How Word Of Mouth (WOM) affects Government-Sanctioned Sporting Events in Singapore

 

How Word Of Mouth (WOM) affects Government-Sanctioned Sporting Events in Singapore

Abstract:

This dissertation explores how Word Of Mouth (WOM affects government-sanctioned sporting events in Singapore. To achieve this, it further explores the impact of sport participation in the country as well as the relationship between WOM and the levels of sports participation. The concepts such as Elaborate Likelihood Model (ELM), Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), and Cognitive Dissonance were used to help in explaining the psychology behind the actions and then substantiate the different factors affecting sanctioned sports in sedentary and active individuals. It further uses a phenomenological research design method that focuses on describing, comprehending and providing the meanings of human life experiences about sports participation. The findings show that human beings tend to participate in sports because of their preferences, interests, perceived behavior control, and attitudes. Finally, it contains a discussion of the findings and the conclusion of the entire dissertation.

 

Chapter 1: Introduction

 

1.1 Background

Getting the citizens of Singapore to lead an active lifestyle is becoming increasingly important in the 21st century. Leading an active lifestyle is of utmost importance for the nation. It not only reduces the chances of having a heart attack and type 2 diabetes which is 2 of the top 10 health-related deaths in Singapore but also presents physical and mental benefits to exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which bring about euphoria, this reduces the levels of stress in an individual and brings about the feelings of euphoria (Grossman, A. 1984). Increasing the amount of sports participation would seem logical in this circumstance.  However, Singapore has always struggled with getting more participation (Guthold, R., Stevens, G., Riley, L. and Bull, F., 2020).

1.2 Justification of the study

The research findings from existing literature provide a general overview of the current rates of participation in sanctioned sports and how they coincide with each other. Most of them are studies of their attributes and characteristics. There is, therefore, a huge gap in the literature surrounding this. Due to the limited amount of literature in linking these two subjects together, theories are drawn from research regarding the change of attitude, human behaviors and behavioral intentions would be explored. WOM is the chosen form of media interaction out of all the media avenues because it has been proven to be one of the most effective means of disseminating information. Besides, the effectiveness of WOM is so widely acclaimed that the  Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOOMA) according to (WOOMA 2014), over 13 % of sales were driven by direct WOM alone. Due to the number of obesity rates and amount of citizens diagnosed with cardiovascular disease on the rise, the Singapore government has been trying to promote and advocate the importance of sports participation and a healthy lifestyle. Also, because of the proven wide reach and effectiveness of WOM, the researcher thought it would be interesting to see how the effectiveness of it and how these two elements can coincide to create effective results.

1.3 Aims and Objectives

This research aims to explore the co-relation and psychology behind the co-relation between WOM and government-organized sporting events. This research would aim to explore the different forms of WOM, the elaboration likelihood model, the theory of reasoned action and the theory of planned behavior.  There are 4 research objectives we set out to achieve:

– To explore the different types of WOM and its effectiveness

-To investigate the different factors and the best way to motivate citizens to participate in government sporting events

– Outline and examine the possible reasons why citizens are not participating in sanctioned sporting events

-To highlight the Managerial and Theoretical implications surrounding the proposed solutions

1.4 Outline of the Study

 

Chapter two of the study would explore the existing literature relevant to the research and aims to highlight the gaps that this research strives to address. Chapter three would then address the methodological approach including the ethical approach of the investigation. The fourth chapter would give an interpretation of the results and the key themes identified. Lastly, chapter five would aim to further discuss the significance of the findings as well as implications of the research, limitations, and avenues for future research.  Relevant theories such as the Elaboration likelihood model, The Theory of Planned behavior and Cognitive dissonance will be also be explored to provide a conceptual foundation for this dissertation

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Word of Mouth (WOM) is characterized as a representation, interpersonal communication between a medium receiving the information and the other medium verbalizing it. Often, the receiver is perceived to have no affiliations to the brand, product or service (Chiosa 2014). (WOM) promotions often promise better returns and are proven to be one of the most effective ways of promotion,  personal element that is often absent in other promotional approaches (Godes & Mayzlin 2004). WOM has been getting more and more recognized as an important form of promotion in recent years. It is been perceived as being more reliable and dependable than conventional advertisements (Asada & Ko 2016). WOM is effective not only during the infancy assessment stages of a product but even before there is a recognized need from the consumer. Casual conversations can evoke an inquisitiveness and bring about an external stimulus might act as a catalyst (Bayus 1985). Word of mouth has also proved to be a major factor in affecting human purchasing power as well as interest in something. Many businesses have identified the importance of WOM communication as a significant information source to help them comprehend the choices of the clients in the future. Through this sense, word of mouth can, therefore, be considered as an important factor in affecting the decision-making process of the consumer (East, Hammond & Wright 2007).

Consumers can access information that tends to influence their purchase options from many sources or channels. This form of communication is valued greatly by people as it entails activities that a business intends to cover to generate favorable statements from the clients. Also, research has proved that WOM is a valuable “source-credibility” (Bayus 1985). WOM is not like other traditional communication ways because it is viewed as trustworthy since it communicates first-hand experiences from an individual who is considered to gain nothing by promoting the service or product in question. When clients are satisfied with the service or products, they will not only repeat the purchases and services but also talk very highly of the service or product. In this case, WOM can, therefore, be said to be dependent on the idea of transparent communication, a two-way dialogue, and the satisfaction of the customer (Asada & Ko 2016). WOM’s basic elements include educating individuals about a service or product, giving equipment that ensure information sharing is enhanced, determining the individuals who are highly likely to share information, learning where, how and when views are being shared, as well as responding and listening to everyone (East, Hammond & Wright 2007).

