When Goal Violation Prompts Justification: Conflicting Goals and Reason Based Choices

Posted: 23 Apr 2011 Last revised: 29 Jun 2016

Kelly Goldsmith

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Ravi Dhar

Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance

Date Written: June 23, 2010

Abstract

This article explores the processes by which consumers make choices when goals conflict and their implications for preferences. Drawing from research on goal systems theory and behavioral decision theory, we posit that when all choice options serve one goal that conflicts with an incidentally activated goal, consumers will be more likely to choose an option that is seen as unique and special. We argue that this occurs because goal conflict causes consumers to experience an increased need to justify their choice, and an option’s ability to offer a unique and special experience can provide such a justification. Our results demonstrate these effects, find support for the proposed underlying process, and identify relevant boundary conditions. We conclude with a discussion of the theoretical implications for these findings.

Keywords: goals, self-control, conflict, justification, choice

Suggested Citation

Goldsmith, Kelly and Dhar, Ravi, When Goal Violation Prompts Justification: Conflicting Goals and Reason Based Choices (June 23, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1817908 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1817908

Kelly Goldsmith (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Ravi Dhar

Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance ( email )

Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

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