Transactive Goal Dynamics Theory: A relational goals perspective on work teams and leadership

Gráinne M. Fitzsimons*, Esther Sackett, Eli J. Finkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Transactive Goal Dynamics (TGD) Theory is a multi-level, relational theory of goal pursuit that can be used to understand behavior within organizational teams. The theory describes the nature of goal-related interdependence (called transactive density) within dyads and groups, and predicts when transactive density will have positive versus negative consequences for goal-related outcomes. TGD Theory states that within many close dyads and teams, individuals’ goals, pursuits, and outcomes come to affect each other in a dense network of goal-related interdependence, with the individuals possessing and pursuing goals oriented toward themselves, other members of the system, and the system as a whole. This article discusses novel implications of the theory for the understanding of organizational teams and team leadership, and constraints on relational dynamics within organizational contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-155
Number of pages21
JournalResearch in Organizational Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Dyads
  • Goals
  • Multi-level
  • Teams


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