Instrumentality Theories and Consumer Attitudes: Comparing Alternative Models (Abstract)

Michael B. Mazis, University of Florida
R. Eugene Klippel, University of Florida
[ to cite ]:
Michael B. Mazis and R. Eugene Klippel (1974) ,"Instrumentality Theories and Consumer Attitudes: Comparing Alternative Models (Abstract)", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 01, eds. Scott Ward and Peter Wright, Ann Abor, MI : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 346-347.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1, 1974    Pages 346-347


Michael B. Mazis, University of Florida

R. Eugene Klippel, University of Florida

Over the last twenty years, instrumentality theories have been useful in conceptualizing attitudes and in predicting behavior or overall affect toward an object. While these theories have received considerable attention in behavioral science research, the consumer behavior literature has produced considerable confusion since several different instrumentality or expectancy-value formulations have been proposed. The purpose of this study was to clarify the situation by empirically testing the predictability of four approaches which have been used or proposed in consumer attitude studies.

Four hundred and sixty-four undergraduate marketing students at the University of Florida were administered one of four questionnaires, each of which employed a different methodology, either Fishbein's model, Rosenberg's model with values, Rosenberg's model with attributes or the adequacy-importance model. Questionnaires were randomized within classes to avoid biases due to group differences. Each respondent provided responses for four product categories, two brands per product category. Only two brands per category were included to avoid subject fatigue. Instructions indicated that attitudinal responses were to be provided only when all brands in a product category had been used bs a respondent.

While several procedures for dealing with expectancy-value data have been advocated by different investigators, this study followed the practice of first multiplying the two components for each attribute or value then summing across beliefs to arrive at a total attitude score for each individual by product. Thus, each individual had eight attitude scores which could be compared against overall affect toward eight brands.

Two analytical procedures were used to compare the four models. First, aggregate analysis, used by Fishbein, Rosenberg and most attitude researchers, was accomplished by computing correlation coefficients for each brand across individuals. Second, a disaggregate approach, which predicts affect or brand choice for each individual was used.

Employing aggregate analysis to compare the overall predictability of the four models (in a repeated measures design), analysis of variance using correlations coefficients as dependent variables was used. The chi-square value for groups (models) was compared with the chi-square value for replications (brands), which is used as an error term to form an F-ratio. The significant (p<.05) F-value indicates that the average correlations obtained by the four models were not all equal.

Posteriori analysis conducted on all six pairs of correlation coefficients revealed that the adequacy-importance formulation offered better predictability than the other three models. Statistically significant differences (p<.05) in predictability were found between the adequacy-importance model and the Rosenberg value model, the Rosenberg attribute model and the Fishbein attribute model.

Under the disaggregate or intra-individual analysis, there was no significant differences among the four models for any product class. This apparent contradiction between the aggregate and disaggregate analysis results from disaggregate analysis producing a large number of ties (which were randomly allocated in affect (28%) and attitude (12%) scores.) While the number of ties may be reduced by forcing respondents to rank rather than rate brands on an attitude scale, this may also cause a random assignment since presumably two brands receiving identical affect ratings are perceived as having equal appeal.

In summary, aggregate analysis clearly shows the superiority of the adequacy model over the other three formulations in predicting brand affect for the four product categories used in this study. Also, no significant differences in predictability were found using Fishbein and Rosenberg instruments. Finally, aggregate analysis illustrated the poor predictability of expectancy models using abstract values. Statistically significant differences were found between the Rosenberg value model and the adequacy-importance and Fishbein attribute models.