Goal setting: The role of feedback, external incentives, resource availability, and situational constraints on employees’ performance.

Georgila, Thiresia (2017) Goal setting: The role of feedback, external incentives, resource availability, and situational constraints on employees’ performance. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Theoretical Background

This research examines the process through which a goal oriented environment can impact on individual performance and specifically, it explores factors that are related with goal setting and the way they influence the employees’ performance outcome. The study places emphasis on an unstable and insecure working setting and explores those factors in a country that has been affected by the financial crisis to a large degree. In particular, the present study investigates the relationships among the amount and frequency of feedback that employees receive with their perception about their improvement of performance due to feedback. In addition, the reported research seeks to expand our knowledge on the effect of financial incentives that employees are offered on their performance enhancement. The final factor that this study investigates is the availability of resources and the presence of situational constraints, and their relationship with the promotion of employees’ job performance. The resources and constraints are distinguished into training, autonomy and work overload.


In order to fully comprehend the aforementioned relationships 6 hypotheses were constructed. Specifically, it is hypothesised that: 1) The greater the amount of feedback the employees receive, the higher the level of their performance. 2) The greater the frequency of feedback employees receive, the higher the level of their performance. 3) The larger the amount of a monetary reward tied to a performance goal, the greater the employees’ performance. 4) There is a positive relationship between training and performance. 5) There is a positive relationship between job autonomy and the performance. 6) There is negative relationship between the work overload levels and the employees’ performance.


The target industry consists of Greek private corporations that offer professional financial services and the study population is comprised of 115 Greek employees (N=115). The data was collected through a cross-section survey. The employees were invited via email to answer an online questionnaire that was constructed and stored through the Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) system. After the collection of data, the results were introduced into the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS V23.0) and correlation, tabulation of data, descriptive statistics and hierarchical regression analysis were conducted.


As hypothesised, the amount of feedback was significantly and positively related to the employees’ performance. Greater amount of job-relevant information about past actions given to the employees resulted in greater subsequent performance. In addition, the monetary incentives offered for goal attainment had a positive and significant relationship with performance. The study participants reported that their effort and performance can be enhanced when monetary rewards are tied to their performance goals and particularly, the higher the incentive, the better their performance.

However, it is noteworthy that the positive relationship between the frequency of feedback and the employees’ performance levels is not supported by the results. Furthermore, they show that Greek employees are not dependent on training to acquire knowledge, skills and competencies in order to manage to advance their performance outcome. Moreover, the study results indicate that autonomy and control over the task performed are not significant to facilitate and advance employees’ performance. What is more, the study failed to support the assertion that work overload is negatively related to performance. The results did not provide credible evidence to support the hypothesis that the workload and the performance level are negatively associated. Finally, implications for managerial practice, limitations with regard to the study and implications for future work on feedback and on the provision of incentives are discussed.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: goal setting, performance, financial crisis, feedback, incentives, resources, work overload
Depositing User: Georgila, Thiresia
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2018 10:41
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2018 10:14
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/45962

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