Organization Management Journal


Decades of research have demonstrated that managers can effect substantial performance improvements by setting challenging and specific performance goals (Locke & Latham, 2002), providing goal-relevant feedback on a regular basis (Karakowsky & Mann, 2008), and, when appropriate, involving subordinates in goal setting (Stansfield & Longenecker, 2006). This article reviews core findings from the goal setting literature, and presents a collaborative exercise in which teams of students apply these findings to address management problems in five fictitious scenarios. Debriefing tips cite additional research evidence to allow for more nuanced classroom discussion of goal setting. A pretest indicated that prior to completing the goal-setting exercise, only a minority of students had a strong intuitive sense of how to set effective goals; a posttest following its completion demonstrated substantial improvement. Students rated the exercise as both challenging and effective in improving their knowledge of goal setting.