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Using Self-Efficacy Theory to Resolve the Conflict Between Goal-Setting Theory and Expectancy Theory in Organizational Behavior and Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.1986.4.3.328

Two influential theories in organizational behavior and industrial/organizational psychology, goal-setting theory and expectancy theory, are summarized briefly. It is shown that these two theories make opposite predictions about the relationship of expectancy to performance. Since there is evidence supporting both theories, the opposed predictions present a paradox. The paradox is shown to be resolvable in two ways. The first solution (based on Garland, 1984) makes the distinction between within- and between-group levels of analysis. The second solution is made possible by Bandura's self-efficacy theory, which argues that expectancy or self-efficacy should be measured with respect to the whole range of performance or goal levels rather than just the assigned goal level.