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The Theory of Planned Behaviour and its link with consumer behaviour

1.Marketers commonly use the theory of planned behaviour to predict consumer behaviour. Do you agree with the underlying principles of these theories? Explain and provide support for your response.

2.Develope strategic recommendations based on consumer behaviour theories.

In the 21st century, marketing has surpassed its barrier and incorporates scientific approaches in order to understand the behaviour of the consumers. In fact, the idea of consumer behaviour in present days encapsulates a series of conceptual framework such as psychology, economics and studies of human behaviour. Creativity with a sense of strategic decision making is the key facets of getting a clear picture of customer behaviour. In this regards, the theory of planned behaviour is highly popular among the marketing executives. The theory has a close link with individual’s specification of purchasing a product (Kautonen, Gelderen and Fink 2015). The behavioural intent in terms of choosing a particular product in a specified place and time is considered to be a pivotal characteristic of the planned behaviour. Therefore, the purpose of this discussion is to identify the major features of the planned behaviour theory of customer behaviour. At the same time it stipulates the role of diffusion of innovation in influencing the customer behaviour.

Planned behaviour theory

The Theory of planned behaviour (TPB) has a close affinity with the Theory of Reasoned Action which was developed in the 1980s to analyze the intention of the consumers regarding engage in a particular purchasing action (Montano and Kasprzyk 2015). In this context, “intention” is referred as the willingness or the readiness of the consumers in order to purchase a product (Ajzen and Klobas 2013). It can be argued that Theory of planned behaviour reflects on the intention of the customer and defines intention as the main driving force to buy a product. Moreover, the behavioural intentions are influenced deeply by the attitude and response to the likelihood that is identified as an expected outcome and puts some light on the subjective evaluation of the possible risks and benefits related to the outcome.

The Theory of planned behaviour is very much popular in the health care services such as smoking, drinking and use of substances. However, the theory is also relevant in different genre of industries like restaurants or retain chain sector. In this discussion, it is imperative to understand the foundation basis of the TPB framework which directly connotes the idea of Theory of Reasoned Action. Developed by Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen in the latter half of the 1960s, the theory is centred on the analysis of pre-existing attitudes in the process of decision making (Montano and Kasprzyk 2015). According to the Theory of Reasoned Action, the consumers’ action is based on an attitude or intention that can render a particular outcome. Customers are projected as a rational entity in this theory. In addition to this, the core principle of Theory of Reasoned Action is aligned with the specificity. It can be argued that the customers will depend on specific actions during expecting a specific result. In fact, the consumer can alter his or her chosen action on a different course of action.

The foundation basis of the TPB framework

Based on this theory, the Theory of Planned Behaviour develops framework which is purely relied upon the customer specification. Moreover, TPB is comprised with six layers of understanding in the forms of attitudes, behavioural intention, subjective norms, social norms, perceived power and perceived behavioural control (Kim, Njite and Hancer 2013).

Attitudes- this is the primary factor of understanding the Theory of Planned Behaviour. The purpose of attitude is to reflect the degree of interest of the consumer to purchase a specific item. In this regards, there are two constraints of the element in terms of favourable and unfavourable. It can be argued the favourable decision will lead the consumer to buy that product. On the contrary, the unfavourable condition drives the person to change his previous attitude towards the product and he or she will alter the decision in course of time (Ajzen and Klobas 2013).

Behavioural intention- It can be argued that behavioural intention helps the consumer by providing a motivational support. As a result of that this motivational support ushers a great deal of influence on the customer’s intension and supply a stronger motivational elements to perform the behaviour. In fact, the stronger the motivation will be the more it attracts the consumer to attract by the product (Ajzen and Klobas 2013).

Subjective norms- The subjective norm is highly related to the popular responses of the behaviour. It can be highly approved or disapproved. It is the tendency of the customers to go through the perception of other people. Furthermore, the individual beliefs on other people’s attitude and responses ushers a sense of appreciation whether engage in the behaviour or not (Ajzen and Klobas 2013).

Social norms- It reflects a great deal of the importance over the society. In other words, the customary codes of behaviour in a group or people or a large cultural context it will be easy to define the social norms. In this regards, the social norms are championed with normative and standard behaviour (Al-Swidi 2014).

Perceived power- In order to get a clear picture of the determinants of Theory of Planned Behaviour it is important to perceive an idea of the behavioural control of individuals over each of the factors. As a matter of fact, the perceived power of factors will facilitate the performance of behaviour (Al-Swidi 2014).

Perceived behavioural control- The role of behavioural control leads to the individual perception of ease or difficulty in order to performing the behaviour of interest. In this regards, the perceived behavioural control is identified as fluctuating in nature and highly relies on the situation and action (Al-Swidi 2014).

The six layers of understanding in the Theory of Planned Behaviour

While assessing the relevance and essentiality of Theory of Planned Behaviour, it can be argued that intention is just a part of customer behaviour. There are a series of determinant factors that are responsible to influence the decision making process of the consumer. In this regards, it can be argued that the opportunities and resources can also play an influential role in determining the customer behaviour (Paul, Modi and Patel 2016). Besides this, there are some negative aspects of human intention in the form of threat and fear which are not incorporated in the TPB.

