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Predicting Behavior By Attitudes Essay

1508 words - 6 pages

Predicting Behavior by Attitudes

Attitudes can be very complex, a product or service may be composed of
many attributes or qualities some of which may be more important than
others to certain people. Furthermore, a persons decision to act on
his or her attitude is affected by other factors, such as approval by
family and friends. For this reason, multiattribute models have been
constructed and are extremely popular among marketing research.

Many models have been constructed but the most influential model is
that of Fishbein 1973. The Fishbein multiattribute model argues that
attitudes can predict behaviour. It measures three components of
attitude. Salient beliefs people have about an attitude object,
object-attribute linkages and an evaluation of each. The example of
Sandra's college choice (Solomon, Bamossy and Askegaard) illustrates
this. Sandra considers which attributes are important in forming an
attitude about each college and then assigns a rating regarding how
well each college performs on that attribute e.g. reputation, cost,
party atmosphere etc. then she determines the importance of each
attribute to her. The overall attitude score (A) is obtained by
multiplying her rating of each attribute by the importance rating for
that attribute.

This model has many strategic applications, for example, capitalise on
relative advantage, if Sandra rates a college highly on party
atmosphere but she does not think this attribute is an important one,
the college can emphasise why it would be. Other strategies would be
to strengthen attribute linkages, add a new attribute or influence
competitors' ratings. These strategies have all been used successfully
in marketing. However, the model assumes that all relevant attributes
have been specified, which may not be the case and also assumes that
the consumer will go through the process of weighing and summing all
relevant attributes, which is highly involving and doesn't allow for
an overall affective response. In many cases knowledge of a person's
attitude is not a very good predictor of behaviour. Many studies have
obtained a very low correlation between a person's reported attitude
towards something and his or her actual behaviour towards it. (Wicker
1969). For, instance Stacey 1981 found only a small correlation
between attitudes and alcohol consumption. Furthermore, the model
doesn't consider people's past behaviour, despite evidence that this
is a good predictor of future behaviour. (Bagozzi 1991). Previous
performance of a behaviour helps to explain the extent of the person's
actual behavioural control in a particular situation. (Kashima et al
1992).

Following on from this criticism the Fishbein model was extended to
improve its predictive ability. This revised version is the theory of
reasoned action (Azjen and Fishbein...

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