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Attitude And Behaviour, Which Comes First?

2401 words - 10 pages

Nowadays, these are some experts argue that attitudes and behaviour, which one comes first? This topic is very important for people who are studying in Marketing, because they can easy to target the market, when they understand it. This essay will discuss this debate critically with reference to the literature in this area of consumer behaviours. Furthermore, it will give which side of the debate I agree with and explain why.Attitudes are defined as an overall evaluation. Attitudes can vary from person to person; two people when asked what their attitudes are will give two different answers. However attitude properties stay the same. These properties include valence, extremity, resistance, persistence, and confidence. Attitudes depend on two basic factors: beliefs and feelings. As such, understanding why consumers hold certain attitudes needs examining the underlying beliefs and feelings consumers have about the attitude object.These are some major writers' definition of the attitude. According to Sharp (cited in Franzen 1999)"Attitude stands for a general and lasting (consistent over time) positive, neutral or negative evaluation of a person, object, institution or event. The possibilities for changing attitudes are somewhat limited. Attitudes are relatively stable: they do change but very slowly."East (1997) also gives a similar but slightly different definition to what an attitude is"What we feel about a concept, which may be a brand, category, person, an ideology or any other entity about which we can think and to which we can attach feeling. Attitudes are thus about the evaluation that we given to a specific concept; they are not like mood, which is a generalized state of being with no clear focus, and they are not thought structures with no feelings attached."(East 1997),Marketers have often used attitude first theory from the work of several psychologists and writers (LaPiere, Ajzen & Fishbein) theories that used attitudinal research to predict behaviour.One such was LaPiere who conducted research on hotel managers' attitudes towards Chinese guests in 1934. He found that American hotel managers' generally had an unfavourable opinion and response towards Chinese guests. His study involved a Chinese couple who asked for a room in an American hotel, and he concluded that American hotel managers had negative attitudes toward Chinese guests; therefore hotel managers' behaviour was because of their attitude (LaPiere, 1934) In addition to LaPiere's research, marketers use Ajzen and Fishbein's theory of reasoned action, and Ajzen's theory of planned behaviour to explain why attitude precedes behaviour.According to Fishbein & Ajzen (1975) "the Theory of Reasoned Action" that intentions often predict behaviour quite accurately does not in itself provide much information about the reasons for the behaviour. It would improve our ability to predict behaviour. Intentions are a function of two basic determinants, one personal in nature and the...

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