Despite of all the shortcoming of Theory of Planned Behaviour, it can be argued that the theory identifies the major element of customer influence in terms of intention (Salleh, S., Hashima and Murphy 2015). It is true that there are a series of purposes playing on the backdrop of purchasing a product, but on the perspective of the consumer it will always beneficial and usher a positive implication. Moreover, scientific orientation makes the theory more authentic and justifiable to implement in the organisational sector (Agag and El-Masry 2016).

Diffusion of innovation and the theory of planned behaviour are primarily intertwined in the global marketing sector. It can be argued that in the initial phase of the industrial revolution, innovations were appreciated with great enthusiasm. In fact, people were looking for new innovations and unique products. However, in course of time due to the domination of mass production, new items launched in the market are failed to sustain (Weigel et al. 2014). From the point of view of the customers, the new products have to cope with the consumers’ specifications. In case of any failure to prove its worth, the customer will accept the change.

According to the Diffusion of Innovation theory, innovation is an idea or practice that is perceived as new by individuals or group. According to Weigel et al. (2014) both innovation and planned behaviour are connected to each other and performed in such a manner that is primarily focused on the perception of the decision maker. For an instance, in case of the Apple Inc. innovation plays a major role to attract and retain customers and a result of that the company topped the private organisation lists for a long time (Cornescu and Adam 2013). Hence, it can be stated that the elements of planned behaviour are complemented by the theory of diffusion of innovation and facilitated the decision making. Hence, it can be stated that the elements of planned behaviour are complemented by the theory of diffusion of innovation and renders the decision making an additional explanatory power in the decision to adopt an innovation.

The relevance and essentiality of the Theory of Planned Behaviour


It can be concluded that Theory of Planned Behaviour is an effective tool to perceive an idea about the decision process of the customers. Specifications and the perceptions of the customers regarding purchasing a product are highly based on the requirements that the consumers are conceived before purchasing the product. Moreover, the role of innovation supplies a great deal of influence to the motive of the buyers and complements the planned behaviour of the consumers.

Taking organic food is becoming a global fashion among the consumers. The reason behind this increasing trend is primary related to the health concern. Besides this, the sporadic epidemic of obesity turns into a threat to the food lovers who are more relied in fast food. In this regards, the value of organic food becomes very pertinent and important for concerned customers. Hence, the McDonalds Company is going to use organic food as a marketing tool to attract more customers and usher huge profit. Therefore, the discussion encompasses the motive of McDonalds in order to open restaurants that are primarily served organic foods. Furthermore, the company is going to initiate a marketing plan based on the consumer theories on a moral and rational approach. The rational theory is primarily based on trait Theory and the behavioural learning theory.

Trait theory

The trait theory is associated with the individual personality to making the decision of purchasing a product or not. In this regards, the trait can be defined as a specific psychological characteristics that helps the consumers in making decisions. As a result of that the trait is comprise of a number of characteristics in the form of predisposition to behave in a certain manner (Foxall 2014). It can be argued that the trait theory encapsulates certain number of uniqueness of an individual that is differed from others. Therefore, it requires personality tests, scales and inventories. The trait theory can be categorised into two parts, that is, the simple trait theory and the general trait theory (Ekinci, Calderon and Siala 2016).

Simple trait theory

The simple trait theory deals with a limited number of traits that are identified and people are identified and classified on the basis of these traits (Orji et al. 2017).

General Trait theory

In the general trait theory there are a large variety of traits that are responsible to demark and categorise individuals in this regards (Marbach, Lages and Nunan 2016).

The role of diffusion of innovation in customer behaviour

It can be argued that the trait theory is identified more relevant in the customer behaviour assessment in compare to the Freudian and Neo-Freudian approach. The reasons behind this pragmatic outlook of the trait theory are depended upon objective and quantitative perspective. In case of the single trait personality scales, inventories and tests are considered to be an important part to identify validity and reliability (Karimi, Papamichail and Holland 2015). In this regards, the consumers can be classified into groups, labelling the consumers as being of a certain personality type. Besides this, to influence the consumer decision making and consumption patterns, the trait theory is highly effective. As a result of that the consumer specific behaviours are also influenced and manipulated by the personality of the individual customer.

Related to the McDonalds

In case of identifying its relation with the McDonalds new organic food restaurants it can be argued that the McDonalds Company plans to open a new organic restaurant. In this regards, trait personality theory is highly important. There are some factors in the trait personality theory that renders an impact on the motive and needs of the consumer. For an instance, the consumer innovativeness is related to the new initiative taken by the McDonalds Corporation. The consumer innovativeness is related to the customer response while getting familiar with a new product. As a result of that the marketer, in this regards, McDonalds has to analyse the target segments, the degree of receptivity towards the new products and the service or brands in order to understand the pricing, distribution and any other communication. It can be argued that there are three types of consumers in relation to the innovativeness. The first types of consumers are identified as the people who are sceptical about the new products. They are reluctant to possess any new innovation. Besides this, there are customers who are fond of innovative steps. The third category belongs to consumers that possess a mixed reaction in relation to the new products. In this context, the McDonalds Corporation puts focus on the type of customers that they are possible to get and based on the type the restaurant company will plan their marketing strategy.

