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Do goal orientations really influence performance?

Carlos M.P. Sousa (Faculty of Business Administration and Social Sciences, Molde University College, Molde, Norway)
Filipe Coelho (Universidade de Coimbra, CeBER, Faculdade de Economia, Coimbra, Portugal)
Susana C. Silva (Católica Porto Business School and CEGE, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 8 December 2022

Issue publication date: 31 January 2023




The creativity of retail employees seems to be of the utmost importance for ensuring the performance of organizations in service settings. This paper contributes to the existing theory by investigating the direct and indirect effects of goal orientations on the creativity and performance of retail employees. The authors propose a framework depicting the relationships between goal orientations and employee creativity and performance, including the intervening effects of self-efficacy and customer orientation.


The study was conducted with retail frontline employees of a large retail bank in Portugal. The sample consists of 267 valid responses. Structural equations are used by applying the maximum likelihood method to test the conceptual framework.


Results are broadly supportive of the hypotheses. Learning orientation is, directly and indirectly, related to creativity, but only indirectly to performance. As to performance orientation, it is indirectly related to creativity through self-efficacy and customer orientation, and directly as well as indirectly, to performance. The authors investigate the extent to which the effects of goal orientations on creativity and performance are mediated by self-regulatory mechanisms, namely self-efficacy, and customer orientation.


The results recognize that learning and performance goals are neither mutually exclusive nor contradictory, which collide with past empirical evidence showing that learning goals are generally associated with more favorable outcomes and performance goals with more negative or equivocal ones. These outcomes underscore the need and relevance for managers to foster both goal orientations to promote the creativity and performance of retail employees, representing a particularly salient issue in retail businesses characterized by significant interpersonal interactions.



The author, Filipe Coelho, would like to acknowledge the support of national funds through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., Project UIDB/05037/2020. The author, Susana C. Silva, would like to acknowledge the financial support from CEGE – Research Centre in Management and Economics, funded by the Multiannual Funding Programme of R&D Centres of FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, under the project UIDB/00731/2020.


Sousa, C.M.P., Coelho, F. and Silva, S.C. (2023), "Do goal orientations really influence performance?", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 51 No. 2, pp. 262-283.



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