The effects of goal setting and ability differences on dyad strategy development and performance



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Texas Tech University


The present study examined the relationship between goal setting, task-relevant information, and social processes on dyadic strategy development and performance. In experiment 1, 60 male undergraduate dyaxls played a divisible computer game. Students either had a specific, difficult goal or a "do best" goal. In addition, the dyads were categorized by the amount of ability difference between members into low, med-low, med-high, and high. Results indicate that on Trial 2 dyads with specific, difficult goals developed strategies that differed from dyads with "do best" goals by giving the better dyad member more of the task. Strategy developnent was further influenced by the amount of ability difference between the dyad members: dyads whose members had equal ability (low ability differences) tended to divide up the task evenly while dyads with high ability differences tended to give more of the task to the better player. The social processes occurring within the dyad appeared to play a large role in task allocation. Dyads who chose unequal task allocation cited instrumental reasons for allocation more so thsin did dyads with equal task allocation. Finally, dyad performance WSLS strongly related to the initial ability levels of the dyad members and was not influenced by the dyad's strategy development or goal setting. In experiment 2, 35 male subjects who had not participated in experiment 1 read hypothetical situations concerning task allocation. Results show that individuals gave significantly more of the task to the better member in the hypothetical situations than they did in the actual task performed in Experiment 1. The findings from the two experiments suggest that strategy development in dyads involves both (a) finding the optimal solution for task attainment and (b) coordinating responses between dyad members in order to act upon the solution.



Goal, Action theory, Performance technology