Triandis’ Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour
If there is one key element in the social psychology of behaviour that is still missing from Stern’s ABC model, it is the role of habit. Stern (2000) acknowledges this and proposes that an integrated model of environmentally significant behaviour would consist of four factors: 1) attitudes; 2) contextual factors; 3) personal capabilities; and 4) habits. The general thrust of Stern’s suggestion is very similar to an attempt made almost thirty years ago by social psychologist Harry Triandis to develop an integrated model of ‘interpersonal’ behaviour. Triandis recognised the key role played by both social factors and emotions in forming intentions. He also highlighted the importance of past behaviour on the present. On the basis of these observations, Triandis proposed a Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour (Figure 4) in which intentions – as in many of the other models – are immediate antecedents of behaviour. But crucially, habits also mediate behaviour. And both these influences are moderated by facilitating conditions. Behaviour in any situation is, according to Triandis, a function partly of the intention, partly of the habitual responses, and partly of the situational constraints and conditions. The intention is influenced by social and affective factors as well as by rational deliberations. One is neither fully deliberative, in Triandis’ model, nor fully automatic. One is neither fully autonomous nor entirely social. Behaviour is influenced by moral beliefs, but the impact of these is moderated both by emotional drives and cognitive limitations. Social factors include norms, roles and self-concept. Norms are the social rules about what should and should not be done. Roles are ‘sets of behaviours that are considered appropriate for persons holding particular positions in a group’ (Triandis, 1977). Self-concept refers to the idea that a person has of his/herself, the goals that it is appropriate for the person to pursue...
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