Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Parker, Chris P.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Employee motivation--Psychological aspects; Job enrichment--Psychological aspects


Work motivation theorists have only recently addressed the importance of studying nonconscious motivation in addition to conscious motivation and the relationship between the two. The primary purpose of the current investigation was to further develop work motivation theories by investigating the individual and joint effects of conscious, chronic, and nonconscious achievement goals on task performance (i.e., performance on a brainstorming task). Further, in addition to priming a nonconscious achievement goal through a sentence unscrambling task, the current study aimed to trigger a nonconscious achievement goal through a more work-related environmental cue - motivational posters. Additionally, the current study investigated whether a motivational prime or a chronic high achievement goal would cause one to set higher goals and subsequently affect task performance. Finally, the current study investigated the integrative method of personality assessment by assessing the combined effects of implicit and explicit achievement motivation and explicit fear of failure. It is argued that examining and combining both implicit and explicit measurement methods provides a clearer understanding of why individuals perform as they do. Overall, study results indicated a direct effect of conscious goal and a marginal effect of nonconscious goal on task performance. Specifically, a difficult goal resulted in higher task performance versus the combination of easy, do-your-best, and self-set goals. Additionally, the achievement-primed participants performed at a marginally higher level versus the motivational-posters-primed and neutral-primed participants. Hence, exposure to motivational posters did not trigger a nonconscious achievement goal. Further, motivational primes did not cause one to set higher goals, and participants with a chronic high achievement goal were not more likely to set higher goals versus participants with a nonchronic high achievement goal. Finally, the integrative method of personality assessment indicated that different interactive combinations of implicit and explicit achievement motivation and explicit fear of failure resulted in different levels of task performance, indicating that solely relying on explicit or implicit indicators of personality may be overly simplistic.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [91]-97).


x, 151 pages




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