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Theory of planned behavior - Literature review Example

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Theory of Planned Behavior: Literature Review Name University Theory of Planned Behavior The theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1985; Ajzen and Madden, 1986; Schifter and Ajzen, 1985) is a psychological tool which can be used to assess the likelihood of people performing a certain action or behaving in a certain manner and explain the same…
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Download file to see previous pages The theory of planned behavior focuses on the intention of a person to perform a particular behavior and relates it to the likelihood of the behavior actually being exhibited. This is similar to the original theory of reasoned action. While gauging intention, the model does not simply deal with a binary set of choices (yes or no). Instead, it measures the motivational factors behind the behavior such as how hard one would be willing to try and how much effort they would be willing to put in to perform the behavior. However, it is important to remember that the intention to perform the behavior can only influence the actual performance if the person has volitional control over the behavior i.e. they can decide to perform or not perform the behavior at will. (Ajzen 1991) Another factor that significantly influences the chances of the behavior being expressed is the person’s actual control over the behavior. This refers to the resources at their disposal and the availability of opportunities requisite for them to perform the behavior (eg: time, money, energy, cooperation, intelligence etc.). For example, a child could intend to participate in the 100 yard race at his school’s annual sports event. He may be willing to try his hardest, run as fast as he can and train as hard as possible. However, if he suffers an injury a day before the event, he would not have the resources necessary (in this case physical fitness) to exhibit the behavior. Therefore, as long as the person has the intention and the actual control necessary to perform the behavior, there is a high likelihood of the behavior being performed (according to the theory of planned behavior). The importance of actual behavioral control is obvious. The resources and opportunities available to the person definitely influence the chances of that behavior being performed to a certain extent. Another important factor is the perceived behavioral control. Perceived behavioral control is what distinguishes the theory of planned behavior from the theory of reasoned action. It refers to the person’s opinion of how easy or difficult it would be for them to exhibit the behavior in question and their confidence in their ability to do it. Take for example the phenomenon of stunt biking. Almost every teenager who owns a bike would like to be a stunt biker and impress his or her peers with their daring feats. They have the resources required to do it (in this case an open stretch of road and a bike). Still, very few of them actually try doing a ‘wheelie’ or a ‘stoppie’ or any other such stunt, because the rest are not confident of their ability to successfully exhibit this behavior. This is why perceived behavioral control is an important influence in the exhibition of a said behavior and can be used to predict the probability of success of behavioral expression in an individual. The theory of planned behavior has more utility than merely predicting behavior. It also attempts to explain the behavior, dealing with attitudes and subjective norms which influence the final outcome. The theory suggests that, at the most rudimentary level, the behavioral intent is a function of the person’s salient beliefs with respect to the behavior. These salient beliefs have been further segmented into behavioral beliefs which influence the person’s attitude towards the behavior, normative beliefs which take the influence of subjective norms into consideration and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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