Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Being specific, not flexible, helps consumers achieve their goals

Date:
August 20, 2013
Source:
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.
Summary:
Worried you won’t meet your goal? According to a new study, you’ll be more likely to succeed if you make specific plans to implement it.

Worried you won't meet your goal? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, you'll be more likely to succeed if you make specific plans to implement it.

"Consumers believe that flexibility increases their chances of achieving a goal. While this is sometimes true, relatively rigid structures can simplify goal pursuit by eliminating the need to make demanding choices, ultimately making a goal less difficult to achieve," write authors Liyin Jin (Fudan University), Szu-Chi Huang, and Ying Zhang (both University of Texas, Austin).

The authors looked at what happens when consumers need to follow specific steps to reach a goal, as in many customer loyalty programs. For instance, yesmywine.com offers consumers a "Country Medal" if they purchase wine from a specific country each month, and gives customers a bonus if they collect 12 country medals in a specific order.

In one study, consumers who enrolled in a customer loyalty program at a yogurt shop had to make purchases in a particular order to earn a reward. Although people thought it would be harder to follow a specific order, the structure actually made it easier for them to reach the goal. Although consumers were less likely to join the program, they were more likely to make all the necessary purchases if they joined.

Consumers are more reluctant to pursue goals that require very specific steps because this makes them seem more difficult to reach. But even though it can be daunting to think of sticking to a strict plan, people should keep in mind that this practice actually makes it easier to achieve goals.

"While greater flexibility is generally thought to increase motivation, restrictions may, ironically, turn out be more productive. Rigidity streamlines goal pursuit by imposing a clear roadmap to reaching a goal. This simplifies the process and makes consumers more likely to achieve their goals," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Liyin Jin,szu-chi Huang, and Ying Zhang. The Unexpected Positive Impact of Fixed Structures on Goal Completion. Journal of Consumer Research, December 2013

Cite This Page:

Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. "Being specific, not flexible, helps consumers achieve their goals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820113926.htm>.
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. (2013, August 20). Being specific, not flexible, helps consumers achieve their goals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820113926.htm
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. "Being specific, not flexible, helps consumers achieve their goals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820113926.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The incentive is in keeping with a Russian superstition that it's good luck for a cat to be the first to cross the threshold of a new home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP oil spill could be a way to diminish years of costly litigation. A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins