Asymmetric Effects of Regulatory Focus on Expected Desirability and Feasibility of Embracing Self-Service Technologies


Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Yonggui Wang, Marketing Department, Business School, University of International Business and Economics, No. 10 Huixin Dongjie, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100029, China (


This research draws on regulatory focus theory to examine the asymmetric effects of regulatory focus (promotion focus versus prevention focus) on expected desirability and feasibility of using self-service technologies (SSTs) in a retail setting. To study consumers’ SST trial intention from the perspective of regulatory focus theory, this research first integrates the attributes of SSTs explored in prior studies into a desirability–feasibility framework. The proposed asymmetric effects of regulatory focus (promotion focus versus prevention focus) lie in both scope (on desirability, feasibility, versus both desirability and feasibility) and valence (positive versus negative): The promotion focus facilitates consumers to recognize both desirability (consumption value) and feasibility of using SSTs, whereas the prevention focus inhibits consumers from understanding the feasibility-related attributes of SSTs. In addition, it is proposed that the promotion focus contributes to the easement of consumers’ technology anxiety, whereas the prevention focus has a reverse effect. Furthermore, expected desirability (consumption value) and feasibility both positively influence consumers’ intention to adopt SSTs, whereas technology anxiety negatively affects consumers’ trial intention. Structural equation modeling is used to test the overall model, and the results support the hypotheses in general.