A target (Greek τέλος [ telos ], latin finis, english objective, goal ) is a lying in the future, compared to what is present generally modified, desirable and desired state ( target ). A goal is thus a defined and desired state within a sequence of events, usually of a human act for a purpose. ' Target ' often designates the success of a project or a more or less complex work. Examples: quality objectives, corporate objectives or achieving a timing mark or at a sporting event. The term destination is usually a spatial target meant, ie a destination. Purpose is understood in this context as the ultimate goal or final cause.

Final means purposeful or goal-oriented in that sense.

Business Administration

In business administration, for example, economic, social and environmental goals and personal goals of employees is between corporate objectives, distinguished. Here are corporate goals standards by which entrepreneurial activity can be measured.

In business objectives ( profit targets ) can be followed by actions ( measures) and appropriate methods. This acts as a means of goal achievement can in turn be formulated as objectives ( measures or targets for action ), the other acts ( agent) can be tracked. If targets are connected to each other by such means - ends relationships, creating a target system or target hierarchy. Is a prerequisite for the formation of a hierarchy of objectives that the overall objective and the subordinate goal rectified ( complementary ) are. However, other target relationships are possible. It may happen that aims to exclude or hinder each other. In this case one speaks of konfliktären destinations and competing objectives or of a trade. In addition, goals can be neutral or indifferent to each other.


In cognitive psychology of motivation, the term " target" for two different situations used. First, the "target" a positive final call, the one organism strives through his behavior. Second, the "target" the subjective representation of such a state (actually a letter of intent ), respectively. Characteristics of a target are target content, time frame and degree of satisfaction. A goal is something that you may create. But you have to deal with many obstacles.

The organizational psychology has found that people react in organizations not only to external stimuli. They not only what is demanded of them, but they also act to achieve its own set of goals themselves. The goal of psychology is concerned with the effects which have characteristics of (subjectively represented ) objectives on the performance and subjective well -being.

Side effects of objective

While previous studies performance and motivation increase the negative side effects of rigid objective in the literature neglected by setting specific, challenging goals against vague confirm, were by Ordóñez, Schweitzer, Galinsky & Bazerman.

Too narrow a focus target is blind to important questions that do not seem to be associated with the actual target. Here are important goals that are not specified by the objective system, ignored, short-term goals are focused and allowed long-term goals in mind. If too many goals provided to employees focus on short-term, easily accessible and easily measurable goals. Quality is sacrificed for the benefit of the quantity, since it is easier to measure and manufacture. An improper time frame for goal achievement (eg, quarterly statements ) means that employees focus on short-term, quick -to-reach objectives while keeping the overall goal, for example, the total profit maximization neglect. The short-term goals are perceived as upper performance limits instead of the starting point.

Be plugged to aim high, it will affect negatively on the motivation. The goals are not even taken out of fear of failure in attack actually occurs a failure affects this future performance negatively, as the self- value is reduced by failure, which is directly linked to behavior, performance, commitment and dedication.

Especially the pursuit financially motivated goals influenced interpersonal behavior. Select negotiators riskier negotiation strategies to achieve their goals and close inefficient compromises that cover precisely the objective, but not, although this would have been possible to go beyond them. Furthermore, two types of unethical methods are motivated: unethical behavior, such as the implementation of unnecessary repairs to achieve sales, or twisted performance data such as the indication of five, instead of the hours actually worked two hours. Catalysts for this are lax oversight, financial incentives, and weak ethical commitment. In this case, the problem is that unethical methods are motivated not only by objective, but this also induce indirectly, through systematic, subtle changes in the corporate culture. The employees become competitors, Teamwork prevents Extra -role Behaviour is set.

Learning and creativity are undermined by targets with financial incentives. Since conservative methods will be rewarded, eliminating the need for innovation, trying out alternatives and the application of new methods, which may not be rewarded. Intrinsic motivation is extrinsic displaced ( displacement or Korrumpierungseffekt ).

Philosophical problems

The question whether only the man himself set goals or whether the nature of pursuing goals (see teleology ), was and is the subject of philosophical considerations. The vast majority of today's philosophies keeps targets only in human consciousness for existent; different view some religions and philosophies, for example, historicist, according to which the story boils down to a target.

Another problem is the question that man should sit or pursue the goals; this is a fundamental problem of ethics.

As part of fatalistic perceptions targets have no real chance of being realized, because the people are not given the necessary free choices. Fatalism is so associated with an absoluteness of the given circumstances. In contrast, in subjectivism and egoism, a absoluteness of personal goals without regard to the means and the realities take place. Faith in unrealistic goals can end ( Escapism ) in escapism.

Personal Goals

Personal goals give structure and meaning to everyday life. After Brunstein they are " concerns, projects and aspirations of pursuing a person in their daily lives and would like to realize in the future ." In research, there are several approaches that have dealt with the construct of personal goals. These are the constructs "current concerns" ( Klinger ) "personal projects" ( Little), life tasks ( Cantor ) and "personal strivings " ( Emmons ). Little and Cantor emphasize the plasticity and variability of personal goals in a given context. Consider personal goals as a result of an interaction of people (with their motives and values ​​) and the environment ( socio-cultural and age-specific life situation). Klinger measures personal goals more important than the to of personal concerns. Personal goals lead Klinger according to a specific objective, the importance of personal goals is expressed by the strength of affective commitment towards the goal.

Emmons, however, based his concept of personal aspirations on a higher level compared to specific concerns. Objectives are understood here as enduring personality traits, as reflected in its hierarchical model: a person's motives influence their personal aspirations, which in turn determine the specific concerns and projects, and ultimately result in very specific ( targeted ) actions. The difference between motives and aspirations expressed here: While the motives of a person cognitively not play a major role, the personal aspirations are significantly cognitively represented and thus individualize the motivation system of a person. Important findings of Emmons are:

Supplementary criteria

Can not be affected, the future state, it is desired, imagined or predicted, but not achieved by his own actions or the running process, you do not speak generally of a target. It is also often required that the person has consciously chosen to reach state in order to speak of a target can. Finally, one often represents the goal to have the necessary means to achieve these goals.

See also: A goal is a normative statement of a decision-maker on a future state can be influenced by active steps.