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Marketing's Attitude Problem – and How to Solve It

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Marketing's attitude problem stems from the view - which has traditionally underlain research throughout the social sciences - that behaviour can be predicted from measures of beliefs, attitudes and intentions regardless of situational factors. The demonstration that such measures only rarely predict action led to the search for situationally relevant factors that would strengthen predictions and restore the expected link between attitudes and behaviours. Although recent success in predicting behaviour from attitudes and intentions is the result of researchers' giving greater attention to the influence of situations, there has hitherto been no systematic account of contextual influences on attitude—intention—behaviour relationships. However, empirical research in England and South America indicates that attitudes known to predict consumer behaviours are themselves predictable on the basis of contextual variables, notably the utilitarian and symbolic consequences of behaviour and the scope of the setting in which it takes place. The research suggests a resolution of marketing's attitude problem and paves the way for an alternative understanding of both consumer and marketer behaviours as situationally-determined. The article discusses the theoretical and managerial implications of the research and points the way towards further investigation.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

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