The definition of value action gap

Table of Content

Value-action Gap

The value-action spread is a term used to depict the spread that can happen when the values or attitudes of an single bash non correlate to their actions. More by and large, it is the difference between what people say and what people do. This disagreement is most associated within environmental geographics, as normally attitudes affect behaviour ; nevertheless the opposite frequently seems to be the instance with respect to environmental attitudes and behaviours ( Blake 1999 ; Barr 2004 ) . The result is that there is a disparity between the value placed on the natural environment and the degree of action taken by persons to counter environmental jobs. This has been termed the ‘value-action spread ‘ , or on occasion, it is referred to as the ‘attitude-behavior spread ‘ ( Kollmuss and Agyeman 2002 ) .

Arguments environing the issue of the value-action spread have chiefly taken topographic point within environmental and societal psychological science. Research is frequently based within cognitive theories of how attitudes are formed and how this affects persons ‘ behaviour ( Blake 1999 ) . This aims to explicate why those with a high respect for environmental issues do non interpret this into their behaviour.

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The research suggests that there are many internal and external factors that affect behaviour and the grounds behind consumer picks. Therefore, it can be hard to place the exact grounds for why this spread exists. When buying a merchandise for illustration, many properties are assessed when doing determinations and these affect the grounds behind purchasing behaviour such as ; monetary value, quality, convenience, and trade name acquaintance ( Dickson 2001 ) . Therefore, environmental or ethical considerations are frequently non taken into history, irrespective of attitudes people have sing the environment.

Therefore, it is non a alteration in attitudes that is required, but a cardinal displacement in behavior towards the environment and persons ‘ usage of natural resources, to guarantee sustainable development and preservation of the environment.

The remainder of the page will sketch the use of the term in the literature, and illustrations in assorted surveies. The concluding portion will sum up the key debates environing why a value-action spread exists, get downing with the most influential.

1. Development of the term:


Theories sing reasoned action province how attitudes shape and act upon behavioural purpose, which in term form actions. The theory of reasoned action provinces that behavioural purpose is dependent on attitudes environing that behaviour and societal norms ( Fishbein and Ajzen 1975 ) . This means that a individual acts or behaves in a manner that correlates to their attitudes towards that behaviour. Therefore, a individual ‘s voluntary behaviour can be predicted by his/her attitudes and values on that behaviour ( Kaiser et al 1999 ) . Homer and Kahle ( 1988 ) argue that attitudes influence behaviours and hence values can explicate the grounds behind human behaviour. However, the opposite appears to be the instance for certain actions, particularly those related to environmental or ethical actions.

In recent decennaries, public support for environmental protection steps has grown and, harmonizing to Barr ( 2004 ) , there has besides been a turning involvement in ethical ingestion. This has been fuelled by force per unit area groups, consumer groups, and even concerns ( Young et al 2010 ) .Furthermore, increased media coverage of environmental catastrophes and societal jobs has besides resulted in a heightened concern of such issues. This was given a political encouragement by the publication of the Stern Review on the Economicss of Climate Change ( Stern 2006 ) . Therefore, people are more cognizant of environmental issues, such as planetary heating or clime alteration. It is frequently reported that many people have a high concern for environmental issues and ethical ingestion, for illustration, Dunlap ( 2002 ) used study day of the month which states that 54 % of Americans agreed environmental protection was a cardinal precedence, even if economic growing was restricted. Furthermore, Banerjee and Solomon ( 2003 ) besides argue that the general support for Ecolabels and ethical nutrients is high among the US populace.

With these surveies in mine, it is expected that there would be an addition in pro-environmental behaviour, such as recycling, or restricting energy use ( Flynn et al 2010 ) . However, these positive attitudes have non translated into a big addition these behaviours and ethical ingestion is still comparatively low ( Aguiar et al 2009 ) . Therefore, attitudes are non ever a clear anticipation of behaviour, ensuing in the ‘value-action spread ‘ . This is shown within the market portion for ethical goods, which is low in comparing to other goods. Harmonizing to Young et Al ( 2010 ) the market portion of ethical nutrients is merely 5 % of entire nutrient gross revenues in the UK. Even good known, high-profile ethical merchandises still have a little per centum of the market portion. Ronchi ( 2006 ) studies that the planetary gross revenues of Fairtrade were over US $ 83 million in 2003, yet the entire value of Fairtrade gross revenues histories for little over 0.01 % of planetary trade. Thus, consumers ‘ purchasing behaviour does non reflect their positive attitudes toward ethical merchandises ( De Pelsmacker et al 2006 ) . This means that other factors are more important that values associating to the environment. This environmental value-action spread is of cardinal importance to environmental policy, as it is prevailing across graduated tables, and happening ways to get the better of it should increase the effectivity of policies.

