Persuasive communication: a comparison of major attitude-behaviour theories in a social media context

Teng Shasha, Khong Kok Wei, Goh Wei Wei

    Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


    Purpose/Aim/Objectives/Significance – Attitude-behaviour theories can contribute to predicting and understanding influences on consumer behaviour. This study aims to compare five major attitudebehaviour theories in the social psychology field. Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), Heuristic-Systematic Model (HSM), Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Social Judgment Theory are empirically dissected and compared in a systematic manner, after which criticism and compliments of these theories are observed and evaluated. During recent years, social media has grown to become an important marketing tool for companies. The objective of the study is
    to critically discuss and examine relevant theories or models for persuasive communication in a social media context. The significance of the study is to identify the trend of applying attitude-behaviour theories to manifesting practical marketing implications.
    Literature/methodology/approach – Comparing five major attitude-behaviour theories is the main body of the literature review. The authors conducted a systematic review and comparison of Theory of Planned Behaviour, Elaboration Likelihood Model, Heuristic-Systematic Model, Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Social Judgment Theory. The study evaluated the published articles that
    applied these theories in the social media context from leading academic databases. A comparison of these theories with contrasting views was depicted in tables and figures.
    Findings – This study found that there were an increasing number of studies applying ELM in this new social media context. It has also shown that past research studies had incorporated persuasive communication with the social media perspective. The authors found that ELM is the most appropriate
    model for persuasive communication after a systematic comparison with the other four theories. This study filled the extant literature of ELM study in a social media perspective and guides researchers with in-depth and comprehensive understanding for future attitude-behaviour studies.
    Implications – This study sheds light on new areas of ELM study and can assist researchers to map out current and future studies in social media context with the help of comparison and analysis of major attitude-behaviour theories. Marketers are provided with critical trend of applying ELM in their
    social media marketing campaigns.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAbstract of Emerging Trends in Scientific Research
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • TPB
    • ELM
    • HSM
    • Cognitive dissonance theory
    • Social judgment theory
    • Social media


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