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The Virtue of Persistence

By Edwin A. Locke, University of Maryland, and Kevin J. Williams, SUNY Albany Aline Masuda EADA Business School

Everyone knows the value of resilience and persistence when trying to publish, but our story is an outlier even in that context. We thought we would share our perhaps quixotic and in hindsight somewhat humorous journey in hope that it encourages others to persevere.

Our paper, “The Effect of Simultaneous Learning and Performance Goals on Performance: An Inductive Exploration” (Masuda, Locke, & Williams, 2014), published in the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, was unique (at least in our view) in two important respects: (a) It was the first study (actually two studies) to look at the effects of specific learning and performance goals when given at the same time; (b) it found a variety of curvilinear relationships never seen before in the goal setting literature.

Over a period of 6 years the paper was rejected by six A journals, a B journal, and a C journal. Getting rejected is now a normal experience for everyone but what is more interesting were the types of reasons given. 1. The most frequent (and virtually universal) criticism was that we submitted the manuscript as inductive rather than deductive.…Continue reading in the April issue of TIP.


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