The effect of goal-orientation on observational learning within the context of comparison with a high-performing coworker The differential mediating effect of self-setting goal level

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TaeYong Yoo
HyoIm Choi


Why some learn lessons from a high-performing coworker’s behavior and apply to themselves whilst others do not? The aim of the current research is to understand the characteristics of those who do learn lessons by observing high-performing coworker’s behaviors even though the interaction with them may be threatening. Specifically, we suggest that high-LGO(learning goal orientation) individuals and high-PPGO(performance prove goal orientation) individuals are observing high-performing coworker's behavior intention. Also, based on the motivated action theory, we argue that individuals with a different goal orientation set higher goal level with a different referenced goal level (i.e., self vs. other). The data from American full-time employees (n=221) has revealed that both LGO and PPGO had a positive relationship with observational learning. In addition, self-referenced goal level mediated the relationship between LGO and observational learning, while other-referenced goal level mediated the relationship between PPGO and observational learning. Based on the results, the implications of this study and the directions for future researches were discussed with limitations.


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Yoo, T., & Choi, H. (2021). The effect of goal-orientation on observational learning within the context of comparison with a high-performing coworker: The differential mediating effect of self-setting goal level. Korean Journal of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 34(4), 697–721.
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