Ajzen and Fishbein's Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) (1980)

Ajzen and Fishbein's Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) (1980)

Mohammed Nasser Al-Suqri (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman) and Rahma Mohammed Al-Kharusi (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9562-7.ch098
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This chapter provides an overview of the TRA and the main variants on this model, considers the main criticisms and limitations of the theory, and discusses examples of empirical studies that have helped validate this theoretical perspective and contributed to its development over time. It also considers the relevance of these theories for Library and Information Science. Potential future research directions relating to the TRA and related theories are discussed. These include additional meta-analyses using statistical techniques to refine the underlying structure of the theory and enhance understanding of its applicability in different contexts, and the use of qualitative research to improve understanding of the thought processes involved in behavioral decision-making and the factors that influence these.
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Overview Of The Theory

According to the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), behavior can largely be predicted by the individual’s attitudes towards performing the behavior in question, through the intervening effect of behavioral intention. The important attitudes in this process are those that are specific to the specific behavior being studied, it is not sufficient to consider the individual’s attitudes more generally (Ajzen 1988; Fishbein & Ajzen 1975).

The theory also postulates that a person’s intentions about performing a behavior (which ultimately determine whether they will do so) are influenced by social pressures or “subjective norms”, which arise from their individual’s perceptions of what others will think about them performing the behavior in question (Vallerand, Deshaies, Cuerrier, Pelletier, & Mongeau, 1991).

In this theoretical model, both personal attitudes and social or “normative” factors exert a direct influence on behavioral intentions, which are the strongest predictor of actual behavior (Figure 1). All other factors in the external environment influence behavior only indirectly, through their influence on attitudes and subjective norms (Tsai, Chen, & Chien, 2012).

Figure 1.

Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975).

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