AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

The Effects of Goal Difficulty and Monitoring Frequency on Effort and Risk Taking Decisions

by Nikki L. Shoemaker

Institution: University of North Texas
Year: 2014
Keywords: Goal difficulty; monitoring frequency; effort; risk taking
Record ID: 2045442
Full text PDF: http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500125/


Management control systems perform a vital role in facilitating the accomplishment of organizational objectives. To effectively align the objectives of employees with those of the organization, firms balance multiple control mechanisms to encourage organizationally desired behaviors and discourage undesired behaviors. The purpose of my dissertation was two-fold. First, I assessed how changes in monitoring frequency influenced employee behaviors and the overall function of the management control system. Second, I investigated the effects of stretch goals on behavior to determine whether stretch goals can lead to harmful behaviors and whether continuous monitoring can mitigate these behaviors. Results suggest that individuals exert more effort when assigned a stretch or difficult goal compared to an easy goal. My study also finds that stretch goals can be harmful because of their effect on risk taking, goal commitment, and job insecurity. Finally, results indicate that accountability mediates the monitoring frequency-risk taking relationship such that continuous monitoring increases accountability and accountability decreases risk taking. However, the ability of monitoring frequency to decrease risk taking may depend on numerous factors. Results from this study allow practitioners to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of implementing continuous monitoring systems and the combined effects of using these systems in conjunction with compensation systems. Consequently, this study highlights necessary considerations for practitioners during the implementation continuous monitoring systems. The study also informs practitioners of the potentially harmful effects of stretch goals, the conditions under which they occur, and the possible ways to mitigate these effects.