GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate

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CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SPORT:Fritz Heiderís Contribution, Other Considerations >>
Sport Psychology (PSY407)
Lesson 04
Goal orientation is similar to achievement motivation; it is the motivation to achieve a goal in sport.
There are two types of goal orientations namely; task orientation and ego orientation. In the case of task
orientation, the goal is mastery of a particular skill. A task oriented batsman perceives himself of high
ability if he can score more runs than what he scored in the last match. The task oriented athlete
continues to work for mastery of the skill he is working on, and enjoys feeling of self-efficacy and
confidence in so doing. In case of ego-orientation, the goal is to outperform another individual or other
individuals. It is no longer enough simply to gain mastery over a skill and make personal improvements.
So in ego-orientation, social comparison becomes the driving force. An ego-oriented bowler will try to
outperform other bowlers, either by throwing the fastest ball or by taking more wickets than other
bowlers. Individual's perceived ability is measured as a function of outperforming others as opposed to
Developmental Nature of Goal Orientation
A child two to six years' old views perceived ability in terms of how well she performed the task the last
time. If she notices an improvement in performance, she naturally assumes that her ability has increased
and that she is competent at performing the task. At this age she is more tasks oriented than ego-
At the age of six or seven, the child begins to view perceived ability in terms of how other children
perform. She becomes ego-oriented. Perceived ability is now a function of one's own capacity as it is
relative to that of others, as opposed to being a function of absolute ability. High ability and
competence is only perceived as such if it better than the performance of others. From a developmental
perspective, children mature as to how well they are able to differentiate between the concepts efforts
ability and outcome.
Children pass through four levels to fully understand these three concepts.
Level 1
At this early stage, the child views efforts, ability, and outcome as the same thing. At this level of
development, the child is said to have undifferentiated goal perspective. To the child at this age level,
effort, or trying hard, is the same as ability or having a successful outcome. The Child has no concept of
how luck differs from ability and how one task can be more difficult than another.
Level 2
At level two, the child is beginning to recognize that there is a difference effort and ability, but the child
believes that effort is the major determinant of achieving success. If u try hard and expend lots of
effort, you will find success.
Level 3
This is a transitional period, in the sense that the child is beginning to differentiate ability and effort.
Sometimes the child will recognize that effort is not the same as ability, but at other times he will revert
back to an undifferentiated conceptualization of the two.
Sport Psychology (PSY407)
Level 4
In level 4 the individual is said to have a differentiated goal perspective. At around age twelve, the child can
clearly distinguish among the concepts of ability, effort, and outcome. She also clearly understands the
ramifications of task difficulty and recognizes that some tasks will be more difficult than others.
Research by Fry (2000) and Fry and Duda (1997) shows support for this developmental theory of achievement
Measuring Goal Orientation
To find out whether individuals exhibit task and/or ego goal orientations a number of inventories have been
developed. These are the Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire (TEOSQ), Perceptions of Success
Questionnaire (POSQ) and the Sport Oriented Questionnaire (SOQ). The TEOSQ (Duda, 1989; White &
Duda, 1994) is composed of 15 items that measure task and ego orientation. the POSQ (Roberts, 1993; Roberts
& Treasure, 1995) is composed of 12 items that measure competitiveness (ego orientation) and mastery (task
orientation).the SOQ (Gill , 1993; Gill & Deeter, 1988) is composed of 25 items and purpose to measure
competitiveness , win orientation , and goal orientation. It is unclear, however, exactly how each of these factors
compares with basic task and ego orientations (Marsh, 1994).
Goal Involvement
There are two types of goal perspective. One is referred to as goal orientation and the other is goal involvement.
Both are related to success, goal orientation related to success in general, whereas goal involvement is related to
situation specific success. As described earlier, goal orientation is the motivation to achieve a goal in sport.
However goal involvement is a situation-specific state measure of how an individual relates to an achievement
situation at a specific point in time. Goal involvement can be further divided into two categories; task or mastery
involvement, and ego or competitive involvement. Situations that heighten awareness of social evaluation
induce a state of ego involvement, accompanied by feelings if increase anxiety. Conversely situations that do not
heighten an awareness of social evaluation evoke a state of task involvement, accompanied by feelings of low
anxiety. To be ego involved is to display characteristics of an ego-oriented person in a specific situation. To be
task involved is to display characteristics of a task-oriented person in a specific situation.
Motivational Climate
Perhaps of greater import than whether an individual is task- or ego-oriented is the motivational climate that the
individual is placed in. Just as individuals can be task or ego oriented, learning environment can also be task or
ego oriented. The environment could be ego-oriented, with its emphasis upon social comparison. A mastery
climate is one in which athletes receives positive reinforcement from the coach when they (a) work hard (b)
demonstrate improvement (c) help other learn through cooperation, and (d) Believe that each player's
contribution is important. A competitive Climate is one in which athletes perceive that (a) poor performance
and mistakes will be punished (b) high-ability athletes will receive the most attention and recognition, and (c)
competition between team members is encouraged by coach.
Characteristics of different types of Goal Orientation, Goal Involvement, and motivational Climate
Goal Orientation (Personality trait)
1. Task or Mastery Orientation
a. Effort important
b. Mastery Important
2. Ego or Competitive Orientation
a. Social comparisons important
Sport Psychology (PSY407)
b. Wining important
Goal Involvement (Psychological State)
task or Mastery Involvement
Athlete works hard
Athlete strives for master
Ego or Competitive Involvement
Athlete defines ability as winning
Athlete strives to win
Motivational Climate (Environment)
Mastery Climate
Effort rewarded
Cooperation emphasized
Competitive climate
Mistakes punished
Competition encouraged
Epstein (1989)and Treasure and Roberts (1995) have proposed that a mastery-oriented climate can be
created by the coach or the teacher that will be instrumental in developing and fostering self-confidence
and intrinsic motivation in youth sport participants. Coaches need to address each of the following
conditions to create a mastery environment:
Tasks: Tasks involving variety and diversity facilitates an interest in learning and task involvement
Authority: Students should be given opportunities to participate actively in learning process by
being involved in decision making and monitoring their own personal progress.
