The Bad Can Be Good: When Benign and Malicious Envy Motivate Goal Pursuit
Darren W Dahl,
Linda L Price and
Journal of Consumer Research, 2019, vol. 46, issue 2, 388-405
Benign and malicious envy are a consequence of an unfavorable upward comparison to another individual (i.e., a negative self-other discrepancy). Benign (malicious) envy occurs when people believe the envied individual deserves (does not deserve) his/her advantage. Prior research has shown that benign envy motivates a person to address the self-other discrepancy via self-improvement, whereas malicious envy does not. This research shows that both types of envy, not just benign envy, can motivate self-improvement, provided that the opportunities to do so occur outside the envy-eliciting domain. Benign envy increases the accessibility of the belief that effort determines whether people are rewarded; hence, it motivates process-focused goal pursuit and the use of products that emphasize effort-dependent self-improvement. Malicious envy increases the accessibility of the belief that the effort does not determine whether people are rewarded; hence, it motivates outcome-focused goal pursuit and the use of products that emphasize effort-independent self-improvement. Implications and potential extensions in the areas of envy, self-conscious emotions, and goals are discussed.
Keywords: self-conscious emotion; benign envy; malicious envy; goal pursuit; self-improvement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:46:y:2019:i:2:p:388-405.
Access Statistics for this article
More articles in Journal of Consumer Research from Oxford University Press
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oxford University Press ().