Consumers often encounter goods and services that provide cues to mark their progress. We define the term "goal progress cues" to reflect the diverse category of cues that highlight progress towards a goal. Across a series of three studies, we show that entity theorists, who rely on cues that highlight completion in order to signal their abilities to others, evaluate tasks that include these cues more favorably than those that lack these features. In contrast, incremental theorists, who focus on improving competence, are impacted only by progress cues that highlight learning. We demonstrate these findings across a variety of goal pursuit contexts that represent a mix of customer-centric (retail queues), service-oriented managerial (sales calls), and personal achievement consumer product (mazes) domains using both behavioral and self-reported measures. We conclude with a discussion about the theoretical and substantive implications of our findings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology