Complaint or recommendation? The impact of customers' state and trait goal orientations on customer engagement behaviors

Xinxin Chen, Hongyan Yu, James W. Gentry, Fang Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The importance of customer engagement behaviors (CEBs) has been widely acknowledged in marketing. CEB encompasses an interactive relationship with the engaged object. A customer's personality characteristics play an important role in the interactive process. So it is necessary to examine how customer's personality characteristics influence customer engagement behaviors. However, there has been relatively less empirical research examining the impact of a customer's personality characteristics on CEBs. Customer goal orientation (promotion orientation vs. prevention orientation) is one such important personality characteristic. This research examined how customer goal orientation influenced CEBs. We used a priming technique to examine the relationships between the customer's state goal orientation and the customer's recommendations and complaints in study 1. The results showed that customers with state promotion-focused goal orientations initiated more recommendations than the customers with state prevention-focused goal orientations. For complaints, the difference between these two groups was not significant. Study 2 investigated the impact of trait goal orientation on the customer's recommendations and complaints. The results showed that the trait promotion-focused goal orientation customers were more likely to initiate both recommendations and complaints behaviors than the trait prevention-focused goal orientation customers. The findings of the research demonstrate that customer goal orientation is an important influence on positive and negative CEBs, and state and trait goal orientations have different impacts on CEBs. This research helps companies aiming to improve their customers' CEBs by suggesting which type of customers (in terms of goal orientation) are more likely to engage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-194
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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