Trying to Consume

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Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.

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pursuit of An important but relatively neglected area of consumer behavior-the addressed. Two recent modifications of the Fishbein model are disgoals-is cussed, and an extension is introduced to better explain goal pursuit. Major revisuccess, sions include (1) specification of three dimensions of attitude-toward failure, and the process of trying, (2) the incorporation of self-efficacy judgments as expectations of success and failure, and (3) refinement in the specificity of referents and their correspondence to reflect trying as the focal explanatory concept. Recency and frequency of past trying are independent variables in three models tested with weight loss data.

research has traditionally focused on behaviors that are reasoned, a core model of which is Fishbein's theory of reasoned action (Ajzen and Fishbein 1980; Fishbein and Ajzen 1975; Lutz 1977). Recently, however, considerable attention has turned to the examination of goals, using Fishbein's model as a startingpoint and adaptingand expanding it so that the resultant frameworkencompasses goals in addition to reasoned behaviors (Ajzen 1985; Ajzen and Madden 1986; Bagozzi 1990; Schifter and Ajzen 1985; Sheppard,Hartwick, and Warshaw 1988; Warshawand Davis 1985; Warshaw,Sheppard,and Hartwick, forthcoming). In this article, we discuss the differences between reasoned behaviors and goals, showing how goals are important in the consumer behavior domain. Then we present two theories of goals that have been proposed but not yet tested empirically; the theory of goal pursuit (TGP) developed by Warshaw et al. (forthcoming) and Ajzen's (1985) theory of planned behavior (TPB).' Next, we introduce an extended frameworkthat we label the theory of trying (TT). Finally, we present a comparative test of the three models with respect to the goal of losing weight, focusing on trying as a process variable. "Richard P. Bagozzi is the Dwight F. Benton Professorof Behavioral Science in Management and Marketing, School of Business Administration, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, and Paul R. Warshawis associate professor of marketing, School of Business, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407. The authorsare listed alphabetically,since each contributed equally to the research. Appreciation is expressed to David Litvack, who provided access to some of the subjects, and Jagmohan Raju, who aided in the set up of the data. Special thanks go to Youjae Yi and Donald Bacon, who helped with the analyses. Finally, the input of two anonymous JCR reviewers is acknowledged with appreciation. 127


The key assumptions underlying theories of reasoned behaviors (see, e.g., Fishbein and Ajzen 1975) are (1) that action is preceded by a deliberative process culminating in a conscious decision to act and (2) that, if the individual tries to act, no impediments are likely to stand in the way, such as ability limitations, lack of money, environmental contingencies, and unconscious habits. Behaviors subject to such impediments (e.g., purchasinga new...
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