ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (4): 682-690.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00682

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Regulatory focus theory: Application in organizational management research

MAO Changguo   

  1. (School of Labor Economics, Capital University of Economics and Business, Beijing 100070, China)
  • Received:2016-07-12 Online:2017-04-15 Published:2017-04-15
  • Contact: MAO Changguo, E-mail:


People adopt different strategic ways during goal pursuit. To understand individual’s underlying motivational principle, the regulatory focus theory distinguishes two self-regulation strategies. Promotion focus, serving nurturance needs, motivates individual to approach positive outcomes and acquire accomplishments; while prevention focus, serving security needs, stimulates individual to avoid negative outcomes and realize responsibilities. Although originated from social psychology literature, regulatory focus theory has had significant impacts on the organizational management research. The current paper clarifies the concept and operationalization, reviews empirical findings in organizational studies, and concludes with theoretical implications and directions for future organizational research.

Key words: regulatory focus, regulatory fit, promotion focus, prevention focus