The Impact of Consumer Choice Goals on Inovativeness

The Impact of Consumer Choice Goals on Inovativeness

Jose Carlos Korelo (Federal University of Parana, Brazil), Danielle Mantovani Lucena da Silva (Federal University of Parana, Brazil) and Paulo Henrique Muller Prado (Federal University of Parana, Brazil)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6547-7.ch008


Consumer innovativeness is one of the most explored concepts in new product adoption literature. Nevertheless, the intention to adopt novelties, specifically in a product category domain, still needs exploration of what happened during the choice process. Consumers can build their decision about whether to adopt innovation based on their hierarchy of choice goals. The authors propose this hierarchy is driven by the regulatory focus system, based on promotion (justifiability and choice confidence) and prevention goals (anticipated regret and evaluation costs). In order to demonstrate this reasoning, the authors compared “most innovative” versus “less innovative” consumers, regarding their prevention and promotion goals. The most innovative ones demonstrated higher justifiability and choice confidence and showed more capabability of avoiding an anticipated choice regret when compared with the less innovative consumers. The differences explored in the analysis highlight the necessity of further understanding how consumers perform during the choice process of innovative products.
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People pursue their goals, beginning with some motivational orientation, some concerns or interests that provide energy and direct their actions toward the goals. The main basis of goal direct theory is that people approach pleasure and avoid pain (Higgins, 1997). For instance, in the consumption context, choices are an intrinsic part of the concernes consumers must deal in order to achieve their goals. Before buying products or services, consumers can read consumer-generated product reviews with a focus on expecting positive consumption outcomes. Consumers can also refer to product reviews with an emphasis on preventing negative consumption outcomes such as dissatisfaction, and regret. These opposing consumption patterns illustrate the two distinct self-regulatory goals highlighted in regulatory focus theory (Higgins 1997; Kwon & Sung, 2012). The theory distinguishes between two major categories of desired goals: those that relate to attaining positive outcomes such as advancement, achievement, and aspirations (termed promotion goals), and those that relate to avoiding negative outcomes, such as responsabilities, obligations and security (termed prevention goals). According to this motivational theory, individuals with a promotion focus will regulate their behavior toward positive outcomes, and those with a prevention focus will regulate their behavior away from negative outcomes (Liberman, Molden, Idson & Higgins, 2001).

Several studies have explored the choice process topic of research (Chernev, 2006; Thompson, Hamilton & Rust, 2005; Scott & Nowlis, 2013) and specifically, some studies (Herzenstein, Posavac & Brakus, 2007; Alexander, Lynch Jr & Wang, 2008) emphasize that it is important to understand consumer’s behavior that are more interested in trying new products and services. Bettman (Bettman, Luce & Payne, 1998) proposed that consumers usually have a set of goals, which are pursued during most of the choice situations. Furthermore, studies of the choice process must consider the choice goals in order to understand the heuristict strategies that consumers use to decide which product to buy (e.g. Payne, Bettman, 2007; Heitmann, Lehmann & Herrmann, 2007).

These goals may impact consumers’ decisions and therefore, it has become relevant to understand how choice goals influence consumers’ innovativeness, and how this relationship applies to the organizational strategy. In order to achieve this goal, an extension of a partial model, proposed by Heitmann, Lehmann and Hermann (2007) is suggested in this study, relating the innovativeness in a product category domain to the choice goals. The choice goals are analyzed from the self-regulation perspective (Higgins, 1997). The use of self-regulation approach to analyze innovation and decision processes, highlights the possibility of exploring how these two variables relate to each other in the consumer behavior context. The importance of Heitmann, Lehmann and Herrmann (2007)’s study to understand the choice goals, lays in the fact they have classified these goals according to the regulatory focus theory, which was proposed by Higgins (1997). Thus, there are goals, which are pursued in order to avoid negative consequences of the choice, and goals, which are pursued in order to achieve positive results of the choice process.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Choice Confidence: Choice confidence is defined as the self-rated confidence in the correctness of the decision ( Heitmann, Lehmann & Herrmann, 2007 ).

Prevention-Focus: The prevention focus is characterized by sensitivity to negative results and an attempt to avoid them. For those individuals with a prevention focus, success and failure are considered to be the absence or presence of negative results, respectively ( Higgins, 1997 ).

Promotion-Focus: A promotion focus involves the attempt to achieve positive results and seeks to reduce the discrepancies between the current state and the desired end-state. Individuals with a promotion focus understand success and failure as the presence and absence of positive results, respectively ( Higgins, 1997 ).

Self-Regulation: Self-regulation introduces the concept of regulatory focus, which underlies the hedonic principle that people seek pleasure and avoid pain ( Higgins, 1997 ). This theory has two foci: promotion and prevention, which are different in their strategies to achieve a final end state.

Evaluation Costs: Evaluation costs are the time and effort costs associated with the search and analysis during the choice process. Time and effort are associated with collecting the information needed to evaluate potential alternative options ( Burnham, Frels& Mahajan, 2003 ).

Justifiability: The justifiability is the ability to justify the choice ( Heitmann, Lehmann & Herrmann, 2007 )

Choice Goals: Choice goals are the ones that people try to attain during a product selection and the attainment of these choice goals determines the satisfaction with the decision-making process ( Heitmann, Lehmann & Herrmann, 2007 ).

Innovativeness: Tendency to adopt innovations, characterizd in three different levels. The actualized innovativeness (the degree to which an individual is relatively earlier in adopting an innovation than other members in its social system), domain-specific innovativeness (the tendency to learn about and adopt innovations in a product category) and innate innovativeness (inner cognitive style of consumers that presents an inherent tendency to try new things or the willingness to change), whereas the abstraction increase from the first to former level ( Midgley & Dowling, 1978 ).

Innovation: Rogers (2003) explains that an innovation is an idea, practice or object that is perceived as new by the individual. Thus, a product will be considered an innovation only if it adds new attributes and/or benefits, and consumers are more likely to adopt an innovation if it is perceived as useful and important to the individual.

Anticipated Regret: Bettman, Luce and Payne (1998) and Heitmann, Lehmann and Herrmann (2007) state that decision makers feel that they are being evaluated by others (e.g., family and friends) and by themselves about their decisions. As a consequence, consumers try to anticipate regret and do this by searching for more information, in order to maximize the accuracy of their decision.

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