2. Application ( Further account and illustrations ) :

Even though many support ethical trade in rule, this is frequently non taken into consideration as a purchase standard. Cohen and Murphy ( 2001 ) argue that for around 40 % of consumers the environmental friendliness of a merchandise will ne’er be a factor in buying determinations irrespective of positive attitudes towards ethical ingestion.

There are many surveies which support the being of a value-action spread. Largely these can be found within the field of environmental geographics. Lane and Potter ( 2007 ) found a disagreement between attitudes and behaviour sing the acceptance of cleaner vehicles. They reported that concern for the environmental impact of autos did non ensue in behavioural alterations at the single degree. Therefore, what consumers reported as their intended actions or concerns frequently did non interpret into their existent behaviour.

Furthermore, Vermeir and Verbeke ( 2006 ) besides found that positive consumer attitudes towards sustainability were non consistent with their behavioural forms. They found that even when attitudes were positive towards sustainable dairy merchandises, purposes to purchase these merchandises was low. They besides found that people ‘s perceptual experiences of the handiness of sustainable dairy merchandises was low, which might explicate why purposes to purchase was low. Additionally, grounds of this spread has been found with organic nutrient as illustrated by Hughner et Al ( 2007 ) who show that despite 46-67 % of the population showing favourable attitudes for organic nutrient, the existent purchase behaviour is merely 4-10 % of different merchandise ranges.

3. Cardinal arguments:

The chief arguments environing the issue of the value action spread are described below:

Factors that affect behaviour:

The cardinal issue is why our attitudes frequently fail to happen into concrete actions ( Barr 2004 ) . There are many factors that lead to an person ‘s behaviour, and therefore it is non merely personal values that affect behaviour. People ‘s values are non fixed and are negotiated, and sometimes, contradictory. Cognitive factors entirely will non adequately explain environmental action ( Chung and Leung 2007 ) . The decision-making procedure is difficult to foretell as positive attitudes are non followed by positive purposes. Attitudes entirely are a hapless forecaster of knowing behaviour as there are many more factors that influence pro-environmental behaviour ( Kollmuss and Agyeman 2002 ) . In theoretical accounts of behaviour, information generates cognition, which so shapes attitudes, taking to behavior. However, what shapes behaviour is a complex procedure. The consequence is that attitudes are non needfully a clear determiner of behaviour.

Blake ( 1999 ) argues that the relationship between attitudes and behaviours is moderated by the construction of personal attitudes themselves ; and external or situational restraints. He argues that if attitudes are based on direct experience so they are more likely to be forecasters of behaviour and behaviours frequently result from societal norms. External or situational restraints refer to limitations outside the person ‘s control, such as economic of political factors.

Young et Al ( 2010 ) argue point out that the spread can be due to “brand strength ; civilization, finance ; wont ; deficiency of information ; lifestyles ; personalities ; or, merchandising off between different ethical factors” ( p22 ) . Furthermore, clip or convenience can frequently be the major determiner of consumer behaviour, and hence the value-action spread in apprehensible for environmental and ethical merchandises.

Vermeir and Verbeke ( 2006 ) argue that consumers are inactive with respect to sustainable ingestion, and work within their budget instead than following their values. Furthermore, behaviour is frequently based on wont and hence values refering the environment are normally non taken into consideration. People act impetuously and in ways that do non match to their declared ratings and ends ( Boulstridge and Carrigan, ( 2000 ) . Therefore, this can account for the low market portion of sustainable merchandises ( Minteer et al 2004 ) .

There are besides many different theories sing how consumers make determinations. These can be applied to seek and explicate why there is a value-action spread for some behaviours. For illustration, microeconomic theory ( consumer theory ) states that, “humans make determinations that maximize their utility” ( Sammer and Wustenhagen 2006:188 ) . Therefore, if buying ethical or environmental merchandises does non maximise their public-service corporation so they will non buy them, irrespective of their attitudes towards these issues. Making these determinations requires a comparing of the costs and benefits of alternate actions, instead than approximately certain values, within their budgetary restraint. This means other factors, such as monetary value or quality, are still more of import.

Furthermore, Chatzidakis et Al ( 2007 ) argue that consumers use neutralisation techniques to warrant prosecuting their more selfish ends alternatively of buying environmental friendly or ethical merchandises. Therefore, environmental values are normally less dominant in the decision-making. Therefore, the chief motives for actions are self-interest instead than selfless ( McEachern and McClean 2002 ) .

