What is Goal Orientation?

Broadly defined, goal orientation is the degree by which a person or group of people work toward completing specific goals. This requires two components:

  • the creation of goals
  • the purposeful pursuit of their fulfillment

The term “goal orientation”, however, can have more specific meaning depending on where it is used. Here are some additional, and more specific areas of the use of this term.

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In Child Development

  • Goals
  • motivations
  • drivers
  • natural development

These are important components of what it means to grow and learn in childhood. It is in childhood that this area of skill and decision-making inclination is first learned. One’s habits and methods in goal orientation stemming from childhood can very much be later changed and adapted. However, they are still the founding principles from which all other growth will come. It is for these reasons that public and private school systems alike encourage goal-setting in:

  • classwork
  • career exploration
  • planning exercises, and more.

In Sports

In the sports world, science has actually broken down goal orientation in players and staff into two, all-encompassing types. The first type of goal orientation in this industry is called “task orientation”. In task orientation, the player or staffer works toward a performance goal based purely on a motivation to achieve the goal as a matter of job duty and betterment.

On the other hand, “ego orientation” is the type of goal orientation driven strictly by personal, egotistical reasons. Examples:

  • The desire to simply impress fans
  • to gain notoriety through achieving some sort of new record

In addition, some players’ and staffers’ goal orientations can be a hybrid of ego-based as well as task-based in nature.

In Business

The business world also has its own interpretation and approach to the subject of goal orientation. In general, a business is said to follow a strong model of goal orientation if it is highly focused on goal-setting and tasks aimed at completing those goals. Conversely, a business with a weak goal orientation may use some other logistical model and not operate very much from a goal resolution stance. In business, goal orientation is a strategy set that ultimately can be utilized to any degree. It can even be employed intermittently as the business sees relevant to their particular situation.

Additional Resources

In the greater annals of psychology and sociology, goal orientation is actually a principle of human motivation. Human motivation itself is an interesting and vast area of academic study and debate. For those wanting to delve deeper into goal orientation and the motivational science behind it, here are a few additional resources.

Psychology Today is a great resource publication written by the top experts in psychology right now. Here, the publication covers the various types of human motivations and their theories.

Verywell Mind is another publication, like Psychology Today, that is maintained by health experts and covers any number of health subjects in its writings. Expert Kendra Cherry provides the reader with a great rundown of motivational theories.

Here, Entreprenuer provides a general but very helpful 50-goal list great for personal and business uses alike. This is an especially helpful link for those needing goal-setting ideas for themselves.

Whether we know it or not, virtually all humans use some degree of goal orientation and associated motivators at many times throughout life. This is true:

  • in childhood
  • on the job
  • on the ball field, and elsewhere.

What are your goals today?

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