PhD Defence Jorrit Alkema

In his dissertation 'READY, SET, GO(AL)! New Directions in Goal-Setting Research', Jorrit Alkema dove into the long contested field of employee motivation with his research into goal setting. He adds to the already compelling and accepted theoretical developments of goal setting research with his own through experiment focal experiments to provide remarkable additions to contemporary GST. His research takes the subject on a journey through motivations motives, from team goal setting, to exploring the psychology behind goal setting, to evaluating the effectiveness of individual goal setting. Jorrit successfully defended his dissertation on Friday 11 November 2022. His supervisors were Prof. Dirk van Dierendonck (RSM) and Prof. Steffen R. Giessner (RSM). Memebers of Jorrit's Doctoral Committee were Prof. Rudolf Kerschreiter (Freie Universitat Berlin), Dr Rebecca Hewett (RSM), and Prof. Daan Stam (RSM).


About Jorrit Alkema

Jorrit Alkema was born in ‘s-Gravenhage on September 4, 1988. He received his BSc in International Business Administration and his MScBA in Human Resource Management and Marketing Management from the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. After exploring the corporate world, in 2015 he started his PhD under the supervision of Steffen Giessner and Dirk van Dierendonck. Since September 2022, he has been working as a Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and Leadership at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

Thesis Abstract

Goals are an effective way to motivate and guide people’s behaviours. Extant research has shown the (direct) impact of goal-setting upon behavioural and psychological outcomes at individual, team, and organisational levels. As a result, goal-setting practices have been embraced by the corporate world, which enabled a unique back-and-forth between academia and industry that furthered theoretical developments in goal-setting research inspired by practitioners’ needs. This interchange keeps goal-setting theory (abbrev. GST) continually relevant. Moreover, it underscores the objective of the empirical chapters (i.e., chapters 2 – 4) in this PhD dissertation, which is – through experiments with different focal points – to provide theoretically profound and practically sound additions to contemporary GST discussions.
Chapter 2 centres on goal-setting in teams. Specifically, a reasoning is proposed on how individual team members’ ideas on team goals inspire team-set team goals and subsequent performance. Two studies reveal that teams polarise when they are asked to set team goals. This shift is rather aspirational and is more pronounced for maximal compared to minimal goals. Moreover, it shows positive implications for team task performance.
Chapter 3 examines how goals effectuate self-regulatory and psychological responses within individuals. Three studies demonstrate that assigning individuals a minimal or maximal goal results in differential goal internalisation and self-efficacy experiences. Moreover, over time, facing constant negative performance feedback, self-set goal standards and self-efficacy beliefs will lower, where the rate of decline can be lessened in case maximal (versus minimal) goals are assigned.
Chapter 4 studies the impact and effectiveness of individual stretch goals upon individual performance. Furthermore, the potential valuable role of task significance as a motivational resource is investigated. Three studies mostly reveal that setting individual stretch goals to levels that are (objectively) considered impossible and unattainable leads to higher individual productivity levels if a goal is accepted. This works irrespectively of efforts to enhance an individual’s perception of task significance.

View Photo's of Jorrit's PhD Defence Here

Photos: Michelle Muus / Michelle Muus Fotografie