WOM can also be used in the sports industry whereby several sports companies are involved actively in different WOM marketing to share the information with as many people as possible to improve their customer base. It also has a significant impact on the viewership of the sport. Additionally, WOM is considered to have a positive influence regarding satisfaction, image, attachment, and corporate social responsibility.

WOM takes on two forms, Micro level WOM and Macro with the former consisting of strong ties and the latter consisting of weak ties. This concept would be further elaborated in later parts.

2.1 Micro WOM

Micro-level Word of Mouth (WOM) is a process that consists of mostly individuals transferring information sharing opinions in a manner that flows both ways. (Keller 2007). An example of Micro WOM would be hearing about information through brand evangelists, family members, and peers

Brand evangelists are one of the most effective forms of Micro WOM, they are people who strongly believe in a specific product or service, so strongly that he will go out of his way to promote the product to others (Doss and Carstens, 2014). They explain the products or services and through this, they inspire by infusing their message with passion as they have the power of personal touch as well as genuine human conviction. Brand evangelists are considered to be effective since it’s personal and thus they promote the products or services through personality (Doss 2014). Moreover, it is effective as it is grassroots s people follow the crowd. It is also vital since it spreads from one individual to the other in multiplying form.

There are 4 steps in developing brand evangelists.

Figure 1: Developing Brand Evangelists

Stage 1. Developing Confidence: Consumers find that particular service or product exceeds their expectations and develops confidence in it.

Stage 2. Establishing Brand Loyalty: Feeding on the product confidence, Consumers initiates stay loyal with one product and refuse to switch even if a better option is apparent.

Stage 3. A sense of Personal Ownership: The consumer takes pride in the product and perceives the preached product to be associated with his credibility.

Stage 4. Recommendation of the product: The consumer disseminates information about his product towards his/her network group.

 

2.2 Macro WOM

Macro-level WOM is made up of referral networks and consumer networks. Its role in the marketplace is to help the community scale promote the influx and trading of data connecting consumers. Although there is a lack of literature in the workings and intricates of this form of WOM, its importance and effectiveness cannot be downplayed as it plays a vital role in the world of marketing (Young, Li & Huang 2004).

One of the variables that Macro WOM capitalizes on is “Herd Effect”. This refers to the prospective consumers following the trends and purchasing patterns of the masses for an extended time (Young, Li & Huang 2004). Individuals influenced by the herd effect have identical decision-making processes, disseminate around the same form information, and have similar thought processes. The rationale comes about that people are innately “lazy” by nature when given an alternative to choose a complex option or the simple one we would choose the latter (Shen, Zhang and Zhao 2015) We tend to convince ourselves that the method that requires less effort is presumably correct, and “the majority must be right”. This is especially true when the formulated argument is perceived as being “Strong”.

In other words, herd behavior means that people tend to follow what other people are doing and continue with their daily activities with imitation. According to Fiske and Taylor (1991), this is because humans are considered “cognitive misers”, which means that they would try to behave rationally and consistently, and also march effort by using less effort. Therefore, human beings require heuristics like “consensus is good”. Group thinking would usually arise from following such heuristics.

WOM strategies like online ads and targeting opinion leaders are prevalent in companies, that are hoping to capitalize on “herd effect” to expand their range of audience and consumers. (Bayus et al. 1986).

 

2.2.1 Elaboration Likelihood Model

 

Figure 2: ELM

Fig 2. Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)

ELM tries to describe the way different attitudes are formed, shaped, and reinforced through persuasion (Petty & Cacioppo 1986). It also explains how the different messages affect individual perception and attempt to explain how attitudes are developed and reinforced. Also, the model recommends that individuals exhibit either low or high elaboration, which is their level of effort when they face a persuasive message. In this case, their level of elaboration tends to impact the processing route which the message would follow either central route processing or peripheral route processing.

According to ELM’s multiple-roles hypothesis, anything that influences an individual’s attitude is a variable. For instance, the variable attractiveness can influence viewers of two different ads depending on the product being advertised. If a beautiful ad is used to advertise a beauty product, which is a relevant source of attractiveness, discerning viewers will see the relevance and evaluate the ad more positively (Alboqami et al. 2015).  On the other hand, if a beautiful ad is used to advertise roofing materials, the lack of perceived relevance will influence viewer attitude accordingly. Evaluation of the beautiful product may be influenced by source attractiveness, leading to different outcomes for the two products (Khare, Achtani & Khattar 2014).

In the case of the ads mentioned earlier, the beauty variable in the ad serves as a cue for viewers to further deepen their beliefs for the real product even if the product isn’t as good as the viewer believes (Williams & Buttle, 2013), this effect is known as cognitive dissonance and would be further explained in the later parts of the dissertation.  The combination of the consumer’s self-belief and the cue provides objective information to aid in changing the attitude using the central route.

 

2.2.1.1 Central route

The concept of cognitive elaboration is important in all dual-process theories. It refers to the amount of thought devotion to a subject matter. The central route in the elaboration likelihood model contributes significantly to persuasion and decision-making processes (Williams & Buttle 2013). The recipients in the central route are highly motivated and engage in careful thought processes. Also, the high level of motivation in central route processing comprises elaboration of a higher level, whereby the user assesses the contents of the message instead of reading it casually. They spend most of the time they already have in a pre-conceived notion of the subject matter and therefore possess a reasoned attitude. As a result, the users of the central route would be able to understand what more important for them and consequently invest in evaluating the credible aspects of the information (Williams & Buttle 2013). The attitude is then supported and enforced by likened information and results in an individual having thought processes via the central route, and therefore increasing the chances of the individual processing the information deeply and having lasting attitude changes (Wang 2015).

