Nudging Persistence After Failure Through Emergency Reserves

57 Pages Posted: 18 May 2021

See all articles by Marissa Sharif

Marissa Sharif

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Suzanne B. Shu

University of California, Los Angeles - Anderson School of Management

Date Written: May 16, 2021

Abstract

Along the path of struggling to reach their personal and organizational long-term goals, the experience of an initial subgoal failure can lead individuals to feel less committed to their overall goal and even to give up entirely on reaching it. In one field study and three lab studies, we examine the ability of a cost-free nudge to decrease the detrimental impact of subgoal failure on goal attainment. More specifically, we demonstrate that framing goals with emergency reserves, a type of slack, can motivate individuals to persist after subgoal failures, leading to better performance on long-term goals, compared to objectively equivalent goals without slack. After failing to reach a subgoal, we found that individuals with goals framed with emergency reserves felt a greater sense of perceived progress, causing them to feel more committed to their goal, and thus increasing their likelihood of persisting at their goals.

Keywords: emergency reserve, nudge, goals, persistence, goal failure

Suggested Citation

Sharif, Marissa and Shu, Suzanne B., Nudging Persistence After Failure Through Emergency Reserves (May 16, 2021). Sharif, M.A. & Shu, S.B. (2021). Nudging Persistence After Failure Through Emergency Reserves. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 163, 17-29., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3847379

Marissa Sharif (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Suzanne B. Shu

University of California, Los Angeles - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
46
Abstract Views
354
PlumX Metrics