the social context affects self-regulation, we present 4 studies investigating how the perceived relative status of a goal audience influences goal commitment. As a set, these studies use different samples and methods to examine this phenomenon across a variety of contexts, goals, and audiences. Results are highly consistent, supportive of our hypotheses, and demonstrate that it matters to whom goals are made known. Specifically, the perceived relative status of the goal audience is positively related to goal commitment, and downstream performance, via evaluation apprehension. Our findings highlight that it is not enough for goals to be made known to facilitate commitment but that they should be made known to someone perceived as having higher status. Together, these results help to clarify when and how it is beneficial to make goals known to others, provide a greater understanding of social influences on self-regulation, and yield implications for performance management practices aimed at facilitating goal commitment, motivation, and performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Organizational Objectives*
  • Self-Control*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Work Performance