One of the main factors that dictate whether a person employs the peripheral or central route are his motivations. Motivations are dictated by personal interest and need for cognition (Wang 2015). For example, If a person is interested in sports,  his interest would be his motivation to elaborate on the subject. Sometimes the person need not be involved, the curiosity on the subject can be enough for them to employ a central route. Sometimes the need for intellectual stimulation could also inform motivation.

Moreover, An individual may be interested in a subject due to mere curiosity and just wishes to learn more and expand their knowledge base. (Williams & Buttle 2013).  The need for intellectual stimulation could also inform the motivation. The content of the message can influence attitude toward the subject. For instance, if the recipient of the message has a poor attitude towards the message shared, the opposite effect is likely to occur. Therefore, the message recipient might resist the suggested innuendo instead of buying into its persuasive message or proposed solution (Longart 2010).  Nevertheless, at the end of the elaboration continuum or the central route, attitude changes, negative or positive, tend to last longer and can reliably predict behavior. If the attitude is negative, the person’s behavior is in tandem with objective information he or she had, the same case applies for positive information.

 

2.2.1.2 Peripheral Route

At the peripheral route level, messages to the recipient evoke little to no interest in the subject and therefore has the lesser capacity to process the message. This route occurs at the low end of the elaboration continuum, there the messages are often not examined thoroughly by the recipient (Williams & Buttle, 2013). The rationale is that the recipient lacks objective information to act as a guide; hence, they must rely on the rule of the thumb such as general impressions. (O’Keefe 2008).  The recipient focuses on superficial parts of the message, for example, the mood of the speaker, the verbal cues he has, or the context within which a message is given. To reiterate, the message recipient in the peripheral route has little capacity to process information due to a lack of interest or the complexity of the message.

Another phenomenon that is apparent in peripheral routes is “ overload”. In those circumstances, the message recipient might decide to use the early parts of the message, presumably because they are easier to digest (Williams & Buttle 2013).  For instance, if the message is presented creatively, the recipient would just develop a positive general impression, even if the message conveyed is not coherent.

Another superficial heuristic people might use is the credibility of the speaker. If the speaker is more credible by his or her position, then the listener is likely to believe the message, and since the use of credibility requires little effort low elaboration is required. (O’Keefe 2008).

In summary, the peripheral route comprises low levels of elaboration. In this case, the user does not evaluate the information to check for effectiveness. Therefore, other external factors such as distraction may influence the user. The attitude of the user might be reinforced or change depending on the effectiveness of other factors apart from the information. In regards to the strength of the reinforced attitude, users are less enduring and the subjects may change considering future messages that persuade them (Williams & Buttle 2013).

Figure 3:Routes to Persuasion

 

2.2.1.3 Route determinants

In totality, an individual’s motivations and abilities are two of the most important determinants of whether an individual employs central or peripheral routes. Under ELM, motivation is the desire to process the message while the ability is the capability to evaluate the content of the message critically. (Walraven 2012). Factors such as distraction, cognitive overload, and existing knowledge influences the desire to process the message or motivation. Moreover, attitudes towards a message play a critical role in shaping the motivation (Sandes & Urdan, 2013).

2.2.2 Cognitive Dissonance

The idea of motivation shaping routes borrows heavily from cognitive dissonance theory. The theory argues that when people face new information that is incongruent with their beliefs, it generates a negative intrapersonal state (Dissonance) and therefore are motivated to find evidence that would eliminate the dissonance.

Figure 4: Cognitive Dissonance

People usually strive for harmony and consistency between their attitudes and their behaviors. Let’s take for instance a person planning to do business; he has two of these thoughts at the same time.

  • Is that he is a great businessman and wants to borrow money to start a business
  • He has failed multiple businesses already and is in debt

He acknowledges that both of these are facts, the problem is that these two facts are inconsistent with each other. If one he has already failed multiple businesses, then there is no way for sure that he will know he would have a successful business or even more so a great businessman, this inconsistency of thoughts is known as dissonance. According to (Festinger 1962), there are four ways to solve the inconsistency conundrum, first is the “Change of thoughts”. In this case, when the individual realizes that he is not that successful in doing business and that borrowing money to start a business might not be as foolproof as he thinks, he might decide to change one of those beliefs by recalling instances where he was successful and ignore the failures that come along even if they may be more apparent and based on the instances of success, the person may continue to insist that he is exceptional in business and therefore constructs beliefs towards the positive end (Longart 2010).

 

The second way to create consistency with his thoughts is to “Change his behavior” in the case of the individual he can choose to acknowledge the fact that he is not that great of a businessman not put himself further in debt.

The third way involves adding thoughts into the equation thoughts that can help the individual rationalize why he should start a business. Therefore, in this case, for the aspiring businessman, he might agree with the 2 conflicting thoughts. Yes, he might have already failed multiple businesses and is already in debt; and yes, he wants to borrow even more money to start a business. However, as an additional thought, he rationalizes it as he has already learned from his previous business failures and believes this time his business would be a success.

Lastly, it is necessary to underplay the supporting evidence as a way of finding equilibrium in the dissonance. In this case, of the individual; would have the attitude “I don’t care what people say, I want to start a business”.  As a result, he would be motivated to find evidence that would eliminate the dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is a problem to some because when a person encounters a persuasive against his/her beliefs, this dilemma according to (Elliot, A. and Devine, P., 1994) is so intense that it is described as the feeling of physical discomfort, this, therefore, motivates the individual to restore consistency.

