Goals & Goal Displacement

Goals- Meaning, characteristics & Goal Displacement

Meaning of Goal

A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieve. People endeavour to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.

A goal is roughly similar to a purpose or aim, the anticipated result which guides reaction, or an end, which is an object, either a physical object or an abstract object, that has intrinsic value.

Characteristics of Goal

Certain characteristics of a goal help define the goal and determine an individual’s motivation to achieve that goal. The characteristics of a goal make it possible to determine what motivates people to achieve a goal, and, along with other personal characteristics, may predict goal achievement.

  • Importance is determined by a goal’s attractiveness, intensity, relevance, priority, and sign. Importance can range from high to low.
  • Difficulty is determined by general estimates of probability of achieving the goal.
  • Specificity is determined if the goal is qualitative and ranges from being vaguely to precisely stated. Typically, a higher-level goal is more vague than a lower level subgoal; for example, wanting to have a successful career is more vague than wanting to obtain a master’s degree.
  • Temporal range is determined by the range from proximal (immediate) to distal (delayed) and the duration of the goal.
  • Level of consciousness refers to a person’s cognitive awareness of a goal. Awareness is typically greater for proximal goals than distal goals.
  • Complexity of a goal is determined by how many subgoals are necessary to achieve the goal and how one goal connects to another. For example, graduating college could be considered a complex goal because it has many subgoals, such as making good grades, and is connected to other goals, such as gaining meaningful employment.

Meaning of Goal displacement

Goal displacement occurs when the original goals of an entity or organization are replaced over time by different goals. In some instances, this creates problems, because the new goals may exceed the capacity of the mechanisms put in place to meet the original goals. New goals adopted by an organization may also increasingly become focused on internal concerns, such as establishing and enforcing structures for reducing common employee disputes. In some cases, the original goals of the organization become displaced in part by repeating behaviors that become traditional within the organization. For example, a company that manufactures widgets may decide to do seek good publicity by putting on a fundraising drive for a popular charity, or having a tent at a local county fair. If the fundraising drive or county fair tent is successful, the company may choose to make this an annual tradition, and may eventually involve more and more employees and resources in the new goal of raising the most charitable funds, or having the best county fair tent. In some cases, goals are displaced because the initial problem is resolved or the initial goal becomes impossible to pursue. A famous example is the March of Dimes, which began as an organization to fund the fight against polio, but once that disease was effectively brought under control by the polio vaccine, transitioned to being an organization for combating birth defects.

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