An Analysis of Martin Fishbein's Theory of Reasoned Action

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Buyer Behavior and Market Research.
Time-Constrained Assessment 1.
Renate Smith.
Myles Warden-Owen
Level 2


1. How feasible are the theories outlined above? Are some parts in the process more important than others? If so, which parts?

Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen developed the Theory of Reasoned Action (1975, 1980). “This resulted from attitude research from the Expectancy Value Models. Ajzen and Fishbein formulated the TRA after trying to estimate the discrepancy between attitude and behavior. This TRA was related to voluntary behavior. Later on behavior appeared not to be 100% voluntary and under control, this resulted in the addition of perceived behavioral control.”

Gordon Allport formulated a definition that “attitudes are learned predispositions to respond to an object or class of objects in a consistently favorable or unfavorable way.” In other words, an attitude is a person’s overall evaluation of a concept. The theory of reasoned action, stated by Ajzen and Fishbein, suggests that if a person intends to carry out a behavior, it is likely that they will do so. Attitudes are always weighted by evaluations of a person’s beliefs. Another example, which highlights peoples beliefs, relates to sports; Sports may be good for one’s health, Sports may be time consuming, Sports may be a strain and uncomfortable. All of these beliefs are weighted.

Henry Assael (1983) agreed with the theories and stated how these ‘attitudes’ can be used to predict consumer behavior. The marketing strategy looks at predicting consumer behavior, and attitudes are key in order for a firm to help predict consumer’s behavior. This therefore gives the firm a competitive advantage over their rivals. Thus, Ajzen and Fishbein’s theory is very feasible and can be applied to everyday life.

The idea however, was rejected by Sheppard et al. (1988), who made several limiting conditions that proved the idea was false. The...