 

2.2.2.1 Additional factors

There are cases where dissonance is especially likely to motivate an individual to resolve their inconsistencies. These factors are especially useful especially in the context of sports participation in Singapore. The first one is the perceived control and choice over the inconsistencies. In the case of Singapore, if they want more sedentary people who think that exercise is tiring and ineffective exercising to form positive ideologies about sanctioned sporting events, they can probably sanction it through Macro WOM to advocate the need for exercise. They can also persuade these individuals to form cognitions against their own beliefs. However, this theorem is only valid if the individual felt like he had a choice over whether they should consume or not the information being shared by the media (Pfeffer, Zorbach & Carley 2014).

In summary, cognitive dissonance refers to the time when an individual realizes he had a choice to do something that contradicts his own beliefs, but still consciously does it. During this time, cognitive dissonance is usually amplified and he must then find some sort of equilibrium within himself by resolving the inconsistencies. This leads to the person convincing himself that he does think that sanctioned sporting events are good, and therefore proceeds to participate in them.

The last factor is the perception of negative consequences in their actions. In this case, let’s assume a sedentary individual was persuaded into thinking that Singapore sanctioned sporting events are not ineffective and tiring and this is supported by an accredited source like the World Health Organization. This specific event would formulate a cognition of a negative consequence and therefore persuade the individual to resolve that inconsistency.

 

2.2.3 Theory of Planned behavior

2.2.3.1 Theoretical background

 

It is used to comprehend the target of the action, the context of the action, the place where it is performed, and the time it takes to act. (Khare, Achtani & Khattar 2014). The theory argues that behaviors are usually determined by behavioral intentions at certain instances and perceived control of behavior. Also, the Theory of Planned Behavior intends to describe all actions over which individuals can show self-control. Achievement of certain behaviors is down to both behavioral control (ability) and intention (motivation). This theory argues that before acting, a person needs to possess a certain attitude. In other terms, it suggests that the key determinants of behavioral intention are attitude and norms. Attitudes are subjective but understanding them is a critical element in understanding whether a person will act or not. (Kozinets, R. V., Valck, K. D., Wojnicki, A. C., & Wilner, S. J. (2010).

Attitude refers to the way a person feels towards a particular behavior and several factors influencing the attitudes. It also refers to the extent to which an individual possesses unfavorable and favorable assessments of interesting behavior. Attitude advises that it is important to consider the results before carrying out a certain behavior. The first attitude is the perceived strength of behavioral beliefs concerning the performed and probability of an outcome. (Khare, Achtani & Khattar 2014). The second attitude is the evaluation of potential outcomes, whether it will be positive or negative. If the potential for an outcome is positive, then the attitude is likely positive hence the motivation for engaging in the behavior exists (Lee Thomas, Mullen & Fraedrich 2011).  The theory argues the presence of a direct correlation between attitudes and outcomes and that if a certain behavior is likely to lead a favorable outcome, a person is likely to view the behavior in question favorably. On the other hand, if a person believes that the behavior will lead to an undesirable outcome, the attitude towards that behavior becomes negative.

The theory of reasoned action is the basis of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). TPB seeks to predict the intention of an individual to engage in specific behavior under certain conditions. Six constructs explain the considerations that people make in their minds before they decide to adopt a behavior (Alboqami et al. 2015).

The first construct is the attitude under which a person evaluates the positive or negative outcomes of behavior. If the evaluation leads to a negative conclusion, then the attitude becomes negative, consequently, the motivation to engage in that action diminishes (Ajzen 1991).

The second construct is the behavioral intention and it refers to the motivational factor influencing the decision to perform a behavior (Khare, Achtani & Khattar 2014).  If the intention is strong, the motivation to engage in a certain behavior would be strong as well leading to the performance of the behavior.

The third construct related to the subject norms which refers to the extent to which a person believes that other people, such as peers, approve or disapprove of the behavior in question. Also, it refers to individual beliefs regarding whether people and peers of important to them believe that they should take part in the behavior. The power of peer pressure is considered strong and, if peers approve the behavior, this means there is a strong likelihood of the individual engaging the behavior (Ajzen 1991).

The fourth construct relates to social norms whereby it refers to the cultural beliefs of a group the person belongs in. These are considered as the customary behavioral codes for a certain group of people. They are viewed as standard or normative that guide people on what they should or not do (Khare, Achtani & Khattar 2014).

The fifth construct is perceived power. It refers to is the presence or absence of factors that might impede or enhance the performance of the behavior. It determines the sense of control over the performance of the behavior, and when those factors are present, it gives the doing of action and a feeling of being in control. (Khare, Achtani & Khattar, 2014).

Finally, the sixth construct is perceived behavioral control, which is the perception of the ease or difficulty in performing the behavior of interest. Those constructs directly influence the intention to engage in a particular behavior. It varies in different actions and perceptions, thus resulting in an individual possessing a variety of perceptions regarding behavioral control based on the incident (Ajzen 1991).

Figure 5: Theory of Planned Behavior

 

The Theory of Planned Behaviour can also be used to aid and used to understand why Singaporeans choose to or choose to not participate in sporting events. The theory of reasoned action is the basis of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). TPB seeks to predict the intention of an individual to engage in specific behavior under certain conditions. Six constructs explain the considerations that people make in their minds before they decide to adopt a behavior (Alboqami et al. 2015).

