The Role of Desires, Self-Predictions, and Perceived Control in the Prediction of Training Session Attendance1


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    This research was supported by a contract from Northern Telecom, Inc. and Illinois Bell Telephone Company to M. Fishbein, C. Hulin, and A. Kramer (coprincipal investigators). We would like to thank Kathy Hanisch for her help in collecting the data, and we are indebted to leek Ajzen and an anonymous reviewer for their comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

Requests for reprints should be sent to M. Fishbein, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, 605 E. Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820.


Employee attendance at a training session was examined using the theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). In addition, based on Audi (1973a, b) and Warshaw and Davis (1985), a distinction was made between desires (I want) and behavioral self-predictions (I will), and as in Ajzen (1985, 1987), the role of perceived control as a determinant of these desires, self-predictions, and attendance behavior, per se, was investigated. The results indicated that the best predictors of attendance at the training session were one's desire or motivation to attend the training session and the extent to which one perceived pressure from his or her supervisor to do so. Consistent with the theory of reasoned action, the motivation to attend training was predicted accurately from attitudes and subjective norms (R=.76, p < .001). Moreover, these attitudes and subjective norms were themselves predicted from a consideration of behavioral and normative beliefs, and key beliefs underlying one's desire to attend were identified. However, a consideration of perceived control did not improve the prediction of one's desire to attend training, and neither perceived control nor behavioral self-predictions improved prediction of actual attendance. The discussion focused on the roles of perceived control and different measures of intention in behavioral prediction.