Motivational Consequences of Perceived Velocity in Consumer Goal Pursuit

Huang, Szu-chi; Zhang, Ying
December 2011
Journal of Marketing Research (JMR);Dec2011, Vol. 48 Issue 6, p1045
Academic Journal
The authors explore the interplay between consumers' progress levels toward attaining a goal and the perceived velocity in progressing toward the goal to determine consumers' motivation for further goal pursuit. The authors propose that when progress toward attaining a goal is low, consumers are primarily concerned about the question 'Can I get there??' Thus, a high (vs. low) perceived velocity in progressing suggests greater expectations of goal attainment, resulting in greater motivation for pursuing the goal. However, when consumers have achieved sufficient progress and are approaching the end point, their attainment of the goal is relatively secured, so they become more concerned about the question 'When will I get there??' and focus more on whether they are effectively reducing the remaining discrepancy so that they can attain the goal quickly. In this case, a low (vs. high) perceived velocity in progressing elicits greater motivation because it suggests that continued effort is needed to ensure a speedy attainment. Empirical evidence from lab and field experiments supports this hypothesis.


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