University of Twente Student Theses


The influence of Facebook on one’s attitudes towards wind energy

Walther, M. (2017) The influence of Facebook on one’s attitudes towards wind energy.

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Abstract:In this study an experiment was conducted focusing on whether Facebook-posts would influence the attitude and behavioral intention of participants towards wind energy. Literature showed that noise exposure, visual impact and environmental impact of wind turbines are important factors predicting one’s attitude towards wind energy. The theory of reasoned action (Madden, Ellen, & Ajzen, 1992) and the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991) stated that attitudes are formed by beliefs and lead to behavioral intentions. Kelman (1958) and Wood (2009) argued that internalization, identification and compliance are processes that can influence these beliefs and, therefore, the attitude of a person. Additionally, research showed advertising for brands on Facebook has a positive influence on the purchase behavior of users and their attitudes showing an influence of affective information on the attitudes of users (Muntinga, Moorman, & Smit, 2011). From these studies, it was expected to find that the attitudes of the participants, which influence behavioral intention, could be influenced by fictitious Facebook-posts and comments. The research question of this study was: What is the effect of positive, negative and neutral opinions that are shared by other people on social media on the attitudes and the behavioral intention of North-West-European people in regards to wind energy? To answer the research question, an online experiment with four conditions (positive, negative, neutral and control condition) was conducted. The experimental conditions contained a neutral formulated fictitious Facebook-post about wind energy with a positive, negative or neutral comment. Furthermore, statements had to be answered on a seven-point-Likert-scale which contained facts about wind energy and indicated opinions on an attitude-scale and a behavioral intention-scale. The behavioral intention-scale indicated whether participants would use wind energy and if they would support wind energy. Participants that did not fit the requirements of understanding the posts or questions properly were excluded from the analysis. The analysis of the descriptive statistics showed that the participants of the study are not representative for North-West-European people. The results showed no significant differences between the scores of the participants in the different groups. This indicated that there is no effect of the Facebook-comment on the attitude and behavioral intention of the participants towards wind energy. The mean scores showed that the overall attitude of the participants was positive, therefore, an influence was difficult to reach. Future research could study whether people can be influenced towards the other extreme of their own opinion by using Facebook-posts. In addition to that, it should be researched whether people are more influenced by facts or affect regarding sustainable energies. There are findings by Bang, Ellinger, Hadjimarcou and Traichal (2000) that indicated that facts are irrelevant for building an attitude towards an object while Ajzen and Fishbein (2000) indicated that facts can be used to consciously change one’s attitude towards something.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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