The influence of consumers’ accessible self-construal on the effects of goal framing and message framing : promoting healthy and pro-social behavior
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Motivation is a necessary impetus to prompt a behavior. Although motivation is experienced at such a minimal level that it remains unnoticed, it determines subsequent cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses. The current dissertation investigates effective message strategies to persuade consumers in order to motivate them to engage in advocated behaviors. Based on the tenets of Self Determination Theory, a seminal theory in motivation, the study examined the effects of goal framing (Study 1) and message framing (Study 2) in a persuasive communication context. Further, this study integrated the theoretical framework of Self-Construal Theory to identify a boundary condition of the traditionally proposed persuasion effects. The results revealed that superior persuasion effects of intrinsic goal framing (vs. extrinsic) and autonomy-supportive message framing (vs. controlling) held true only when consumers’ independent self-construal was accessible. This dissertation contributes to the motivation and persuasion literature streams by demonstrating the moderating role of consumers’ accessible self-construal on persuasion effects. Study 1 provided empirical evidence that the effects of goal framing (intrinsic vs. extrinsic) could be moderated by consumers’ accessible self-construal. Study 1 also demonstrated that consumers’ experienced autonomy varied depending on one’s situationally accessible self-construal, which contributes to a better understanding of autonomous motivation. Study 2 extended the findings of Study 1 and offered additional support that consumers’ accessible self-construal does indeed moderate motivation on persuasion effects. Specifically, Study 2 revealed that autonomy-supportive message framing (vs. controlling) increased consumers’ autonomous motivation and resulted in enhanced persuasion only when an independent self-construal is accessible. To date, the theoretical framework of Self Determination Theory has been limitedly used in persuasive communication, and the current work sheds light on the understudied area of the effects of goal framing and message framing in the context of persuasion. Overall, this dissertation revealed that the tenets of Self Determination Theory do not always hold true, but vary depending on consumers’ accessible self-construal. Findings of Study 1 and Study 2 add to prior literature in the realm of motivation and provide significant managerial implications to the field of consumer behavior and social marketing in terms of developing persuasive message strategies.