In regards to sports participation in Singapore, attitude construct of TPB can be used by the citizens to evaluate whether the expectations of government-sanctioned events would make a positive or negative contribution to their lives (Thomas, Mullen & Fraedrich, 2011). If the evaluation leads to a negative conclusion, then the attitude becomes negative, consequently, the motivation to engage in that action diminishes.

 

Singaporeans can use subjective norms construct to determine whether they can participate in sporting activities as it refers to the motivational factor influencing the decision to perform a behavior (Khare, Achtani & Khattar, 2014).  If they find that intention to participate in government-sanctioned events is strong, the motivation to engage in sporting activities would be strong as well. This aspect focuses on everything surrounding the individual that might be of influence this includes; Social network, cultural norms or religious beliefs (Ajzen, 2011). An example of this would be the peer pressure, if it there is strong peer pressure to engage in sporting activities, and if peers do approve sports participation, this means there is a strong likelihood of the individual engaging in government-sanctioned events.

 

Finally, perceived behavioral control is the perception of the ease or difficulty in performing the behavior of interest can determine whether Singaporeans can participate in sporting activities. This is because it refers to an individual’s belief or perception of their ability to act in the way they best deem fit. When they believe that participation in sporting activities is easy, they can then easily participate in it. What the theory suggests is that with a positive form attitude, favorable social norms and high levels of perceived behavioral control are the best variables to help Singaporeans to participate in sporting activities (Khare, Achtani & Khattar, 2014).

 

Furthermore, so in the case of sanctioned sport participation in Singapore if an individual thinks exercising is a beneficial and a good idea (Attitude), with a perception that your family friends would be supportive of it (Subjective Norm) and you voluntarily want to participate in it(Perceived behavioral control), the chances of you participating in a sanctioned sporting event is very high. But if any of these constructs is unfavorable then the individual is much less likely to participate.

 

2.2.3.2 Conclusion

The above literature has demonstrated why dissemination of information through Macro and Micro WOM has been over the years one of the most effective ways, it was established that to determine the best odds of getting an intended message across is highly correlated to the spectrum of the ELM he or she lies on. The theory of planned behavior provides further justification for the importance of raising awareness when trying to affect the perception of individuals. With this, the government can develop better strategies and better events to promote its agenda of developing a thriving sports ecosystem in Singapore (Vision2030). However, there is a gap in the literature to explore the most effective approach to promoting government sports events. Which therefore motivated main research question that guided the study “The relationship between WOM and the levels of sanctioned sport participation in Singapore The topic is important because governments take sporting events seriously, as they offer young people a chance to build a career, entertainment, and engage them in productive activities. As such, it is crucial to promote sporting events using the most effective promotion approach.

 

3.0 Plan of Inquiry

3.1 Methodology

The selected methodology is phenological, this study aims to realize the effects of WOM and its impact on the sports participation rate in Singapore, to do this, inductive reasoning is employed. An inductive approach would allow for trend spotting and therefore a generalization opinion from the consensus. A deductive approach was not suitable in this study, because deductive would not have been suitable due to the inability to develop and test the empirical research an inductive approach was used instead

3.2 Research Design

The research design intends to provide the appropriate framework for the study between WOM and the different factors an individual is subjected to when deciding whether or not to participate in sporting activities and how the Singapore government can capitalize on it to increase sports participation.

This study employs the interview as its primary form of method. The initial part of the study provides a series of semi-structured interview questions to investigate the following individual’s preferred form of receiving information and their thought process behind choosing whether or not to participate in sporting activities. Hence this study employs a descriptive research design.

As a guide, we would use the elaboration likelihood model, which introduces the multiple ways in which an individual’s emotions, preconized knowledge, and enthusiasm towards the topic can influence the attitudes and the decision making of a consumer attitude. We would be understanding whether the input of either strong ties or weak ties stimuli would lead to a difference in sport involvement and therefore the levels of sports participation.

3.3 Sampling technique

The sampling technique employed would be stratified sampling. This is the most effective for this case of study due to the diverse and widespread nationwide population. The study participants would be divided into Age groups, Gender, and levels of exercise. Stratified sampling is also employed to have an evenly distributed response to best represent the population.

This study was conducted, with 20 participants consisting of baby boomers (55-73), Gen X (39-54) and  Millennials (19-38), the reasoning behind why the specific age groups are picked is due to them being the most prominent age groups in respect to the demographics in Singapore. (Abdin et al., 2013).

With the lack of qualitative research regarding the aspect of consumer psychology, this study aimed to provide quantifiable data demonstrating the level of influence W-O-M has on sport participation.

Insights gained by such an investigation may provide opportunities for those interested in utilizing the professional learning community model to meet the standards for accountability and increased teacher learning through ongoing professional development. Examining the perceptions of educators within the process contributes to the growing knowledge of this reform effort; provides districts with insights regarding the process and how the method affected educators’ perceptions of context, process, and content; and helps districts in deciding if this model is best for their system.

 

3.4 Data Collection Process

3.4.1 Research Instrument

Individual interviews were the most effective way to investigate the relationship between WOM and sports participation of the individuals, it provides the participant a platform to share their opinions and thoughts on the subject matter without any external influences. This allows the interviewer to have a greater understanding of the interviewee’s thought process. (Jamshed, 2014). Focus group was also another method that was up for consideration although they can provide a broader range of information which can be used for more consistent studies, there are a few major drawbacks that convinced the writer otherwise; first, there could be disagreements within the groups which may cause a deviation from the main topic. Secondly, the research responses are not as in-depth, compared to individual interviews; there is a chance that the participants do not express what they truly feel in fear of offending another participant of the focus group especially when their thoughts oppose each other.