Reward: Rewards for participation should focus upon individual gains and improvements and
away from social comparisons.
Grouping: Students should be placed in groups so that they can work on individual skill in a
competitive learning climate.
Evaluation should involve numerous self-test that focus upon effort and personal improvement.
Timing; Timing is critical to the interaction of all of these conditions.
Research and Goal Perspective Theory
A number of researches have been conducted on various aspects of the theory. Some important
findings are mentioned below.
Characteristics of Task and Ego Goal Orientations
Mastery-oriented individuals feel most successful when they experience personal improvement that they
believe is due to their hard work and effort. They gain a sense of accomplishment through learning and
mastering a difficult task. Task-oriented individuals, regardless of their perception of personal ability,
tend to exhibit adaptive motivational patterns. This means that they tend to participate in challenging
tasks that allow them to demonstrate persistence and sustained effort.
An ego or competitive goal orientation is associated with the belief that success is a function of how
well a person performs relative to other people. In this case ability is independent of effort. If a person
performs well against other competitors, yet does not expend much effort, this is evidence of greater
ability. Thus for ego-oriented athletes, success is outperforming an opponent using superior ability as
opposed to high effort or personal improvement. An ego-oriented individual who has high perception
of ability should exhibit adaptive motivational patterns (engage willingly in challenging tasks). However,
an ego-oriented who has low perception of ability should exhibit a maladaptive motivation pattern.
Sport Psychology (PSY407)
Because his motivation is to win and he does not believe he can win, he will not likely take part in a challenging
activity. The obvious disadvantage of an ego orientation is that it discourages participation simply for the fun of
it unless one is certain of experiencing success.
In summary, a mastery-oriented will be looking at challenging situations, but an ego-oriented individual will
focusing on defeating others with minimum effort. Research on goal orientation has revealed that individuals
who are high in task orientation can also be high in ego orientation.
Interaction between Goal Oriented and motivational Climate
Best combination of goal orientation and motivational climate is to be task and ego oriented in conjunction with
a mastery climate. This combination should yield the highest levels of actual performance, personal satisfaction,
and enjoyment
Self-Handicapping and Goal Orientation
The concept of self-handicapping is that individuals proactively reduce the amount of effort. For example a
tennis player misses his training sessions due to fearing losing a match to a stronger competitor. Such an act
makes it possible for the athlete to argue that he lost due to lack of practice and not because of lower ability. It
is observed that athletes who do so are low on self-confidence.
Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York: McGraw-
Hill Companies
Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
Table of Contents:
  1. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY DEFINED:Issue of Certification, The Research Sport Psychologist
  2. SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Successful Performance, Verbal persuasion
  3. SELECTING SELF-TALK STATEMENTS:Skill accusation, Controlling effort
  4. GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate
  5. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SPORT:Fritz Heiderís Contribution, Other Considerations
  7. MOTIVATION IN SPORT:Social Factors, Success and Failure, Coachesí Behavior
  9. PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING:Clearly identify time constraints
  10. A TEAM APPROACH TO SETTING GOALS:The Planning Phase, The Meeting Phase
  11. YOUTH SPORT:Distress and anxiety, Coach-Parent Relationships
  12. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Information Processing, Memory Systems
  13. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Measuring Attentional Focus
  14. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Personality Defined, Psychodynamic Theory
  15. THE MEASUREMENT OF PERSONALITY:Projective Procedures, Structured Questionnaire
  16. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Athletic Motivation Inventory, Personality Sport Type
  21. COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT:Measurement of Coping Skill
  22. RELAXATION STRATEGIES FOR SPORT:Progressive Relaxation, Autogenic Training
  23. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Team Energizing Strategies, Fan Support
  24. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Precompetition Workout, Individual Goal Setting
  25. IMAGERY:Skill Level of the Athletes, Time Factors and Mental Practice
  26. IMAGERY:Symbolic Learning Theory, Imagery Perspective. Sensory Mode
  27. IMAGERY:Paivioís Two-Dimensional Model, Developing Imagery Skills
  28. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Defining Hypnosis, Social-Cognitive Theory
  29. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Achieving the Hypnotic Trance, Hypnotic Phase
  30. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Psychological Skills Training Program
  31. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Performance profiling, Performance routines
  32. ETHICS IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Competence, Integrity, Social Responsibility
  33. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:Defining Aggression, Catharsis hypothesis
  34. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:The Catharsis Effect, Fan Violence
  35. AUDIENCE AND CROWD EFFECTS IN SPORTS:Social Facilitation, Crowd Hostility
  36. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Measurement of Team Cohesion
  37. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Predicting Future Participation, Team Building
  38. LEADERSHIP IN SPORT:Fiedlerís Contingency Theory, Coach-Athlete Compatibility
  39. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Special Populations, Clinical Patients
  40. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Social Interaction Hypothesis, Amine Hypothesis
  41. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:The Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory
  42. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Exercise Addiction, Bulimia Nervosa, Muscle Dysmorphia
  43. BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention
  44. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ATHLETIC INJURIES:Personality Factors, Coping Resources
  45. DRUG ABUSE IN SPORT AND EXERCISE:Stimulants, Depressants