What drives you? : a dynamic analysis of motivation in different stages of goal pursuit

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2013-05

Authors

Huang, Szu-Chi

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Abstract

While a substantial body of research has documented how consumers' levels of progress, in general, influence their motivation in goal pursuit, the changes in the determinants of motivation in different stages of goal pursuit and their impact on consumers' self-regulation remain largely unexplored. Specifically, what are the factors consumers focus on when they first start to pursue a goal versus when they are approaching the end point of the pursuit? My dissertation explores this important question from three different angles: the perceived velocity, the mental representation of progress level, and the perceived closeness with others who are pursuing the same goal. Through three essays, we found that when people first begin to pursue a goal and the attainability of the goal is a concern, they are motivated by a fast speed of progressing, tend to exaggerate the progress they have made so far, and seek companionship from others who are pursuing the same goal, to enhance the belief that the goal is indeed attainable. However, once they reach the advanced stage of the pursuit and the attainability of the goal is relatively secured, they switch to focus on the remaining discrepancy and seek to reduce this gap in a timely manner; therefore, in this advanced stage of the pursuit they are conversely motivated by a slow speed of progressing, tend to downplay the progress they have made to exaggerate the remaining discrepancy that still needs to be completed, and such intense progress monitoring also leads to competitiveness against others who are pursuing the same goal as them.

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