Disadvantages of Setting Stretch Goals

Stretch Goals
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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

Disadvantages of Setting Stretch Goals

In an article by Ordóñez et al. the main disadvantages of Stretch Goals (SG) are described:
1. Increased dissatisfaction: Stretch goals are objectives which are seemingly unobtainable with present resources. It thus bears the risk of not being able to reach the specified goals. Challenging goals can raise negotiation and performance but simultaneously they might cause dissatisfaction when the results appear. Not being able to meet the goals can negatively influence the way people see themselves. Decreased self-reliance and self-efficiency for example, which in turn influence future behavior.
2. Inducing cheating behavior: When the goals set are too challenging and almost impossible to attain, sometimes people induced misrepresent their performance or cheat so as to achieve the goal after all. Misrepresenting means that people announce they achieved the goals while they haven’t. Cheating can be done by using unethical methods to achieve the goal.
3. Increased risk taking: It is very often the case that people with a specified challenging goal will take higher risk than those people with goals that are vaguely described or not too challenging.
Source: Ordóñez, L.D., Schweitzer, M.E., Galinsky, A.D. and M.H.Bazerman (2009) “Goals Gone Wild: The Systematic Side Effects of Over-Prescribing Goals Setting “ Acadamy of Management Perspectives Volume 23, No 1

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