 

3.4.2 Data Collection Process

The participants were recruited through the researcher’s circle of contacts, he would first initiate contact through messaging means or face to face acknowledgment. If the subject is agreeable, then a time and date for an interview would be scheduled. The interviewer would first make a self -introduction and A brief introduction of the dissertation contents and goals were also explained. Interviewees are then given a consent form to sign indicating their acknowledgment of the material used. After the probing questions are asked, interviewees are given their own space and time to think about a response. They are not interrupted unless the interview deems their response unelaborated or vague, at this point, the interviewer would then step in to try and to get a fuller response. Each interview lasts for approximately 15-20 minutes and is conducted in an enclosed and quiet area to ensure clear articulation and a distraction-free response. At the end of the interview, participants would be given a chance to express any final thoughts they may or may not have of the topic subject matter.

3.5 Analysis and Interpretation of Data

The information collected from the various interviews were then segregated into their respective categories and then transcribed into Microsoft word. A copy of one of these interviews can be found in Appendix 3. A thematic approach would then be employed to spot various trends within the interviews. The benefits of having this approach are that it provides flexibility and can be modified to fit the constraints of the study, while not compromising on the integrity and quality of the data. (Nowell, Norris, White and Moules, 2017)

3.6 Ethical Considerations

 

This dissertation was guided by the 5 major ethical principles associated with ethical conduct.

 

Considerations
 

 

 

“Do not harm”

The basis of the interview does not cause any harm to participants; participants are advised and allow to leave at any point in the interview if they feel uncomfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

“Privacy and Anonymity”

Participants are informed that the results of the interview would be used in this dissertation; their age and responses would be revealed but their names would be kept confidential to remove any identifying information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Informed consent”

Participants are informed of the study topic, the purpose of the interview and the nature of the study all the participants were above the legal consent age of 18, therefore are acknowledge with their verbal consent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Rapport and Friendship”

A quiet and conducive place is selected with verbal consent from the interviewee if the place makes him/her feel comfortable. Interviews are held in one continuous fashion and are advised that the interview style is semi-formal.
 

 

 

“Data Interpretation”

The data recorded during the interview would be analyzed and presented in a logical, coherent and ethical way to avoid academic misconduct.

 

Table 1: Ethical Consideration

3.7 Limitations

3.7.1 Limitations and Future Research

This dissertation has adopted a qualitative view of the subject matter and although qualitative semi-structured interviews are effective in gathering detailed emotional responses, the approach findings are being limited to its scope and findings, and therefore would require the addition of more empirical evidence to support it.

One of the main limitations of this study was interviewee biasness. The interviewees might feel apprehensive in divulging information that they feel might be too personal as sensitive topics like lifestyle and personal preferences are investigated. This might result in only the partial truth of the subject matter investigated and therefore an incomplete picture on the factors affecting sports participation in Singapore.

Secondly, this study has a small sample size of 12 individuals. This may result in a limit in the variation and overall accuracy of the test results. Future elaboration of this research may want to include a larger pool of participants to get a more consistent and tangible result pool.

Lastly, it is recognized that, although some may be shy to admit, the researcher’s limited experience in conducting interviews can be suggested to be a source of limitations.

3.8 Summary

This chapter on methods has been a synopsis on how the dissertation direction would be, and the researcher’s approach towards conducting, gathering and interpreting the data gathered from the various interviewees.

Name Age Group and classification Gender Frequency of activeness
Bryan 24(Millennial) Male Sedentary (Low elaboration)
YuJia 26(Millennial) Male Active (High elaboration)
Xavier                  25(Millennial) Male Active (High elaboration)
Dave                  26(Millennial) Male Sedentary (Low elaboration)
Jan            63(Babyboomer) Female Active (High Elaboration)
Sharon            52(Babyboomer) Female Sedentary (Low Elaboration)
Rodney            62(Babyboomer) Male Sedentary (Low Elaboration)
Perle            60(Babyboomer) Female Active (High Elaboration)
Rolland                         48(Gen X) Male Sedentary (Low Elaboration)
Alex                         42(Gen X) Male Sedentary (Low Elaboration)
Gino                         45(Gen X) Male Active (High Elaboration)
Eunice                         38(Gen X) Female Active (High Elaboration)

Table 2: Summary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4: Findings and Analysis

 

The previous chapters of this dissertation provided a background of the subject, a detailed review of past literature and an overview of how this research was conducted. This chapter will present the findings from the interviews, after extensive thematic analysis, which revealed three distinct themes relating to the effectiveness of WOM in sports participation and how they impact the touchpoints of these themes include; communication, personalization and the changing relationship between the customer and business. The themes of the data include Catering,

 

Preference to Macro vs Micro
Sub-Headings Participant Quote Significance
 

Xavier (Millennial)

E: Would the medium you receive the information have a co-relation with whether you view an organized sporting activity in a positive or negative light?

 

X: Yes. As different mediums will portray a different light on sports and exercise, it will be important to choose the right way to bring sports and exercises across, If the form of media is positive and from my top 3. Peers, family or Sports journals I’ll be more likely to join in the sport.

 

Perle (Baby Boomer)

E: Would the medium you receive the information have a co-relation with whether you view an organized sporting activity in a positive or negative light?

 

P: Probably, if it was from a sports journal or some other mediums that I am not interested in I probably would associate it with being boring because I won’t even be bothered to read it. But if it is from a medium that I like E.g. Through my peers I think I would believe that the event is much better and be more motivated to participate.

