Motivation and Goal Pursuit

Julie K. Norem

in The Oxford Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398991
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Motivation and Goal Pursuit


This chapter reviews motivation research that integrates person and situation perspectives. Personality and social psychologists pursue approaches to the study of human motivation that tend to be complementary and integrated, because they have had similar reactions to historical influences. Research tends to focus either on general motives, or on specific goals and goal pursuit processes. Within each focus, one can distinguish between implicit and explicit motives and goals, and approach and avoidance versions of motives and goal constructs. The chapter reviews implicit motive theory, self-determination theory, and research on goal structure, content, appraisal and pursuit. Implicit theories, life tasks, and self-regulation strategies (e.g., defensive pessimism) exemplify perspectives on motivation that integrate personal and situational factors using a functional approach. The chapter calls for further research on the relationship between implicit and explicit motivational variables, on congruence versus conflict in motivational systems, and on the integration of self-concept and motivational systems.

Keywords: motivation; goals; implicit motives; self-determination theory; self-regulation; life tasks; approach; avoidance; defensive pessimism; functional approach

Article.  22037 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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