The impact of goal (non)attainment on consumer preference through changes in regulatory focus
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Purpose: Previous research has investigated how performance outcome impacts effort and subsequent goal pursuit. However, little is known about the incidental impact of goal (non)attainment on consumer preference via changes in regulatory focus. This paper aims to suggest that performance feedback has a direct impact on consumers’ regulatory focus, which in turn influences their attitudes and preferences toward future events. Additionally, the authors assess the extent to which emotions arising out of goal (non)attainment play a critical role in the process. Design/methodology/approach: In a series of three experiments, this paper demonstrates that goal (non)attainment induces a specific regulatory focus, which in turn interacts with the frame of an upcoming advertisement to impact consumer preference. Findings: This research demonstrates that previous goal (non)attainment interacts with the framing of an upcoming message (promotion vs prevention) and impacts consumer preference. The authors also find initial evidence for the role of emotions on the relationship between goal (non) attainment and preferences for regulatory-focused message frames. Practical implications: The findings have important implications because they reveal consumers’ preferences after goal (non)attainment. Originality/value: This study complements prior research by integrating two research streams (goal pursuit and regulatory focus) to address an open question of whether/how goal (non)attainment impacts message persuasiveness and consumer preference through changes in regulatory focus. Therefore, this research is intended to contribute to the literature by addressing the interacting effects of goal attainment and regulatory focus on consumer decisions and the role of emotions in this process. © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited.