It is established in the marketing literature that people increase their effort in a recurring goal framework when the goal difficulty increases, because their experience of success upon goal achievement leads to higher selfefficacy. It is not yet established, however, whether this mechanism also applies to a gamified environment without monetary incentives or quasi-monetary benefits. Using data from a popular German Question & Answer community in which goals are represented in the form of badges we empirically investigate the impact of successful goal achievement on the base level of effort to attain the next goal in a hierarchical recurring goal framework. Our findings indicate that after successful badge achievement users increase their subsequent base level of effort to attain the next badge, but only as long as the badge just achieved represented a challenge to the user. We identify self-efficacy as the key driver of this behavior and provide additional experimental evidence in support of this explanation.

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Journal of Business Research
Department of Technology and Operations Management

Gutt, D., von Rechenberg, T., & Kundisch, D. (2019). Goal Achievement, Subsequent User Effort and the Moderating Role of Goal Difficulty. Journal of Business Research. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.06.019