How Endowed versus Earned Progress Affects Consumer Goal Commitment and Motivation

How Endowed versus Earned Progress Affects Consumer Goal Commitment and Motivation

By
Ying Zhang, Szu-chi Huang
Journal of Consumer Research. December
2010, Vol. 37, Issue 4, Pages 641-654

Because consumers ask different questions to establish commitment at beginning versus advanced stages of goal pursuit, we propose that progress that they attribute to themselves and to the situation will have a distinctive impact on motivation, depending on their relative position in goal pursuit. When progress on achieving a goal is low, people are concerned about its attainability. Because attributing low progress to self (vs. to the situation) signals a higher difficulty of goal attainment, it leads to lower goal commitment and, subsequently, decreased motivation. Conversely, when progress on achieving the goal is high and attainment of the goal is relatively secured, people are more concerned about the value of the goal. Because attributing a high progress to self (vs. to the situation) signals a greater value of the goal, it should lead to greater goal commitment and, subsequently, higher motivation.