Theories are abstractions from the real world to give explanation to phenomenon that are affecting variables under consideration. Several theories have been propounded to give explanation to how and why human beings behave in a certain manner. Among these theories is the Elton Mayo’s Haworth experimental student to show what motivate workers to put the extra performance during their productivity hours. Other motivational theories propounded by human behavioral school of thought include Abraham Maslow hierarchy of need theory, Federick Herzberg Two factor theory, Douglas MC Gregory’s X and Y theories, Bandura’s cognitive theory and the social learning theory, among others.
This report takes a look at the theory of planned behaviour, which is also another theory that belongs to the behavioural school of thought. The empirical evidences presented in the theory makes it relevant for this analytical report. The theory of planned behaviour has to do with “cognitive self-regulation”, this aspect is a significant role in describing what the theory entails. Characters from the scenario especially Kevin and Andy’s behaviours would be analysed in perspective of the planned behaviour theory. Other related theories that would bring better understand of the reason behind the character behave the way they do will be analysed.
Description of the theory
The planned behaviour theory explains why an individual relate or communicate with another person in a certain manner. It is argued that aggression, emotions, love and others are as a result of certain perceived variables and feelings toward the other person. According to Ajzen (1991, p. 188) there are the conceptual independent determinant intensions that is associated with planned behavior theory. These include how an individual’s attitude toward the behavior of another person is related to how favorably or unfavorably dispose the individual is to the other person. This disposition will determine how the person appraises the behavior of the other person. The second independent determinant of the theory is a subjective norm; which as a social factor explains those social factors concerning the performance or non-performance the certain behavior in question. The third determinant factor pertains to the degree of perceived behavioral control. The theory also postulates that the best measurement of how a person will behave in future is to evaluate or assess his or her past behavior.
This theory can be helpful in interpreting communication at work place and even workers self-efficiency.
Communication is very germane in workplace to address and make clarification of official duties, assignment, internal memo and passing information within and outside the organization. An organization that has a good communication network will allow information to flow freely from top cadre to bottom cider of the organization. There is the need that managers properly understand how the members of the diverse workforce perceive communication, and what stand to offend or impede their good communication. Applying the three determinant of the theory of behavior planning to understand workers’ behavior will give management better perspective of understanding their workers. According to Mayhew & Media (2013) some employees are not too pleased and conversant using memoranda and some perceive meetings as time wasters, etc. Such perceptions and behavior may affect the smooth communication process. Identifying those employees in the workforce who are eager to quickly get information of everything happening in the organization, should be carried along. Failing to do this may cause them to be lost their sense of belonging. To maintain employer- employee relationship, effective communication with employees is very crucial.
Managing workforce with different background and cultural orientation is very challenging. However, the management of organizations should ensure that all workers are treated fairly, and discipline and reward are carried out without bias. According to Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid (1964) is a model that is useful in assessing how manager or a leader set his/ her priority on how to relate with his subordinates in order to get the work executed. Consequently, the managerial grid is useful in enabling a leader achieve high productivity, through people in the organization by exhibiting the right relationship to getting the work done and catering for the workers welfare through well-established relationship with the members of the organization.
Existing difference between leadership and management is that while leadership has to do with the acts of directing and motivating members of an organization towards attaining the organization’s set objectives and goals management is the coordination of available resources through adequate planning in order to get set objectives attained through members of the workforce. Whereas, leadership entails involving oneself by giving good example on how and why the job or task should be done, management involves getting people and resources to attain set objectives easily.
In contemporary competitive global environment has made health and social care organization maintaining a competitive advantage puts a premium on having a committed and competent workforce. The communication of adequate information to subordinates by a superior would enable them perform better in their tasks they are assigned to carry out. Human Resource Management managers has the role to play as effective partners in helping their organizations successfully achieve their goals, need to have a clear understanding of exactly what are the organization’s strategies, and then they must ensure that their own efforts are consistent with providing support for strategies that are implemented in the organization. In the view Sims (2002, p. 40) argues that modern practices of HR functions should form strategic partner with expertise knowledge to enable managers to formulate corporate and business strategies as well as other strategies adopted in the organization. Hence, the expertise of the health and social care leader and his drive towards attainment of the organizational objectives and goals are easily reached when there is good communication between the top management level staff and their low bottom level workers.