Therefore, Ajzen and Fishbein ( 1975 ) point out that in order to happen a high correlativity between values and actions, the research worker has to mensurate the attitude toward that peculiar behaviour.

( The factors involved in doing people willing to cut down environmental harm are basically different from the factors involved in doing people take active stairss to cut down harm and to better the environment. )

Information shortage:

One cardinal account for the disagreement between attitudes and purchasing behaviour is the deficiency of information on certain issues ( Dickson 2000 ) . This is considered a important barrier to ethical behaviour. The most effectual agencies to get the better of the ‘value-action spread ‘ is to interpret environmental concern into pro-environmental behaviour. Many argue this can be achieved by increasing information.

Blake ( 1999 ) identifies that the nucleus premise sing the value-action spread is that the chief barrier between environmental concern and action is the deficiency of appropriate information. Eden ( 1996 ) argues that constabularies fail to understand the spread between information and action. She argues that understanding of issues creates awareness and it is this apprehension that is the cause of behaviour. Hence, it is frequently considered that one of the most effectual ways to promote pro-environmental behaviour is to foreground of import facts around the issues. Environmental instruction is one manner in which these environmental messages can be delivered, and hence make fulling the value-action spread with information should assist to alter public behaviours ( Gale 2008, Burgess et al. , 1998 ) . Furthermore, Owens ( 2000: 1142 ) argues that “if people had more information about environmental hazards, they would go more virtuous” .

Traditional thought supported this thought that increased cognition tended to promote favourable attitudes which, in bend, lead to pro-environmental action. Burgess et Al ( 1998 ) called this the ‘information shortage theoretical account ‘ . Many Non-governmental Organizations ( NGOs ) still establish their runs around increasing consciousness, on the premise that this will led to action ( Kollmuss and Agyeman 2002 ) . Some argue that to increase environmental action at that place needs to be educational selling runs on the ethical and environmental issues to alter people ‘s attitudes towards these issues, and therefore change their behaviour ( McEachern and McClean 2002 ) . Many environmental policies are based around this ‘information shortage theoretical account ‘ as policy-makers assume that environmental instruction will take people to move in order to run into policy aims ( Blake 1999 ) . Owens ( 2000 ) points out that authoritiess frequently aim to promote action by increasing consciousness and cognition about certain issues. For illustration the UK authorities ‘s ‘Are You Making Your Bit? ‘ run which was launched in 1998 aimed to develop public apprehension of sustainable development, and therefore, to promote a alteration in behaviour of persons.

However, the consequence of increasing information on behavioural alteration is problematic. Different people will react and construe the same environmental information in assorted ways and sometimes it is interpreted in an opposite manner to what is expected ( Myers & A ; Macnaghten, 1998 ) . Barr and Gilg ( 2002 ) argue that merely increasing information will non take to a behavior alteration that would shut this spread, and information-intensive runs are likely to be unproductive. Due to the increased media attending environing environmental issues, and merchandises such as Fairtrade holding a high profile, it could be argued that there is already a batch of information on these issues, and it is considered that in the West, general consciousness on environmental issues is high ( Thornton 2009 ) .

Sammer and Wustenhagen ( 2006 ) point out that while people may be cognizant of ethical and environmental issues, this does non needfully intend that it plays a major function in their actions. The consequence is that overall environmentally responsible behaviour is low. These findings suggest that the ‘value-action spread ‘ can non be overcome merely by utilizing an ‘information shortage ‘ theoretical account of single engagement. Increasing information does non itself guarantee action at the single degree and information runs around raising consciousness are non are effectual as some may say ( Jackson 2005 ) . Even if values are high few people take environmental actions which involve alterations to their life style and frequently environmental actions that are taken are unrelated to peculiar concerns an person may hold.

This relates to broader issues environing methods of environmental administration. The value-action spread can be considered grounds against the usage of non-state market driven ( NSMD ) signifier of administration which rely on consumers to make alteration. If our attitudes are non interpreting into behavior so these methods are basically flawed. This would propose that other methods are more appropriate to promote environmental action, such as ordinance and economic inducements ( revenue enhancements and grants ) ( Retallack et al 2007 )

Attempts by authorities to impact public behaviour have traditionally been based on supplying cognition through large promotion runs and altering behaviour through

Barriers to behavior:

It is widely considered that there are many other barriers, besides a deficiency of information, which inhibit ethical behaviour doing a value-action spread to be. Numerous barriers can restrain motives for action. Jackson ( 2005 ) uses the construct of ‘bounded reason ‘ to explicate how, even when persons are prosecuting public-service corporation, their determination devising procedures are ‘bounded ‘ by psychological and environmental restraints.

