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Promotion and Prevention Fit Are Different but Lead to Equal Performance: Examining Fit Sensitivity and Task Performance
Gladfelter, Jessica A.
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Regulatory focus theory encompasses promotion focus, seeking success and prevention focus, avoiding failure. These mutually exclusive focuses, when matched with the appropriate goal pursuit strategy, promotion with eager and prevention with vigilant, create a state of regulatory fit. This state of regulatory fit leads to different outcomes which the current study has grouped into fit sensitivity and performance. Fit sensitivity is the sensitivity to fit effects with an absence of correctness while performance outcomes are based in correctness. The goal of the current study was to examine both fit sensitivity and performance in the same task to demonstrate a difference in fit sensitivity effects between types of fit while showing equal performance between promotion and prevention fit. An applicant hiring simulation was implemented. 24 applicant profiles for the position of police officer were generated, six with high risk/ variable reward elements meant to align with individuals in a state of promotion fit, six with low-risk/consistent-reward elements meant to align with individuals in a state of prevention fit, and six applicant profiles with a high probability of succeeding and finally six applicant profiles meant to have a low probability of succeeding. Participants rated the applicant profiles on their suitability and recommended 12 applicants to be hired. Initial results did not support the hypotheses, however exploratory analysis did demonstrate fit sensitivity for prevention fit. Additional exploratory analyses are discussed and possible explanations for the lack of results are examined.
General Audience Abstract
Regulatory focus theory includes two types of motivational orientations, promotion focus which centers on seeking success and prevention focus which centers on avoiding failure. If the way an individual’s pursues a goal (goal pursuit strategy) matches his or her regulatory focus orientation then he or she is considered to be in a state of regulatory fit. This state leads to various outcomes different than if an individual is in a state of non-fit. In the current study I have grouped these consequences into two types: fit sensitivity and performance. Essentially fit sensitivity is when the consequences seen do not have a correctness component and may be difference depending on the type of regulatory fit (promotion and prevention). Performance is when there is a correct or incorrect component to the outcome. The goal of the current study was to show that although fit sensitivity outcomes may be different for promotion fit and prevention fit, both fit states can lead to the same performance. With the initial analysis hypotheses were not supported but exploratory analysis did lend some support for prevention fit sensitivity. Discussion includes possible explanations for the lack of fit effects found.
- Masters Theses