The Proposition of a General Version of the Theory of Planned Behavior: Predicting Ecological Behavior1


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    The present research was supported by Grant #I1-52410 from the Swiss National Science Foundation. The authors thank lcek Ajzen, Jörg Doll, Alexander Grob, Carmen Keller, Harald A. Mieg, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Moreover, we are grateful to the following: Paul Harland and Henk J. Staats at Leiden University, The Netherlands, Center for Energy and Environmental Research for providing us with some new ecological behavior items; Jürg Artho, Evelina Bühler-Ilieva, Jacqueline Frick, and Susanne Stoll for their assistance in collecting, preparing, and entering data; Hannah Scheuthle for double-checking figures; Laura Cohen for her language support; and particularly Hannah Scheuthle and Thomas Ofner for accurately managing the study. Finally, we are especially thankful to the volunteers who completed questionnaires.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Florian G. Kaiser, Eindhoven University of Technology, Technology Management (DG O.ll), PO. Box 513, NL-5600 MB Eind-hoven, The Netherlands. E-mail:


The present paper explores whether the theory of planned behavior (TPB) must abandon the notion that perceived behavioral control (PBC) has a direct influence on behavior. In a cross-sectional survey of 895 Swiss residents, our hypothesis was tested by means of structural equation models. Applied specifically, PBC turned out to be a significant direct predictor of one's performance. A general version of the TPB based on aggregated measures, however, revealed PBC's direct influence on behavior to be nonsignificant and, presumably, a non-universally applicable and thus nongeneralizable part of the theory. Intention determined 51% to 52% of people's ecological behavior, which supports the claim of a strong attitude-behavior relation. Attitude, subjective norms, and PBC, the 3 TPB components, account for 81% of intention's variance.