The influence of early efficacy beliefs on teams' reactions to failing to reach performance goals
Although a considerable amount of theoretical and empirical attention has been devoted to understanding individuals' responses to goal–performance discrepancies (GPDs), little attention has been devoted to examining how teams respond to GPDs. The present research sought to examine how teams responded to negative GPDs. We predicted that failing to reach higher goals would be perceived as less negative than failing to reach lower goals, and we examined the moderating influence of setting higher versus lower goals on how teams responded to performance that fell short of those goals. We also examined the role that efficacy beliefs that were formed early in those teams played in further explaining these effects. Results from 94 teams who all failed to reach self-set goals revealed that teams that failed to reach higher goals downwardly revised their goals less than teams that failed to reach lower goals. Early efficacy beliefs further explained these effects. High efficacy beliefs lessened the negative effects of failing to reach lower goals on subsequent goals. High efficacy beliefs also lessened the negative effects of failing to reach higher goals while low efficacy beliefs strengthened the negative effects of failing to reach higher goals. The implications of these findings for theory, research, and practice are discussed.