This paper examines the effect of regulatory focus on consumer satisfaction. In contrast to the disconfirmation of expectations model of satisfaction, we find that, although regulatory focus does affect consumers' expectations, the effect on satisfaction cannot be explained by differences in those expectations. Instead, our results reveal a direct effect of consumers' regulatory focus on satisfaction that is based on the conservative bias of prevention-focused consumers. Compared to promotion-focused consumers, prevention-focused consumers protect against making errors and demonstrate a conservative bias in their evaluations of satisfaction. The results of two experiments demonstrate this conservative bias, showing that, compared to promotion-focused consumers, prevention-focused consumers are less satisfied with positive outcomes and more satisfied with negative outcomes.
- Promotion and prevention
- Regulatory focus