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 6: Behavioural models (conative models)

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

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


This chapter aims to describe a set of models that are used extensively in social marketing. This set of theories is founded in sociological, social psychology and related domains. They are sometimes termed ‘conative’ models, meaning ‘behaving’ or ‘doing’. The theories often posit that behaviours take place in conjunction with affective-cognitive processes. However, the focus of this chapter is on how people behave in given settings, not how they feel or think. This is not to say that thinking and feeling are not factors in these models; it is more that people’s (past and present) behaviours are conceived as being more indicative of future behaviours than attitudes or emotions (McGuire, 1986; Gerdes and Stromwall, 2008). In social marketing these models are related to the behaviourism school of thought, which argues that people do not make ‘decisions’ at all but perform acts in relation to their previous experiences and within the social and physical environment within which they exist (see, for example, Foxall et al., 2006; Wilhelm-Rechmann and Cowling, 2008; Crawshaw, 2012, 2013). The behavioural models imply that people behave in a certain way and that they can be encouraged to behave in other ways, for example, by ‘nudging’ (French, 2011; Burgess, 2012) or changing the choice environment (Heimlich and Ardoin, 2008; Lefebvre, 2012).

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