Mechanistic perspective: The theory of planned behavior mechanistic perspective implies that an individual will behave in a certain way due to underlining influence from external sources. For instance, in our scenario, discussed in the latter part of this report, Kevin’s behavior towards Andy is partly influenced by the external factors on his belief and respect for the 10 commandments in the Bible, even when he is not a religious person. This is also related to social learning and cognitive theory. Where societal influence goes on to determine how an individual will behave towards others. Example of social learning situation is illustrated when viewers of television commercials on product adverts tries to imitate the looks of the actors in the advertisement, by buying the advertised product, in order to look like the actors.
The Social Cognitive Theory has being used to study a wide range of health problems, from medical therapy compliance, to alcohol abuse, to immunizations. One particular fruitful area of investigation to which the SCT has been employed is the study of moral and value internalization among children; it is argued that the greatest contribution of the Social Cognitive Theory is its aid in understanding how children are socialized to accept the standards and values of their society. (Johnston, et al., 1997, as cited in Stone, 1998). The social cognitive theory attempts to give an explanation on how the thoughts, feeling, and behavior of individuals could be swayed through specific factors, predictable, or indirect presence of others. Thus, according to Bandura (1989), the trust of the theory has the definition of human behavior. This is seen shown as triadic, dynamic, and reciprocal interrelationship of individuals’ elements; including behavior, and the environment. While the social cognitive theory support those behaviorist belief that react consequently to intervene in behavioral patterns. This constitute of how behavior is widely adjusted by cognitive processes. In others words, Bandura’s social cognitive theory emphasizes that people are motivated by external forces, from what they learn from others in the society. The environmental factors influence an individual behavior and this goes a long way to affect how he performs in a given task. This goes beyond the concept of self-efficacy; where the determinant factor that influences the individual are those information that are gotten from experience.
Psychological perspective: The theory of planned learning goes to explain how individual psychological characteristics can influence their own behavior. This shows that a person’s character as reflected in the theory can determine how he behaves and this can affect his performance on his or her, in an organizational setting. This brings us to a related principle of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a key element that brings about self-motivation and confidence to perform efficiently. It is that perception of an individual and the confidence he/she possess in the ability to perform a recommended tasks or response. The self-efficacy concept is within the social cognitive theory that shows the human learning and observation process of social experience in attaining self-development.
Thus, when an individual knows his area of strength, weakness and what constitute threats to his personal ability, he would be prepared to develop those weak areas and be confidence to perform efficiently in those areas where his strength lies in. “High self-percepts of efficacy may affect preparatory and performance effort differently, in that some self-doubts bestirs learning but hinders adept execution of acquired capabilities” (Bandura, 1982, p. 123). In this situation, an individual who is too fully conscious of his ability and over confidence may renege from going the extra mile to practice and build on that strength. For instance, a sportsman who runs 100 meters race in 35 seconds, and happen to be the best. He may be tempted to underrate fellow runners who seem to run the same distance for 55 seconds. And when he is positioned to compete with them, he may decide not to go the extra miles to practice. He may be full of himself, because of the awareness of his strength and performance is very high. This seems to be a negative aspect of too much confidence in self-efficiency.
Performing a task gives the individual feedback of his mastery ability. From experience the individual tends to know how to adjust and increase efficacy. Thus, According to Themanson, Pontifex, Hillman & McAuley (2011) “flexibility of self-efficiency and its sensitivity to work experience is important to consider potential ongoing adjustments to both self- efficacy and task performance” (p.1). An individual perception and knowledge of information will make him to behave in certain way. The theory of planned behavior has shown that aggression can be transferred or hatred built on how a person relate with another simply because of the behavior of the other person. That is considered as not been in tuned with his or her own way of doing things.
Incentive and rewards also play a great role in concept of self-efficacy. According to Bandura (1986), when individuals have strong sense of efficacy lack of incentive could prevent them and obstruct positive attitude to performance. What this simply means is that an individual maybe aware that he can adequately perform a given task, but because of lack of motivation he may be putting in a lackluster attitude in executing the task. Thus, external motivation is germane in self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy is a means of building one’s self confidence in executing a task. It comes from experience and the information available to that individual that he can perform. However, the external motivation sometimes is required to push that individual, even when he is aware that he could perform the task.
The theory of planned behavior is related to the social cognitive theory and the social learning theory. Hence, criteria in judging this theory’s importance should include social cognizance of individual behavior and the role social factor plays in influencing their behavior. Hence there is internal consistency in the theory of planned behavior and the social cognitive and social learning theory. Also the theory of planned behavior is testable as applicable in social cognition factors, individual self-assessment, among others variables.
