The authors examined contextual dynamics and individual differences as moderators of the relationship between goal-performance discrepancies and time allocation among competing demands. As hypothesized, a complex 3-way interaction was observed among environmental volatility, relative progress, and time on resource allocation. When goal progress was determined only by the performers' actions (low environmental volatility), greater time was allocated to the least discrepant goal early on and to the most discrepant goal toward the end of available time. In contrast, when goal progress was also influenced by unpredictable external factors (high environmental volatility), greater time was allocated to the most discrepant goal early on and to the least discrepant goal as the deadline neared. Individual differences in goal orientation further influenced this relationship within a volatile context, with these relationships also varying across time. Under such conditions, those with a strong mastery orientation allocated more time to toward the most discrepant task, whereas those with a strong avoidance orientation allocated more time to the goal closest to being attained. The implications for theory and research on dynamic time allocation are discussed.
- goal orientation
- goal-performance discrepancies
- multiple goals
- resource allocation