Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2014

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Business Administration

First Advisor

William M. Hedgcock

First Committee Member

Catherine A Cole

Second Committee Member

Dhananjay Nayakankuppam

Third Committee Member

Amy E Colbert

Fourth Committee Member

Paul D Windschitl


This dissertation comprises three essays that investigate how goal progress influences information processing and subsequent goal pursuit. Essay 1 demonstrates how perceived goal progress influences construal level. I propose that people perceiving low progress will pay more attention to specific means or subacts, which are required to effectively achieve their goals (a lower level of construal), whereas people perceiving high progress will consider the general meaning or value of their goal (a higher level of construal). Based on this relationship between goal progress and construal level, I further predict that fit between goal progress and goal construal (i.e., abstract vs. concrete goal construal) will enhance self-regulation as a result of increasing engagement. Across various domains of self-regulation, I show that fit between goal progress and goal construal increases engagement, which in turn influences subsequent self-regulation.

Extending the motivational influence of fit between goal progress and construal level, essay 2 shows how to effectively persuade people to pursue their goals depending on goal progress. Based on the relationship between goal progress and construal level in essay 1, I propose that fit between goal progress and the construal level of message framing leads to greater persuasion than would nonfit. Three studies reveal that as people perceive greater progress, messages framed in an abstract, high construal level are perceived to be more persuasive than messages framed in a concrete, low construal level.

Finally, essay 3 demonstrates how goal progress affects subsequent goal pursuit, specifically perceptions of and preferences for means that serve a single (i.e., unifinal means) or multiple goals (i.e., multifinal means). Based on cognitive theories of goals and motivation, I show that greater goal progress leads people to structure goals more inclusively than lesser goal progress. The inclusive structures further increase perceived instrumentality and preferences for multifinal means versus unifinal means. Across three studies, I demonstrate that greater goal progress increases perceived instrumentality of multifinal means relative to unifinal means. I further show that the inclusive representations of goals and means underlie the impact of greater goal progress on the perceived instrumentality of and preferences for multifinal means.


Construal Level, Goal Progress, Goal Pursuit, Information Processing, Self-Regulation


x, 119 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 114-119).


Copyright 2014 Joo Young Park