Let’s understand the Theory of reasoned action (Ajzen and Fishbein)

Yesterday we talked about the theory of reasoned action by Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen (1975, 1980) in a Communication Theory session.

The result is that I feel totally lost between all these new notions, which are: normative beliefs, subjective norms, behavioural beliefs, control beliefs, perceived behavioural control etc.

SO, that’s why I decide today to define each of these term to make a sens of it !

Let’s go



Behavioral Beliefs

‘A behavioral belief is the subjective probability that the behavior will produce a given outcome. Although a person may hold many behavioral beliefs with respect to any behavior, only a relatively small number are readily accessible at a given moment. It is assumed that these accessible beliefs — in combination with the subjective values of the expected outcomes — determine the prevailing attitude toward the behavior. Specifically, the evaluation of each outcome contributes to the attitude in direct proportion to the person’s subjective probability that the behavior produces the outcome in question’ (Azjen)

to clarify: those accessible beliefs + subjective values ==> determine this attitude that explain this behaviour

Well, it’s not that clear

Attitude toward the behaviour

‘Attitude toward a behavior is the degree to which performance of the behavior is positively or negatively valued. Attitude toward a behavior is determined by the total set of accessible behavioral beliefs linking the behavior to various outcomes and other attributes.’ (Ajzen)

Normative Beliefs

‘Normative beliefs are individuals’ beliefs about the extent to which other people who are important to them think they should or should not perform particular behaviors.’

(source: http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/BRP/constructs/normative_beliefs/normative_beliefs.pdf)

To clarify: if I go to a wedding and choose not to sleep in the same hotel than my family, they might find this weird and unpolite, so they may want me to choose the same hotel = normative beliefs

‘It is assumed that these normative beliefs — in combination with the person’s motivation to comply with the different referents — determine the prevailing subjective norm.’ (Ajzen)

Normative beliefs +  motivation to comply ==> determine the subjective norms

Subjective norms

Subjective norm is the perceived social pressure to engage or not to engage in a behavior. It is assumed that subjective norm is determined by the total set of accessible normative beliefs concerning the expectations of important referents. Specifically, the strength of each normative belief  is weighted by motivation to comply with the referent in question

(Source: http://people.umass.edu/aizen/sn.html)

To clarify: during a business travel this person will choose the same luxurious hotel than his/her colleagues rather than the cheapest one because otherwise he/she would feel ashamed/ excluded by them = subjective norms

Control Beliefs

Control beliefs have to do with the perceived presence of factors that may facilitate or impede performance of a behavior. It is assumed that these control beliefs — in combination with the perceived power of each control factor — determine the prevailing perceived behavioral control. Specifically, the perceived power of each control factor to impede or facilitate performance of the behavior contributes to perceived behavioral control in direct proportion to the person’s subjective probability that the control factor is present.

To clarify: this hotel is too expensive for my budget, but i’m on Holidays I can enjoy it anyways = cpntrol beliefs

Perceived behavioral control

‘Perceived behavioral control refers to people’s perceptions of their ability to perform a given behavior. It is assumed that perceived behavioral control is determined by the total set of accessible control beliefs, i.e., beliefs about the presence of factors that may facilitate or impede performance of the behavior. ‘ (Ajzen)

To clarify:  when a smoking person says “I don’t think I am addicted because I can really just not smoke and not crave for it,” = perceived behavioral control


Intention is an indication of a person’s readiness to perform a given behavior, and it is considered to be the immediate antecedent of behavior


Behavior is the manifest, observable response in a given situation with respect to a given target.

Beliefs, values, behavior… Well, what the difference??

Monday, 30th of september

Today I search some definitions on Marketing Mentor for the next session of ‘Communication Theory’ course.


‘Beliefs are the ideas , viewpoints and attitudes of the particular group of society. They are consists of fables, proverbs, myths, folklore ,traditions, superstition, education and etc. that influence the ideas, values, emotions, perceptions and attitude of the members of the society. They also think and decide on particular course of action which they believe conform on the sets social experience in the society.’

Source: http://savior.hubpages.com/hub/beliefsinsocilogy


‘Culturally defined standards held by human individuals or groups about what is desirable, proper, beautiful, good or bad that serve as broad guidelines for social life.’

 Source: http://sociology.socialsciencedictionary.com/Sociology-Dictionary/VALUES


‘Perceptual and learning processes may lead to the formation of attitudes.These are predispositions, shaped through experience, whereby individuals respond in an anticipated way to an object or situation.

Attitudes are learned through past experiences and serve as a link between thoughts and behaviour. These experiences may relate to the product itself, to the messages transmitted by the different members of the channel network (normally mass media communications) and to the information and experiences supplied by opinion leaders, formers and followers.

Attitudes tend to be consistent within each individual: they are clustered and very often interrelated.

This categorisation leads to the formation of stereotypes, which is extremely useful for the design of messages as stereotyping allows for the transmission of a lot of information in a short time period without impeding learning or the focal part of the message.’

Source: http://www.marketingmentor.net/wp/?wpid=2854


In marketing, the way a customer acts towards a product or brand. Here is a behavioural segmentation:

  1. General behavioural characteristics.

These could be formed around the person’s:

    • Lifestyle
    • Hobbies and pastimes
    • Where and when they go on holiday.
    • Their attitude to shopping/buying behaviour (e.g., where, when and how much they spend)
    • What they do on specfic occasions, such as birthdays, or Easter.
  1. Brand specific behavioural characteristics

This could include:

    • The particular needs they have and therefore benefits they seek.
    • Their degree of  brand loyalty.
    • Their frequency of brand use, or purchase, for example multi-buyers, or repertoire buyers, or first time buyers, or just prospects.
  1. Or specific behavioural characteristics, for example by media usage.

For example:

    • What search tool (e.g. Google, Bing or Yahoo!) do they use? Why?
    • Which sites do they view most regularly?
    • Do they create their own user-generated content online?
    • What other digital/other media do they use? Trust? Respond to?

Source: http://www.marketingmentor.net/wp/?wpid=1393

To resume:

Beliefs > influence on Values > influence on Attitude > influence on Behaviour