Close but No Cigar: The Joint Impact of Goal Type and Goal Completion Magnitude on Consumer’ Post-Goal Behavior

Title

Close but No Cigar: The Joint Impact of Goal Type and Goal Completion Magnitude on Consumer’ Post-Goal Behavior

College

Strome College of Business

Program

Ph.D. Business Administraation - Marketing

Publication Date

3-28-2019

Abstract

Goal pursuit represents an important psychological mechanism under loyalty programs. Although academic research on loyalty programs has examined the extent to which consumers succeed or fail in reward-goal pursuit, insufficient attention has been paid to the consequences of such successes or failures. Addressing this gap, this paper draws upon research on goal pursuit and counterfactual thinking to examine the effect of goal completion magnitude on individuals’ effort toward achieving subsequent goals, and how maintenance versus attainment goal types moderate this relationship. Analyses of flight activities from 5,719 members of a major airline’s frequent flyer program reveal that (1) individuals who failed (vs. succeeded) at achieving an attainment goal will put more (vs. less) effort into subsequent goal pursuit than individuals who failed (vs. succeeded) at fulfilling a maintenance goal; (2) goal achievement magnitude has a linear effect on future goal pursuit effort under a maintenance goal, such that the more one completed his/her previous goal, the more effort he/she will invest in the subsequent goal cycle; and (3) under an attainment goal, goal achievement magnitude has a reverse U-shaped effect, such that substantial goal achievement in the previous goal cycle creates a surprising hampering effect (i.e., close-but-no-cigar effect) on subsequent goal pursuit. Instead, moderate achievement of the previous goal leads to the most effort invested in subsequent goal pursuit. These results and the proposed underlying processes are further explored in two lab experiments.

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Close but No Cigar: The Joint Impact of Goal Type and Goal Completion Magnitude on Consumer’ Post-Goal Behavior


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