 

 

 

Eunice (Gen X)

“I usually get my information online, I follow ActiveSG’s Facebook page, F45’s Facebook page, and the MOH page. To keep myself updated on the latest events.”
 

Dave(Millennial)

I usually see sports activities on social media like Instagram and Facebook where influencers or companies try to market a certain event.

Table 3: Preferences to Macro and Micro WOM

 

4.1 Preference to Macro vs Micro WOM (Group ages)

Word of mouth (WOM) has been substantiated as one of the most influential and well-known sources of information dissemination (Brown and Reingen, 1987). This is broken down into two forms of media Macro and Micro WOM as highlighted in the above literature. Through investigation, we have noted in 12 of the participants surveyed 11 of them expressed that they would be more likely to participate in various forms of activities if the medium of information dissemination is to their preference be it their age groups. This phenomenon can be explained with the factors surrounding the Theory of planned behavior (TPB), specifically under “Subjective norms” which consists of the factors surrounding the individual’s decision-making process In this specific case, the preferred form of WOM information dissemination.

This preference was identified by Xavier a millennial with his quote “If the form of media is positive and from my top 3. Peers, family or Sports journals I’ll be more likely to join in the sport”. (Ref table 1). The phrase “As different mediums will portray a different light on sports and exercise, it will be important to choose the right way to bring sports and exercises across”. This combination of statements alludes the point, that to Xavier, not only does the medium the information is disseminated through affects the likelihood of him joining the sport, it additionally acts as a decision making criteria on whether he would view the activity as good or bad. From this, Xavier would tend to make a decision based on his beliefs of whether he should or should not perform the behavior.

Perle reiterates the prevalence of TPB with a quote from her statement that  “Probably if it was from a sports journal or some other mediums that I am not interested in, I probably would associate it with being boring because I won’t even be bothered to read it”.  Highlighting that she would not be interested if the form of media was from a platform that she did not enjoy. This falls under the variable “Perceived Behavioural control” where an individual believes that his/her actions and beliefs are under their control. In this case, if the medium was a platform that Perle enjoys, she would view the activity as enjoyable as it would be her preferred medium. The phenomenon can be concluded that as long as the form of marketing is in line with the interests of the people a positive result can be expected.

Interest – Sedentary vs Active
Sub-Heading Participants Quote Significance
 

 

Rodney (Sedentary)

E: Would you be open to know more about government-sponsored/sanctioned sports events if you could?

 

R: No, I am not interested in government propaganda and exercise in general.  Like I mentioned above I control my diet to maintain my health and stay in a healthy weight range.

 

 

 

 

Eunice (Active)

E: Would you be open to know more about government-sponsored/sanctioned sports events if you could?

 

E: I would love to know more as it is a good way to gather my friends and family to join me in keeping fit and healthy while having fun together.

 

Sharon (Sedentary) E: Do you have a generally positive or negative outlook on exercise?

S: I have a negative outlook on exercise as I know it is tiresome. Exercise is also a personal thing where everyone can follow their path. I am too busy at work and I don’t see the need of me coming home and again put myself in a tiring activity instead of resting on my couch and watch a movie. However, if I see a positive impact of exercise on my friends, I think I will try in the future.

 

Perle (Active) E: Do you have a generally positive or negative outlook on exercise?

P: I have always had a positive outlook on exercise since I know the benefits it has to me. I am usually motivated to exercise even just watching TV health TV programs where people work out.

 

Table 4: Interest- Sedentary vs Active

 

4.2 Interest – (Sedentary vs Active)

It has been observed that that in 10 out of the 12 surveyees whether an individual leads a sedentary or active lifestyle has a direct impact on whether they take interest to participate in government-organized sporting events. The variable “Attitudes” under the ELM theorem has been the basis of this observation It has been identified that in 10 out of the 12 interviewees, how much interest in a government-endorsed sporting event is directly co-related to the whether he is sedentary or active

activities. A quote from Rodney a sedentary individual(Table 1) highlights this it reads, “No, I am not interested in government propaganda and exercise in general, as I mentioned above I control my diet to maintain my health and stay in a healthy weight range”. In this situation, Rodney employs the peripheral route in the ELM where his attitudes and perspective on government-sanctioned sports or even exercise, in general, is pessimistic and he takes no interest whatsoever.

This co-relation of exercise frequency and interest is also supported by Eunice an active individual. When asked about her willingness to understand more or participate in government-sanctioned sporting events she said: “I would love to know more as it is a good way to gather my friends and family to join me in keeping fit and healthy while having fun together.” This reiterates the phenomenon identified that the amount of interest an individual has on government-sanctioned sporting events is directly related to his/her frequency of exercise.

Also, a quote from Sharon, a sedentary person highlights her attitude towards exercise whereby she says, “I have a negative outlook on exercise as I know it is tiresome. Exercise is also a personal thing where everyone can follow their path. I am too busy at work and I don’t see the need of me coming home and again put myself in a tiring activity instead of resting on my couch and watch a movie. However, if I see a positive impact of exercise on my friends, I think I will try in the future.” In this case, Sharon shows that if she has a positive or favorable assessment of exercise, she would have considered exercising. This is also echoed when she says, “However if I see a positive impact of exercise on my friends, I think I will try in the future”. This point shows that after she evaluates the positive outcomes and sees exercising as a positive thing, she would be motivated to engage in the behavior. The quote from Sharon employs peripheral route because she has low motivation to exercising and she tends to be influenced by other factors other than her negative attitude when she says that “However if I see a positive impact of exercise on my friends, I think I will try in the future”. In this case, she might be reinforced depending on the effectiveness of exercising on her peers.