Blake ( 1999 ) points out that assorted theoretical accounts of behaviour are flawed in that they fail to take into consideration the societal, single and institutional restraints. Assorted conditions, establishments and personal daily duties constrain actions that can be regarded as ethical ( Myers & A ; Macnaghten, 1998 ) . Thus the cause of the value-action spread can be explained in footings of personal, societal and structural barriers to action. Blake identifies that this spread is filled with barriers that block the advancement from values to action. In his theoretical account, action is blocked by many factors irrupting into the procedure, instead than merely a deficiency of information. Furthermore, barriers frequently overlap and are combined which limits behavioural alteration.

Blake ( 1999 ) identifies three different classs of obstructions that exist between the domain of ‘concern ‘ and that of ‘action ‘ : individualism ; duty and practicality. However, which factors are of import will change for different persons and environmental actions.

* Individual barriers refer to environmental concerns being outweighed by other conflicting attitudes. Peoples may comprehend themselves as the incorrect type of individual to transport out ethical actions.

* Responsibility barriers refers to the thought that people may non move despite back uping environmental action, because they believe it is non their duty to assist work out environmental jobs. Jackson ( 2005 ) identifies that the credence of personal duty for one ‘s actions and an consciousness of their effects is the footing for the purpose to execute a pro-environmental or pro-social behaviour. ( Lack of trust )

* Finally, practical restraints prevent people from following pro-environmental action, irrespective of their attitudes or purposes. These include deficiency of clip, money, physical storage infinite ( in the instance of recycling ) , every bit good as deficiency of information, encouragement and pro-environmental installations such as recycling and equal public conveyance proviso. Some people may besides be physically unable to transport out some environmental actions.

There will be some convergences between different barriers and the grounds why people do non prosecute in pro-environmental action. Therefore, Blake argues that policies need to undertake these barriers, non merely supply more information or recycling installations.

Retallack et Al ( 2007 ) besides identifies other barriers such as uncertainness, incredulity about the issue and misgiving of national authoritiess and organisations.

organisations that are trusted more by the populace, such as environmental NGOs, are likely to be most successful.

Attitude-Behaviour-Constraint ( ABC ) Model of Paul Stern ( 2000 )

Market-based mechanisms.



* 4 See besides

Attitudes, behaviour, cognitive psychological science, societal psychological science, theory of planned behaviour, societal selling


I chose this subject because the spread between attitudes and behaviours is something that truly involvements me. I find it interesting that people can hold values on something but so non move upon them. This is something I wanted to research farther, and seek to badger out what the barriers to action were, taking to a value-action spread. The term value-action spread did non hold a page so I thought it was appropriate to make one, moreover there is really small on the whole of Wikipedia on this subject as other key footings, such as the ‘information-deficit theoretical account ‘ did non hold a page. However, this besides made it more hard composing my ain page as I could non hyperlink these footings, significance I had to add more account.

I created the page by adding a short sum-up on the value-action spread, so traveling into a more elaborate account of the term. The article so goes on to research some of the cardinal arguments environing the issue. Both for and against statements are explored in order to keep neutrality to the page. Therefore, composing impersonal while still being critical. I followed the construction of other pages associating to environmental geographics to guarantee coherency within Wikipedia.

The three schools of thought start with the earliest/most influential.

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Contemplation on the feedback from the last assignment was to include tonss of information and academic resources. To guarantee a clear construction and place the cardinal features.

This is because it is besides of import to demo the theoretical side. The alterations represent a broader theoretical position that hopefully others will happen utile. Furthermore, certain words have been linked to other Wikipedia pages, such as ‘network administration ‘ so I do n’t hold to travel into more deepness on definitions of phrases, and readers can take to foster explore these footings.

It was besides interesting to compose for an audience and exciting to cognize that if a Google hunt is done for the term, so something I have written will be one of the first articles. Tried to retrieve the audience is potentially planetary.

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the ‘Value Action Gap ‘ . It fundamentally describes those state of affairss where a individual holds values that are inconsistent with their behavior. It ‘s peculiarly apparent in people ‘s attitudes towards the environment- we have the cognition but when it comes to really making something about it, other factors take greater presidence e.g. economic.


The value-action spread is a term used in environmental geographics. It describes the spread between the high value of the environment and earnestness of the job of damaging it, and the comparatively low degree of action taken by the population to counter the job. It is frequently agreed that there are legion barriers of motive for single and corporate environmental action, and that the factors involved in doing people willing to cut down environmental harm are basically different from the factors involved in doing people really take active stairss to cut down harm and to better the environment [ 1 ] . It is hence argued that a cardinal displacement in the attitudes held by single citizens towards the environment and their usage of natural resources is needed to guarantee sustainable development.

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