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Philipp D. Werenfels, PhD (2005)
Alliant International University
San Diego, CA


Committee Chairperson:  Delbert M. Nebeker, PhD

Executive Summary
The purpose of this dissertation was to extend goal-setting research by incorporating optimism as a moderating variable.  A diverse sample of 298 adults from several businesses and educational institutions located in Phoenix, Arizona, and San Diego, California, participated in the study.  Participants were randomly assigned to either an easy goal or difficult goal condition.  All completed the Revised Life Orientation Test (LOT-R) and three timed trials of a simple clerical task; rated their commitment to their assigned goal, their perception of the goal difficulty of their assigned goal, their satisfaction with their performance, and their expected and desired performance score; and answered some demographical questions.

Three hypotheses were tested to explore the moderating effects of optimism on the relationships
(a) goal difficulty and performance
(b) initial performance and subsequent performance on a second trial, and
(c) performance and satisfaction with performance.

The data did not support these hypothesized moderating relationships.  Whereas optimism did not moderate the relationship between goal difficulty and performance, a post hoc analysis revealed that satisfaction with performance moderated the relationship between success and subsequent performance.  This suggested that optimism is a stable trait-like personality characteristic, whereas satisfaction is a more state-like personality characteristic influenced by success.  Thus, a more task-specific version of the LOT-R might better predict performance in task-specific settings.  Other findings showed that optimism was positively related to subsequent performance by very optimistic people who had received negative feedback.  Moreover, optimism positively related to satisfaction with performance, commitment, and a single-item Pessimism-Optimism Scale.

Some Implications for Businesses
In today’s competitive business environment, organizations search for ways to increase their competitiveness.  The results of this study may help organizations to gain insight into employees’ behaviors.  Organizations may be able to increase their productivity by contributing to their employees’ satisfaction and commitment.  Furthermore, organizations that consider optimism as a value-added variable in the selection process and hire and fill key positions will outperform organizations that do not find value in the concept of optimism.

Please contact Dr. Werenfels for additional information.



Nebeker, D. M., Busso, L., Werenfels, P. D., Diallo, H., Czekajewski, A., Ferdman, B. (2001). Journal of Quality Management, 6(1), 27-43.

Abstract
Is employee satisfaction linked to organizational performance and customer satisfaction? Satisfaction data from 12,842 employees at 60 airport stations and performance data of those stations was used to explore the relationship between satisfaction levels and airport station performance. Results indicate that traffic volume and some dimensions of employee satisfaction are related to performance and that traffic volume and employee affective commitment interact in accounting for customer satisfaction.



2001

Creating FastCat’s Team & Qualifier Compensation System

Training Needs Assessment Survey

Effects of  Relationship-Fit, Experience, and Employment Type on Coaching

Executive Coaching and Assessment Centers

Effects of Executive Coaching in Changing Attitudes and Behaviors of Coachees


2000

Consulting in Thailand: Thailand’s Culture, Economy, and “the Thai-way” of doing Business

A Growing Bistro Business


1999

Employee Interviews on Cultural Diversity Topics: A Field Work Report


1998

How Can a Company Maintain Its Corporate Culture During Fast Growth?


1997

How Do/Can Companies Identify the Needed Qualities (Soft Skills) of its Employees in Order to Reach an Efficient and Effective Performance in their Technical Departments (with Focus on Computer Departments)?



 
     
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