Does Theory of Planned Behavior Explain Taiwan Teens' Viewing of Televised NY Games With Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang?
Chien-Ming Wang is a Taiwanese baseball player who currently pitches for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). Wang is one of the league's best, collecting 19 wins for the Yankees in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Wang's spectacular performance with the Yankees has meant increasing numbers of Taiwanese viewers for televised Yankees games--more specifically, for televised Wang games. Games have been televised in Taiwan since 1992, via a satellite sports channel. Their ratings are much higher now than in 1992, especially when Wang is pitching (Hu & Tsai, 2008). In short, it appears that Chien-Ming Wang has taken a place as one of Taiwan's most famous sports celebrities.
Adoration of celebrities is particularly characteristic of adolescence (Lin & Lin, 2007). Reverence for sports celebrities is one of various forms of such adoration that adolescents often demonstrate (Greene & Adams-Price, 1990). In this study, we attempted to identify exactly what drives Taiwanese adolescents to watch the televised games in which Wang pitches. We used Ajzen's theory of planned behavior (1985) to try to explain the adolescents' behavior.
The theory of planned behavior (TPB) has been used in various domains (Chiou, Huang, & Chuang, 2005; Goby, 2006), for example in empirical studies from the field of marketing (Chiou, 2000; Taylor & Todd, 1995). TPB proposes three conceptually independent antecedents of intention: attitude toward the act, perceived norm, and perceived behavioral control (Ajzen, 1985). According to TPB, the attitude toward the act is the degree to which the individual evaluates the particular behavior favorably or unfavorably. The perceived norm describes the individual's perception of social pressure to perform the act or not perform it. Perceived behavioral control, finally, reflects the extent of the resources for controlling the behavior which the individual perceives him- or herself to have.
TPB is an extension of the earlier theory of reasoned action proposed by Ajzen and Fishbein (1980). The addition of perceived behavioral control distinguishes the two. Perceived behavioral control is a critical factor, because people's behaviors are strongly affected by how confident they are that they can perform those behaviors (Chiou et al., 2005). Generally speaking, the more favorable a person's attitude toward an act, and the more strongly the person perceives the act as normative, and the more perceived control over the act, the stronger will be the intention to perform the act.
In addition, the cognitive-affective-cognitive framework proposes that "attitude structure starts with beliefs and is followed by affective response (e.g., attitude) and then cognitive responses (i.e., purchase intention)" (Chiou et al., 2005, p. 319). From this it follows that belief is an antecedent of attitude toward an act. Research has also shown that perceived norm is very likely to affect the formation of attitude (Oliver & Bearden, 1985; Terry & Hogg, 1996). That is, people's attitudes may be influenced by their significant others.
Based on the literature, we proposed that attitude toward the act, perceived norm, and perceived behavioral control would positively influence Taiwanese adolescents' intention to watch Wang pitch in a televised game. Furthermore, we proposed that belief and perceived norm would positively affect their attitude toward this act. Our hypotheses were the following:
Hypothesis 1: Belief will positively influence attitude toward the act.
Hypothesis 2: Attitude toward the act will positively influence intention to watch Wang's game.
Hypothesis 3: Perceived norm will positively influence intention to watch Wang's game.