Work Domain Goal Orientation Instrument

VandeWalle, D. (1997). Development and validation of a Work Domain Goal Orientation Instrument. Educational and Psychological Measurement 57:995–1015.

Comments: The 16-item instrument measures the goal orientation of adults. An excellent summary of goal orientation instruments is included.

Scale Construction: Sample A completed the original pilot study that consisted of 50 items. Then based on the com- ments of focus groups and statistical analyses (reliability and exploratory factor analyses), Sample B completed the revised instrument. Factor analytic procedures were conducted and reliability estimates were obtained for Sample C. Test-retest reliability procedures were conducted for Sample D.

Sample: Four samples of volunteers were used. Sample A consisted of 66 college students from an undergraduate course in management. Sample B consisted of 198 college students from five sections of undergraduate courses in management. Sample C consisted of 239 community college students from 12 sections of courses in psychology and business management. Sample D consisted of 53 community college students from four sections of introductory courses in accounting.

Reliability: Reliability estimates (Cronbach alpha) for Sample C produced the following results for the three dimensions: 0.89 for learning; 0.85 for prove; and 0.88 for avoid. Test-retest reliability over three months were: 0.66 for learning; 0.60 for prove; and 0.57 for avoid.

Validity: Face validity was established through a panel of faculty and doctoral students in the area of management who reviewed the original 50 items based on the operational definitions of three goal orientations: learning, prove, and avoid. A principal components factor analysis was performed (Sample B). It yielded three factors: the learning scale (items 1 through 6); the prove scale (items 8 through 11); and the avoid scale (items 12 through 16). Additional reliability tests were performed and items 1 and 16 were deleted. The 13-item instrument (Sample B) was cross-validated with Sample C. An additional study was conducted to establish the construct validity of the instrument as well as its predictive validity.

Data Analysis: The results of the confirmatory factor analysis are presented (goodness-of-fit values for measurement models). In addition, the results of a hypothesized nomological network for goal orientation and correlations of goal orientations scales with other constructs are reported.


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Work Domain Goal Orientation Instrument

1. I often read materials related to my work to improve my ability.
2. I am willing to select a challenging work assignment that I can learn a lot from.
3. I often look for opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge.
4. I enjoy challenging and difficult tasks at work where I’ll learn new skills.
5. For me, development of my work ability is important enough to take risks.
6. I prefer to work in situations that require a high level of ability and talent.
7. I would rather prove my ability on a task that I can do well at than to try a new task.
8. I’m concerned with showing that I can perform better than my coworkers.
9. I try to figure out what it takes to prove my ability to others at work.
10. I enjoy it when others at work are aware of how well I’m doing.
11. I prefer to work on projects where I can prove my ability to others.
12. I would avoid taking on a new task if there was a chance that I would appear rather incompetent to others.
13. Avoiding a show of low ability is more important to me than learning a new skill.
14. I’m concerned about taking on a task at work if my performance would reveal that I had low ability.
15. I prefer to avoid situations at work where I might perform poorly.
16. When I don’t understand something at work, I prefer to avoid asking what might appear to others to be “dumb ques- tions” that I should know the answer to already.

Scoring: Strongly Agree = 6; Agree = 5; Agree Somewhat = 4; Disagree Somewhat = 3; Disagree = 2; Strongly Disagree = 1.