The attitude-behaviour relation

Date of publication: June 15, 1991

Author: Stephan Götze


The first and central part of this work introduces the history of attitude-behaviour research, focusing upon the endeavour to conceptualize the relation between attitudes and behaviour. Without going too deeply into the particulars of the different methods of attitude-measurement reviewed quite often elsewhere, this paper will contribute to the basic understanding of the relation between attitudes and overt behaviour, which is important for the social sciences as well as for contemporary marketing. Reviewing this history of research leads to the conclusion that in the behaviour- intention model by Fishbein & Ajzen the concepmalization (through the model components "attitude toward the behaviour to the object", "percepted social norms", and "intention") of the attitude-behaviour relation is accomplished in the most adequate way. In order to prove the high relevance of social influence upon attitude-behaviour-consistency, empirical findings will be presented. An applied example from psychological marketing research will then be used to show how knowledge about the influence of social norms on purchasing can be transferred for practicle use. After a detailed explanation of the behaviour-intention model, which belongs to the multi-attributive models, the importance of a further analysis of the relation between social influence, personal attitude, and the intention, will be made clear through a comparison of this model with classificatory attitude-behaviour models. In the second part of this paper, the statements about conceptualization of the attitude-behaviour relation will be completed with a summary of other variables which are relevant for the attitude-behaviour consistency (such as qualities of the situation, attitude, and behaviour). After having pointed to the importance of precise knowledge about the attitude- behaviour relation for marketing (especially for the measurement of purchase intention, product positioning, and psychological market segmentation) some propositions will be made as to how the findings of the attitude-behaviour research can be applied to solve the question of "How ?" for the evaluation of advertising vs. promotion.

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