Promotion or Prevention Messaging?: A Field Study on What Works When You Still Have to Work

Marta Roczniewska , E. Tory Higgins


This article addresses the timely subject of the reactions toward a Sunday trade ban in Poland. The law introduced in March 2018 created a division among service employees: (1) those who used to work on Sundays before the law and now enjoy work-free Sundays, and (2) those who used to work and still have to work on Sundays. Although the objective circumstances did not change for this latter group, their current status quo (0) now had a new better state (+1) as a contrast reference point. Hence, this group experiences a non-gain rather than a loss. Using the framework of regulatory focus (Higgins, 1997) and regulatory fit (Higgins, 2000) theories, we predicted that the individuals in the non-gain condition would process a promotion (vs. prevention)- framed message more fluently. We also predicted that processing fluency would enhance fairness perceptions among these employees. To test these predictions, we conducted a field experiment, manipulating message framing among two groups of service employees: those who gained and those who did not gain as a result the Sunday trade ban. Analysis of variance revealed that employees in a non-gain promotion framing condition processed the message more fluently than those in a prevention framing condition. A moderated mediation analysis also showed that the processing fluency resulting from fit created higher fairness perceptions. Repercussions for communicating about organizational non-gain changes are discussed.
Author Marta Roczniewska (Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie)
Marta Roczniewska,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie
, E. Tory Higgins
E. Tory Higgins,,
Journal seriesFrontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishinformation framing, reference points, regulatory focus theory, regulatory fit, organizational change, Sunday trade ban
ASJC Classification3200 General Psychology
Languageen angielski
Roczniewska Promo_Preve_2018.pdf 275.4 KB
Additional file
Roczniewska oświadczenie 2018.pdf 268.57 KB
Score (nominal)35
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 1.006; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.089 (2) - 2017=2.749 (5)
Citation count*2 (2021-01-21)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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