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Attitude and Behaviour do not match

Attitude and Behaviour do not match

Behaviour and perceptions (attitudes) don’t really match. This is the thing that we have to take note and remember when we are asking people a question, doing an interview, taking a test or when using a focus group in market research.

What you say in the above events may be only what you perceive but not your real behaviour or rather what you really are. The reason is that most of time we just give an answer at the gut level rather than rationalising everything. This is the reason that focus group should be use in marketing research when you want to understand perceptions (attitude) rather than behaviour. This is the same when asking people to do a test. The answer or results given may only be what they perceived (their attitude) and may not be their behaviour. This is further proven by many researchers such as LaPiere (1934) & Sutton (1998) that attitudes (perception) do not necessarily lead to behaviour. However these two do can match when the attitude measure matches the behaviour of interest.

A good example of how attitude and behaviour do not match is that of smoking. Most of us has the perception that smoking is bad yet so many of us are still smoking. An example of how attitude and behaviour will match is when the attitude is measured at the same time when the behaviour is taking place; say when you making a purchasing decision.

This leads us to understand that focus group is good when measuring and understanding perceptions (attitudes) and when you want to measure behaviour; you got to do your research where the behaviour is taking place.

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