Understanding State Goal Orientation: Leadership and Work-Group Climate as Key Antecedents
Stevens, Cynthia K.
Tesluk, Paul E.
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This research attends to a broad range of practically significant employee achievement goals and provides insight into how to enhance individual-level performance by examining the antecedents to individual-level state goal orientation in organizational work groups. State goal orientation is defined here as a temporary achievement goal, and it is theorized that leadership and work group climate processes parallel each dimension of state goal orientation to cue and ultimately induce the corresponding achievement goal among individual work group members. The leader's achievement priority is argued to drive the formation of work group climate consistent with this priority. The resulting work group climate signals and compels group members to adopt the ascribed form of state goal orientation. The quality of the leader-member exchange (LMX) relationship is viewed as a means to internalize cues from the work group climate in the emergence of state goal orientation. Results from experimental and field studies provide evidence that (1) leadership and climate perceptions are related to their parallel form of state goal orientation, (2) the relation between individual perceptions of a climate for learning and state learning goal orientation is stronger when group members enjoy higher quality exchange relationships with their leader, and (3) state goal orientation may be validly and reliably assessed using the measure created especially for this research.