Moreover, the trait theory has an essential factor of utilitarian influence. The utilitarian influence argued that the motive of a customer is focused on the usage of product and services offerings that are beneficial in terms of product experiences and values for low price and satisfaction. In this regards, it can be argued that the product and the item must have a benevolent approach that can attract the customers. In this regards, the organic foods served by the McDonalds restaurant are considered to be healthy and nutritious.

McDonald's use of organic food as a marketing tool


The trait theory is based on a detailed understanding of the personality of an individual. This personality in return helps that individual to make a decision. On the basis of this understanding, It can be argued that trait theory is very useful in the decision making process of the customer. The personality of the customer is very important for the business organisation. In this context, the new initiative of McDonald’s restaurants in the form of introducing organic foods is quiet promising. As a matter of fact, the utilitarian principles and this innovative step has a close affinity in this regards that ushers a good perception about the customers’ responses in order to analyse the success of this new initiative.

Behavioural learning theory

The behavioural learning theory is comprised with the stimulus and response of a consumer. In other words, it can be ascribed that stimulus is an external situation of a person that influences the purchasing decision of the customers (Hayes 2016). In this regards, it can be argued that the people have the power to learn and response. In this context, the stimulus is playing a pivotal role in shaping the decision of the consumers. As an external environment stimulus is designed to create an influence on the customer decision making. The main profounder of this concept was Pavlov who proposed the theory of classical conditioning and Skinner who advocated the theory of instrumental conditioning (Mazur 2016). Despite of having similarity in the relationship between stimulus and response, it can be argued that the theories are distinguished by their differentiation in the context of cause and effect relationship. According to Pavlov, it is the stimulus that leads the person towards response relationship. On the contrary, Skinner argued that the response relationship paves the way for stimulus relationship (Skinner 2014).

On the basis of this different perception, the Behavioural learning theory is classified into two different spectrums, one is identified as the theory of classical conditioning and the other is known as instrumental conditioning. The classical conditioning theory reflects a clear understanding of the living entities that are react with predictable responses to a stimulus after a number of repetitions and trials (Ashby and Valentin 2017). However, the neo-Pavlovian theorists believe that consumers are looking for information related to the product. On the other hand, Skinner prophesied that the learning process leads to the stimulus. In other words, the stimulus or the pleasant events creates repetitive events because it increases the likelihood of the consumer in a great manner. Simultaneously, an unpleasant event prevents the consumer to repeat the behaviour again (Jensen and Akers 2017). Thus, instrumental conditioning helps to formulate the behaviour in such a way to avoid negativism in the practice.

The rational approach to marketing based on Trait and Behavioural Learning theories

Related to the McDonalds

The behaviour learning model is highly related to the market orientation of Related to the McDonalds in many ways. In that case, as the McDonalds Company is going to open up an organic restaurant, the behaviour learning model is relied on the first impression of the consumers. Therefore in case of the McDonalds restaurants it is important for the business organisation to get a clear understanding of the satisfaction quotient of the customers. in this regards, there are a number of factors that are responsible to influence the consumer decision making process.

In addition to this, it can be argued that the new marketing initiative taken by McDonalds Corporation in the form of introducing organic food restaurants is highly depended upon the customer learning behaviour theories. it is true that the growing trend of health care has a deep impact on the restaurants and food industry as well. As a result of that the McDonalds Corporation also carries out the same method in the form of organic food industry. However, the behavioural learning theory reflects the future of the new initiative. Furthermore, the behaviour learning theory helps to reduce the competitiveness in the market because due to their previous positive experience the consumers want to get the service or the product again.


The Australian food and restaurant market is highly affected by the existence of obesity in the society. It can be argued that the impact of obesity is so pathetic in Australia that people are reluctant to go to suburbs and restaurants. In this regards, opting for an alternative is very significant for sustaining the restaurant industry in the region. Hence, the organic food restaurants strategy of McDonalds is very promising and optimistic in relation to the Australian market. As a matter of fact, the behavioural learning theory is considered to be a key factor in this regards which will illustrate the future of the organic food restaurants of McDonalds in Australia. Moreover, it also supplies a clear understanding of the customer behaviour and their specific needs that will also enables the company to maximise its business orientation.


It can be concluded that the growing demand of organic foods in the global market encourages the McDonald Company to open a new restaurant primarily offering organic food services. In this regards, assessing the customer behaviour is also imperative for the company to be measured with. The Protection Motivation theory will be the most effective tool for analysing the market segmentation for the company. The traits and the features of Protection Motivation will guide McDonald to flourish its new business in the global competitive market.


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