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

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.


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.


Andrew Mitchell, University of Toronto
Meng Zhang, University of Toronto


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 31 | 2004

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


Faster than Fact: Consuming in Post-Truth Society

Robert Kozinets, University of Southern California, USA
Rossella Gambetti, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
Silvia Biraghi, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart

Read More


The Best of Both Worlds: Androgyny in Consumer Choice

Niusha Jones, University of North Texas
Blair Kidwell, University of North Texas

Read More


Don’t Tell Me Who I Am! When and How Assigning Consumers an Identity Backfires

Noah Castelo, Columbia University, USA
Kirk Kristofferson, Ivey Business School
Kelley Main, University of Manitoba, Canada
Katherine White, University of British Columbia, Canada

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.