Date of Award

Spring 1990

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Committee Director

Albert S. Glickman

Committee Member

Glynn D. Coates

Committee Member

R. Bruce McAfee

Committee Member

Barry Gillen


This research was designed to test the presumed effects of commitment, self-efficacy, and goal difficulty level on task performance. The investment model of commitment was used to experimentally manipulate commitment levels. Eighty subjects served as their own controls. For a computer typing task, performance baseline was established, then subjects performed additional trials under various commitment-to-study, commitment-to-job, and goal difficulty conditions. Seven hypotheses were tested. Analyses were conducted to determine main effects of commitment-to-study, commitment-to-job, commitment-to-goals and interaction effects among experimental conditions.

Performance score differences were significant for speed, but not accuracy across high and low commitment levels, supporting the hypothesis that commitment and performance are positively correlated. Organizational climate established in the commitment-to-study condition was shown to be a determinant of subsequent performance. Results supported Locke's (1981) contention that commitment is necessary for goal-setting to work, but did not support the suggestion that difficult goals result in better performance. The hypothesis that task interest is related with satisfaction was confirmed, but hypotheses regarding relationships between task interest, facet satisfaction, and work motivation with performance were generally unsupported.

Self-efficacy estimates of typing speed and accuracy made before feedback was received were significant predictors of performance, but estimates of accuracy consistently underestimated actual performance. Post-feedback efficacy estimates explained significantly more variance than pre-feedback estimates, as expected; however, accuracy estimates were resistant to revision based on feedback and did not show increased predictive power. Commitment levels did not have a differential impact on subjects' post-feedback efficacy estimates.

Results were interpreted in terms of task complexity, instrumentality, and arousal theory, and implications for future research and applications were discussed.


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