Looking at the Social Cognitive Theory, Sternberg (1994), defines it as “it studies the individual within a social or cultural context and focuses on how people perceives and interpret information they generate themselves (intrapersonal) and from others (interpersonal). Allport (1985) has it that Social Cognitive Theory attempts “to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others”.
Social Cognitive Theory defines human behavior as a triadic, dynamic, and reciprocal interaction of personal factors, behavior, and the environment (Bandura, 1989). It is thus, inferred according to this theory that individual’s behavior is uniquely determined by each of these three factors. While the Social Cognitive Theory upholds the behaviorist notion that response consequences mediate behavior, it contends that behavior is largely regulated antecedently through cognitive processes. Therefore, response consequences of a behavior are used to form expectations of behavioral outcomes. It is the ability to form these expectations that give humans the capability to predict the outcomes of their behavior, before the behavior performed. In addition the Social Cognitive Theory submit that most behavior is learned vicariously (Stone, 1998).
The social learning principles place emphases on cognitive variables; this include strict behaviorism which supports a direct and unidirectional pathway between stimulus and response, representing human behavior as a simple reaction to external stimuli. The Social Learning Theory asserts that there is a mediator (human cognition) between stimulus and response, placing individual control over behavioral responses to stimuli.
Tenet 1: response consequences (such as rewards and punishments) influence the likelihood that a person will perform a particular behavior again in a given situation
Tenet 2: Humans can learn by observing others, in addition to learning by participating in an act personally (learning by observing others is called Vicarious learning),
Tenet 3: individuals are most likely to model behavior observed by others they identify with.
This is applicable to the theory of planned behavior. There is a likelihood that an individual with his unfavorable evaluation of another would tend to pass same unfriendly attitude to the other person even during communication.
The ‘reciprocal determinism’, a vital aspect of Bandura’s work on Social Cognitive Theory, has it that a person’s behavior is both influenced by and is influencing a person’s personal factors and the environment. (Bandura, 1986).
The diagram below illustrate how personal factors such as cognitive skills or attitudes and behavior, and the environment impact on each other.
SOURCE: Huitt, 2002.
Practical application planned behavior theory to analyze the scenario case
The theory of planned behavior when applied to the scenario, on which this report is based on, has two dimensions. We will use the theory to analyze Kevin’s behavior and that of Andy. Both characters have extremely different behavior. Their belief system and background would have played significant role in shaping these behaviors.
Using the mechanistic perspective; it is seen that Kevin’s communication to Andy at the family thanksgiving in his home was affected by the earlier encounter and situation where he finds his behavior not pleasing. He considers Andy a cheat and an adulterous in-law; a behavior which he is not used to. Kevin’s background as a disciplined but nor religious man has made him faithful to his marriage with Janet. So he expected that Andy treats should be faithful to his sister (Susan). The perceived grievance he nursed towards Andy as reaction to his behavior has hampered and affected effective communication with him. And this has made him hate his brother in-law. In this view, Ajzen (1991, p. 181) argues “that the principle of aggression does not explain behavioral variability across situations, nor does it permit prediction of a specific behavior in a given situation”.
Applying the three independent determinant factors of the theory of planned behavior to Kevin’s behavior it is seen that he is not favorably disposed to Andy’s infidelity lifestyle. This has affected the way he communicated to Andy at the thanksgiving meeting at his home. He has further used this unfavorable disposition against Andy by nursing hatred, even while he pretend to communicate little with him and concealing this very strong feeling from other members of the family.
Applying the second theory’s determinant factor to Kevin’s behavior we can say that Kevin has subjectively applies his principle of remaining faithful to his wife as a yardstick used in judging Andy’s infidelity character. This subjective view is congruence with societal belief and his adherence to religious doctrine of a husband and wife to remain faithful to each other.
On the other hand, Andy’s behavior can also be explained in line with the postulation of theory of planned behavior which says that a future behavior can be predicted from past behavior. The third independent determinant factor of the theory applies to Andy’s behavior. During university days Kevin observed that Andy has behaved badly towards female and even male counterparts around him. It is no surprise this behavior is reflected even after his marriage.
The theory of planned behavior is very useful in determining how a person will behave towards another individual as a result of certain belief system, social influential factors. Also, the theory has shown that a person is likely to repeat a behavior that was displayed in the past. The perspectives of the theory are linked to both mechanistic and psychological perspectives. Individual behavior can also affect ones self-efficacy, as explained in a relative term to the theory. It is also pertinent to state that the theory is an offshoot of the social cognitive and social learning theory.
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