Resolving Goal Conflict: the Effect of Regulatory Focus on Product Choice

Andrew Mitchell, University of Toronto
Meng Zhang, University of Toronto
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - Considerable research has examined how a single active goal directs consumer behavior (e.g. Huffman and Houston, 1993; Garbarino and Johnson, 2001). For example, a consumer with a goal to be healthy will choose healthy food, while a consumer with a goal to use convenience products will leave the grocery store toting plastic grocery bags. Very little research, however, has examined how multiple conflicting goals interact to direct consumer behavior. Why do we select fruit salad despite the high-fat delights that catch our eye? Why do we enjoy the convenience of a non-recyclable grocery bag when this convenience conflicts with our environment values? The difficulty in coordinating multiple goals is a fundamental challenge in everyday life. This paper extends a burgeoning area of research examining the effects of self-regulatory focus on goal pursuit (e.g. Shah et al., 1998; Aaker and Lee, 2001). We propose that a consumer’s regulatory focus can predict his/her choice between two different products, which satisfy different activated goals at different levels of the goal hierarchy.
[ to cite ]:
Andrew Mitchell and Meng Zhang (2004) ,"Resolving Goal Conflict: the Effect of Regulatory Focus on Product Choice", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 31, eds. Barbara E. Kahn and Mary Frances Luce, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 142-143.