Functional Theory of Attitudes


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Functional theory of attitudes reiterates on explaining how social behaviors are contributed by attitudes. Hence, the pragmatic approach used in this theory emphasizes that the attitudes towards  various things exist because they serve some functions for the customer (Oskamp & Schultz, 2005). Thus, different customers may have attitudes towards same brand for reasons that are totally different. However, for each of the four  functional attitudes discussed in the theory of functional attitudes, I have developed different  attitudes  to the three main brands that I have had an experience with. Thus, the brands to be considered are: McDonald’s, Nike and Microsoft.

For instance, according to the utilitarian function upon which attitudes are developed according to the experience pleasure or pain,  (Oskamp & Schultz, 2005) there were several attitudes that I developed towards the three brands mentioned above. They are: tasteful, comfortable, pleasurable, appealing, appetizing, flexible and reliable. This list of positive attitudes are associated with the reward accrued from the use of these brands.

Moreover, the value–expressive function was mainly, concerned  with my self-concept or central values  reiterating on what the brands portrayed or said about me (Oskamp & Schultz, 2005). Hence, the attitudes I  developed about these three brands on basis on the value-expressive function are: outstanding, classic, flashy, outgoing, fashionable  and exotic. Additionally, on the basis of the ego-defensive function which reiterates on protection from external threats as well as internal feelings I  developed attitudes such as: long lasting or durable, enduring, cleanliness and convenience.

Finally, on the basis of knowledge function dealing with the need for order, meaning, or structure I was able to develop the attitudes such as satisfying, protective, facilitative and helpful towards the three brands. Therefore, marketers should strive to understand why these attitudes are held before  embarking on changing them (Oskamp & Schultz, 2005).


Oskamp, S. & Schultz, P.W. (2005). Attitudes and opinions, 3rd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.


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