Table of Contents

Social Marketing and Behaviour Change

Social Marketing and Behaviour Change

Models, Theory and Applications

Linda Brennan, Wayne Binney, Lukas Parker, Torgeir Aleti and Dang Nguyen

This book provides a concise overview of the behaviour change models that are relevant to social marketing in order to assist academics and practitioners in social marketing program development. The book features a review and analysis of the most validated models of behaviour change, together with a number of case studies from international researchers that illustrate these models in practice. The models covered include cognitive, conative, affective, social-cultural and multi-theory models, consumer behavior decision models and social change models.

Chapter 5: Rational economic models (cognitive models) summary

Linda Brennan, Wayne Binney, Lukas Parker, Torgeir Aleti and Dang Nguyen

Subjects: business and management, marketing, politics and public policy, public policy


This part of the book has reviewed the main rational models of behaviour currently used as a foundation in behaviour change interventions in social marketing. The majority of users of these models are to be found in the health domain. The underlying assumption of these models is that the individual is able to (1) perceive the ‘message’ or risk, (2) respond to the ‘message’, and (3) consciously adjust their behaviours in relation to external factors such as advertising. The models presented in this part of the book have been widely discussed and tested in academic literature and out in the field by social marketing practitioners. The models are well ensconced in the field of behaviour change, but it is important to remember their limitations. They assume that the decision-maker is completely rational – as discussed earlier in this part of the book, even the most rational human being sometimes make decisions on a whim, based on emotion or even just following his or her peers. The models assume that the decision-maker has all the relevant information needed to make a decision, is aware of alternatives and makes the optimal choice based on a considered, logical decision-making process. These assumptions are wide-reaching and it is rare that these conditions can be met in the real world. However, given all of these limitations the rational economic models are conceptually very strong and provoke a solid framework for social marketing practitioners wanting to elicit sustainable behaviour change.

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