Attitudes In The Theory Of Planned Behaviour

1200 Words 5 Pages
Household energy consumption in the UK has increased by 12% since 2000, due to factors such as population growth and greater personal demand. Despite DEFRA’s best efforts, many households are unaware or unwilling to change their attitudes and behaviours, despite the provision of relevant information. In order to determine an adequate solution, it is necessary to first outline the ways in which peoples’ attitudes are shaped and how they influence behavioural actions.

Attitudes can be defined as a person’s subjective evaluation of an object or event, and can either be positive or negative. Attitudes can be implicit or explicit. Implicit attitudes are a way of thinking that is generally uncontrollable and reflexive, as they can be moulded easily
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When a person is faced with a decision as to whether to perform a behaviour, they have to first evaluate their own behavioural intentions. Behavioural intentions can be influenced by three components: attitudes toward behaviour, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control. Attitudes toward behaviour can be positive or negative, thus when it is positive behaviour is more likely to occur. Subjective norms refers to one’s perception of other people’s attitudes towards the behaviour. Again, if it is perceived to be a positive behaviour, the likelihood of performing the behaviour increases. Perceived behavioural control pertains to the amount of control and ability to actually perform the behaviour. Even if someone has a high perceived behavioural control, and are influenced by subjective norms, it would be unlikely that they would perform the behaviour if they did not hold an implicit positive attitude towards it. This could help explain why UK consumers do not tend to perform many energy-saving behaviours. It is not necessarily true that UK households do not hold positive attitudes towards environmental friendliness, as shown by the questionnaire conducted by the DECC. Instead, it might be that consumers all hold a positive explicit attitude towards protecting the environment due to social pressure, while maintaining a negative implicit attitude. This would explain why the previous policy of providing energy information was not enough to change consumer behaviours. Attitudes can be hard to change, and even if there was evidence to support a change in attitudes, it is difficult for a change to actually occur, which can be explained by cognitive dissonance

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