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Attitude Scale and Measurement
After reading this unit, you should be able to :
• describe the type of managerial research problems which utilise the tools of
• discuss the type of issues which come up when one attempts the measurement of
• explain the different attitude measurement scales, alongwith their strengths and
• decide for which type of research problems one should go in for a specific scale or
think of using multidimensional scaling.
6.2 Attitudes, Attributes and Beliefs
6.3 Issues in Attitude Measurement
6.4 Scaling of Attitudes
6.5 Deterministic Attitude Measurement Models : The Guttman Scale
6.6 Thurstone’s Equal-Appearing Interval Scale
6.7 The Semantic Differential Scale
6.8 Summative Models : The Likert Scale
6.9 The Q-Sort Technique
6.10 Multidimensional Scaling
6.11 Selection of an Appropriate Attitude Measurement Scale
6.12 Limitations of Attitude Measurement Scales
6.14 Key Words
6.15 Self-assessment Exercises
6.16 Further Readings
There are a number of management decisions which are taken in an organisation, from time to time.
The decisions may relate to the acquisition or disposal of materials/machines, manufacturing or marketing of products, hiring or firing of employees, opening or closedown of plants, promotion or reversion of personnel, and so on.
Some of these decisions may rely on data for which the units of measurement are capable of statistical manipulation.
Such data largely refer to quantifiable parameters or numerical properties of a given population.
However, there are illustrations of other decisions which may rely primarily on behavioural data or data which is statistically not manipulatable, in the strict sense of the word.
The units of measurement of such data are not interchangeable and are not susceptible to rigorous statistical analysis.
The major area of utilisation of such data lies in the discipline of marketing where the manager is interested in knowing the attitudes of the current and potential users of his/her product or service towards his/her product or service concept or idea.
This knowledge of attitudes could result in decisions which would be sensible and effective.
Some illustrations of managerial decisions which rely on attitude measurement are product positioning and market segmentation, advertising message decisions etc.
Attitudes, Attributes And Beliefs
Before one plunges into the topic of attitude measurement, it will be worthwhile to understand the key terms which figure repeatedly in this topic.
Each object/product/service is believed to be composed of certain characteristics which fulfil certain needs of its user.
These needs may be of psychological, physical or social nature.
The characteristics of the object under consideration are called its attributes.
The term belief refers to judgements made by a user regarding the object possessing certain attributes or not.
Finally, the term attitude refers to the predisposition/mental state of individuals/users towards a product/idea/attributes of an object.
It also implies the mental readiness to act in a particular manner and influences the individuals’ behaviour towards the object/group/organization/person under consideration.
The salient factors that go into the building of the overall attitude of the individual towards the object are
a) his/her beliefs about the attributes possessed by the object, b) his/her preference or otherwise for those attributes, and
c) the relative importance of each attribute to the individual’s decision-making process. 40 Data Collection and Measurement
Issues In Attitude Measurement
Measurement implies the process of obtaining information which can be subject to analysis.
Attitude measurement relates to the process of measuring an individual’s attitude towards an object.
When we go for measurement of attitudes or any other parameter, one has to clearly sort out the following: • “what” has to be measured?
“who” is to be measured? • the accuracy desired in the measurement • the costs permissible • the choices available in the measurement/data collection techniques.
In attitude measurement, the researcher is primarily interested in measuring the “state of mind” of the respondent (s).
It may include factors such as awareness, attitudes and decision processes. An interesting characteristic of these measures is that their verification is rather difficult.
There is no way to determine whether the answer given by a respondent to the level of liking for a new product, such as ice cream mix, represents the “truth” or not.
The researcher, unless he is a “telepathist”, cannot actually observe the states of mind like preference, likes and dislikes, etc.
Such things can only be inferred. It has been stated in the previous section, that attitudes are affected by attributes and beliefs.
So, the first step, before embarking on an attitude-measurement exercise, is selecting the relevant attributes of the object under investigation.
For instance, the salient attributes of a product like “Shrikhand” may be price, shelf life, flavour, and pack size.
For a public distribution system, they may be quality of grains, prices, outlet working timings, and assurance of availability.
It is clearly impossible to measure every attribute of the process/object under consideration.
The researcher should settle for the relevant ones only. It is advisable to measure only those attributes which can be related to actions by the respondents.
Exploratory research can be helpful in identifying attributes.
The methods used could include non disguised ones like depth interviews and disguised ones like projective techniques.
Depth interviews are the most commonly used technique. They use no structured framework for gathering information.
The respondents are. encouraged to talk about the object under investigation and the investigator tries to uncover its salient attributes in this process.
This procedure requires skilled investigators.
It is also considered costly and the results are prone to bias errors. The projective techniques attempt to uncover the information from the respondent in an indirect manner.
The subject is requested to respond to incomplete stimuli here. In doing so, he/she is believed to reveal elements of attitude towards the object that will not be revealed in response to direct queries.
The projective techniques used may include a cartoon test, word association test, sentence completion test, etc.
Though these techniques also have some disadvantages, they are used more than the non disguised methods.
The next important issue in attitude measurement is “who” is to be measured. It involves people. The question to be posed now is of what kind?
Their education, age, sex, occupation, religion etc. may have a bearing on the choice of the measurement method.
The measurement procedure must be designed with the characteristics of the respondents under consideration.
For instance, using a mail questionnaire for disinterested or hostile respondents would hardly be the right choice as a research instrument.
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|PDF Size||0.35 MB|
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