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Despite its widespread media acclaim and recognition as a strategic imperative, the role of grit in organizational research remains unclear. This ambiguity resulted from inconsistent empirical findings, thus triggering a pessimistic outlook for the construct across disciplines. To address these issues, we suggest that such confusion and lack of construct and predictive validity stem from not only methodological issues but also a lack of theoretical sophistication. In this article, we address methodological issues, focusing mainly on construct and criterion-related validity, by showing how traditional definitional components of grit are absent in existing measures. Next, we address theoretical issues impeding progress by developing a new work motivation conceptualization of the construct. To do so, we focus primarily on noncognitive ability, purpose-driven long-term goal setting, and task strategy (i.e., short-term goal) adaptation. Finally, we develop an organizing framework examining how, and under what conditions, work-related goal setting manifests, highlighting grit’s distinction from other historically related constructs. Coupled with the assumption that individuals hold higher order organizational goals toward which they are passionate, our organizing framework includes feedback mechanisms accounting for grit’s developmental properties over time. Finally, we acknowledge significant areas for future research and potential practical implications.


Centre for Sustainable HRM and Wellbeing

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Journal Article

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