Something's Got to Give: The Effects of Dual-Goal Difficulty, Goal Progress, and Expectancies on Resource Allocation

Aaron M. Schmidt, Chad M. Dolis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


The current study developed and tested a model of the interplay among goal difficulty, goal progress, and expectancy over time in influencing resource allocation toward competing demands. The results provided broad support for the theoretical model. As predicted, dual-goal expectancy-the perceived likelihood of meeting both goals in competition-played a central role, moderating the relationship between relative goal progress and resource allocation. Dual-goal difficulty was also found to exert an important influence on multiple-goal self-regulation. Although it did not influence total productivity across both tasks combined, it did combine with other model components to influence the relative emphasis of one task over another. These results suggest that the cumulative demands placed by multiple difficult goals may exceed individuals' perceived capabilities and may lead to partial or total abandonment of 1 goal to ensure attainment of the other. The model helps shed light on some of the conflicting theoretical propositions and empirical results obtained in prior work. Implications for theory and research regarding multiple-goal self-regulation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-691
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


  • dynamic self-regulation
  • expectancies
  • goal-performance discrepancies
  • multiple goals
  • resource allocation


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