Out of control: impact of goal structure on personal control and implications for consumer judgments


  • Khenfer Jamel


  • Goal structure
  • Personal control
  • Planning
  • Compensatory control

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Aim: This paper presents empirical foundations for the study of the effect of goal structure on consumer judgment through lack of personal control. Methods: Three experiments were conducted. Results: Our experiments indicate that mental representation of consumer goal does affect personal control in opposite direction according to goal structure, namely the representation of the focal goal from the related tasks and subtasks. Conclusion: Because perceived order in one's environment primarily derives from personal control, when feelings of personal control are low, people should seek for structure and order their environment. Such an heuristics should affect consumer judgments by preferring strict categories when his/her goal is not structured, and at the opposite, by embracing the chaos in the means allowing goal pursuit when his/her goal is highly structured. This paper demonstrate that manipulation of goal structure (high vs. low) affects personal control in opposite directions.

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