Today I want to share with you a fabulous report that I found, summarising more than 60 theories and models of behaviour. It is a great primer on the topic, authored by Andrew Danton, which very neatly summarises the assumptions, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches.
This report is part of governmental initiatives to create behaviour change in areas such as exercise, eating habits or smoking. That is why the report also includes a section reviewing behavioural change, and why it has an emphasis on behaviours such as recycling or alcohol consumption. As the author explains:
Behavioural models can help in the task of identifying which factors are the most significant in determining behaviours (but can not explain) how behaviours change over time, and can be changed. While behavioural theory is diagnostic, designed to explain the determinant factors underlying behaviour, change theory is more pragmatic, developed in order to support interventions for changing current behaviours or encouraging the adoption of new behaviours. While the two bodies of theory have distinct purposes, they are highly complementary; understanding both is essential in order to develop effective interventions.
While some behaviours may be effectively explained by simple economic-type models such as expected utility, others require the consideration of factors such as group norms, habits, or the person’s belief that they can achieve their goal. So, this report works both as an eye-opener to the extent of work done, and a great starting point for students / managers / researchers wanting to understand consumer behaviour in a particular setting.
You can access the report here. Let me know if you find it useful.