What is Your Overarching Goal? One of these three…


This is a bit of midstream processing… I am in the middle of a fascinating article from the academy of management perspectives. Normally I write when I have digested things a bit more, but this time I can’t wait…

Nicolai Foss and Siegwart Lindenberg discuss the (lacking) microfoundations for strategy in this article. More on that in a later post. They indicate that Goal-framing theory is all about the fact that we all have a particular overarching goal which governs all kinds of subgoals and thereby change what we prefer and how we act…

There are three distinctive overarching goals:

  1. Hedonic Goal – the desire to improve or preserve the way one feels right now;
  2. Gain Goal – the desire to improve or preserve one’s resources; and
  3. Normative Goal – the desire to act appropriately in the service of a collective entity.

Now, Hedonic goals come rather easy and normative goals need a stronger cue (gain goals are in between). If a leader signals they are in a normative goal frame (i.e. focussing on the collective entity which is associated with highest levels of value creation), it will greatly help to ground this goal frame in team members…. AND, if not, it will weaken the normative goal frame in others.

The basic reasoning is that only one of these overarching goals can be focal (or activated) at any given time, which means the other overarching goals will be in the background and the foreground goal will truly frame the situation: It governs what we attend to, what alternatives we consider, and what alternatives we consider.

What is your overarching goal?




6 thoughts on “What is Your Overarching Goal? One of these three…”

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