Marketing Letters

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 241-254

First online:

A theoretical framework for goal-based choice and for prescriptive analysis

  • Kurt A. CarlsonAffiliated withThe Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
  • , Chris JaniszewskiAffiliated withWarrington College of Business Administration, University of Florida
  • , Ralph L. KeeneyAffiliated withThe Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
  • , David H. KrantzAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Columbia University
  • , Howard C. KunreutherAffiliated withThe Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Mary Frances LuceAffiliated withThe Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
  • , J. Edward RussoAffiliated withJGSM, Cornell University Email author 
  • , Stijn M. J. van OsselaerAffiliated withRSM Erasmus University
  • , Detlof von WinterfeldtAffiliated withLewis Hall, University of Southern California

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This paper extends the familiar multi-stage framework for choice by explicitly describing the role that goals play at each stage. We first present a typology of goals, ranging from content to process and from immediate to long-term illustrating it in the context of two examples—purchasing a new car and earthquake retrofitting. We then delineate each stage of the choice process based on recent advances from the descriptive literature on the influence of the various goals. Finally, we draw the prescriptive implications as to how goals can inform what we know, or need to know, about the choice process.


Goals Choice process Prescription