Horner, Margaret Tutt (2008-08). Toward an understanding of when and why situational constraints influence performance. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • The current study sought to explain when and why situational constraints negatively influence performance on a complex task. In particular, perceived control and affective reactions (frustration and satisfaction) were examined as potential explanatory mechanisms, while ability and motivation were tested as moderators. The influence of situational constraints on task strategies was also examined and tested for possible nonlinearity. Finally the extent to which task strategy use moderates the situational constraint-task performance relationship was investigated. A laboratory study using 158 undergraduate psychology students was conducted. Three levels of situational constraints (low, moderate, high) were experimentally manipulated. Performance on a problem solving execution task, as well as experimenter observations of strategy use, were used to represent the constructs of interest in the study. Results indicated that situational constraints were directly related to task satisfaction and frustration and performance. In addition task strategy use was directly related to performance. However, there was no evidence for mediation or moderation effects. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
  • The current study sought to explain when and why situational constraints
    negatively influence performance on a complex task. In particular, perceived control
    and affective reactions (frustration and satisfaction) were examined as potential
    explanatory mechanisms, while ability and motivation were tested as moderators. The
    influence of situational constraints on task strategies was also examined and tested for
    possible nonlinearity. Finally the extent to which task strategy use moderates the
    situational constraint-task performance relationship was investigated. A laboratory
    study using 158 undergraduate psychology students was conducted. Three levels of
    situational constraints (low, moderate, high) were experimentally manipulated.
    Performance on a problem solving execution task, as well as experimenter observations
    of strategy use, were used to represent the constructs of interest in the study. Results
    indicated that situational constraints were directly related to task satisfaction and
    frustration and performance. In addition task strategy use was directly related to
    performance. However, there was no evidence for mediation or moderation effects.
    Limitations and future directions are discussed.

publication date

  • August 2008