Theory of Reasoned Action
Theory of reasoned action refers to a model of behavioral intention prediction that spans attitude and behavior predictions. Subsequent separation of behavior from behavioral intentions allows for limiting factors’ explanation on the basis of attitudinal influence. Icek Ajzen and Martin Fishbein developed the theory of reasoned action between 1975 and 1980.
This theory was derived from past studies that began as attitude theory and eventually led to behavior and attitude studies. This theory originated from frustration with the traditional behavior and attitude studies. Most studies in this field established weak correlations between the measures of attitude and volitional behaviors’ performance. Initially, the theory related to voluntary behavior but it was noticed later that the theory was not 100 percent voluntary. Under control, it later led to addition of the perceived behavioral controls.
According to the theory of reasoned action, behavior of an individual is determined by their intention to perform it and that in turn, the intention is a function of their attitude towards that behavior and their subjective norm. Intention is the best behavior’s predictor. The theory suggests that cognitive representation of the readiness of an individual to perform a particular behavior is their intention. Intention is the immediate antecedent of a behavior.
Three factors determine the intention to perform a particular behavior. These are:
- Attitude towards a particular behavior
- Subjective norms
- Perceived behavioral control
This theory holds that behavior prediction is only expected from specific attitudes towards it. Additionally, subjective norms of an individual should be measured when evaluating behaviors. This entails the beliefs that an individual has on how people that they care about will take or view their behavior. Intentions are also influenced by perceived behavioral control. This refers to perceptions of an individual of his or her ability to perform a particular behavior. These are predicators that cause an intention.
As a rule of this theory favorable attitude and subjective norms as well as greater perceived control increase the intention of an individual to perform a particular behavior. Other factors that may influence behavior do so indirectly by influencing subjective norms or attitude. These factors are considered as external variables by the theory.
For instance, these variables may include the characteristics of a task, development implementation, organizational structure and political influences. Mata-analysis of this theory has shown that it can give good predictions of choices that individuals make when they have several alternatives.
Theory of reasoned action has gotten considerable and justifiable attention in the consumer behavior field.
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