Models, Theory and Applications
Chapter 21: Case study: which theory is more effective for predicting hotel guest participation in towel and linen reuse programmes, social influence theory or attribution theory?
This case study is informed by a two-study research project on which I collaborated with two colleagues (Shang et al., 2010). The focal social issue was reducing waste output generated by the hospitality/lodging industry. To be more precise, the social issue dealt with reducing hospitality industry environmental degradation by improving guest compliance with towel and linen reuse programmes. This study is a good example to use in comparing the usefulness of social influence theory and attribution theory in predicting how individuals will respond to social marketing programmes that are sponsored by a business. Some social marketing programmes are sponsored entirely or in part by a business organization. The business may think of its involvement in these programmes as a demonstration of its corporate social responsibility, as cause-related marketing, as public relations, or simply as an opportunity to reduce costs or increase sales. Does the sponsoring business’s motive for its involvement in the social marketing programme matter? If so, then the social marketing professional needs to take this issue (how the target audience perceives the programme sponsor’s motives) into account in order to improve the effectiveness of the social marketing programme (rate of individual compliance with requested behaviour change).
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