Moreover, the quote from Perle, an active individual (Table 1), shows that she has a positive outlook on exercise, “I have always had a positive outlook on exercise since I know the benefits it has to me. I am usually motivated to exercise even just watching TV health TV programs where people work out”. From her quote, it can be seen that she has a positive assessment of exercising, which would motivate her to exercise. This shows a central route processing as she closely examined and observed the positive impact of exercising on her. Her attitudes towards exercising are reinforced because of the benefits or strengths she gains from the activity.

 

4.3 Cognitive dissonance (Lack of time)

Cognitive Dissonance (Sedentary VS Active)
Sub-Heading Participants Quote Significance
 

 

Xavier (Active)

E: What government-based health movements are you aware of and follow. 

 

X: I am aware of HPB national steps challenge movement, the play-ability movement and sports SG organized Badminton groups.

 

E: Do you think these events, are well-organized, are essential in keeping everyone active?

 

X: Yes I feel that they are essential, you need a population that moves. Yeah I heard from my friends that they are relatively well planned

 

E: Do you participate in any of them?

 

X: No I don’t, I work from 9 am to 5 pm most of these activities are held in the morning or too late at night I have work the next day.  If they were held on the weekends I’ll be cool with it. But on weekdays I have not enough time.

 

 

Bryan (Sedentary) E: What government-based health movements are you aware of and follow.  (E.g. HPB )

B: Hmmmm, I am not sure but is there one called the big step movement? Yeah, it was that the national steps challenge too. I remember they gave out free step trackers or something along the line.

E: Do you think these events, are well-organized, are essential in keeping everyone active?

 

B: Yeah I think they are, occasionally when I pass by town or the sports hall I see mass workouts, the coach is usually quite “hyped” and the students all look pretty engrossed.

 

E: Do you participate in any of them?

B: No, I guess I’m just not interested in tiring myself out and being under the sun.

E: Would you consider participating in them?

B: Nah, it’s just not my thing you know. I’ll rather diet.

 

Yujia (Active) E: What government-based health movements are you aware of and follow. 

 

Y: The go-to move program, by the national arts council the health promotion board big step movement where they gave out the Fitbit, I think that’s about it.

 

E: Do you think these events, are well-organized, are essential in keeping everyone active?

 

Y: I’ve passed by these sanctioned events a few times, not bad I’ll say. I think in general they are essential because you get folks that don’t have their workout routine and programs, with this you cut short their process of thinking.

 

E: Have you participated in any of these programs?

 

Y: No, I have not, they are not exactly my type of exercise and besides I the timings of all these events are usually a whole afternoon or evening event I don’t have time for them.

Table 5: Cognitive Dissonance (Lack of Time)

 

Another interesting theme identified during the study was cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance in sports participation was observed to be a trend with some of the active individual. 4/6 of the active individuals are interested in government-sanctioned sporting events but did not participate in any of them, and this inconsistency is the trend we witness 3 out of the 4 quoted the “Lack of time” as a common theme to represent their lack of participation in government-sanctioned sports activities. Xavier pointed this out with his quote, “No I don’t, I work from 9 am to 5 pm most of these activities are held in the morning or too late at night I have work the next day.  If they were held on the weekends I’ll be cool with it. But weekdays I have not enough time.”

Two factors are leading to cognitive dissonance; attitudes and behavior as mentioned in chapter 2. People usually strive for harmony and consistency between their attitudes and their behaviors. In this case, Xavier’s attitude is that he knows about these events and thinks they are well organized and essential, but his behaviors prove otherwise with him not participating in the activity quoting the “Lack of time”. To alleviate the discomfort he feels and find equilibrium, he finds it within himself to convince himself that his lack of participation is due to the lack of time.

 

Cognitive dissonance was also identified with Bryan, a sedentary individual. Bryan is aware of the sanctioned events from his quote, “Hmmmm, I am not sure but is there one called the big step movement? Yeah, it was that the national steps challenge too. I remember they gave out free step trackers or something along the line”. , thinks that they are well organized and essential, as seen from ” Yeah I think they are, occasionally when I pass by town or the sports hall, I see mass workouts, the coach is usually quite “hyped” and the students all look pretty engrossed”. But still chooses not to participate quoting “It’s just not my thing, I’ll rather diet”.

Bryan’s cognitive dissonance is equally apparent, but his chosen method of resolving it is to “Underplay” all evidence and find comfort in ignoring all motivations for him to participate in sanctioned activities and rationalize it from his quote ” I’ll rather diet.”

 

4.4 Forms of information dissemination (Group Ages)

 

Forms of Information Dissemination
Sub-Heading Participants Quote Significance
Rodney (Babyboomer) E: Do you get information on sporting activities? From what source? If not, how would you like to?

R: “I don’t particularly source for information but If I do, I get my information from the traditional advertisement.

Eunice (Gen X) E: Do you get information on sporting activities? From what source? If not, how would you like to?

E: I do source for information about sporting activities, and I prefer a mix of traditional advertisement, social media as well as WOM from peers and family.

Dave (Millennial) E: Do you get information on sporting activities? From what source? If not, how would you like to?

D: I do source for information about sporting activities from online sources through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Table 6: Forms of Information Dissemination

The forms of information dissemination are dependent on the preference of the individuals whereby baby boomers prefer traditional Gen x prefer mixed millennials prefer online. 2/4 of baby boomers said that they would actively seek for information. Baby boomer prefers traditional Gen x prefer mixed millennial prefer online.

Rodney reiterates his preference by saying, “I don’t particularly source for information but If I do, I get my information from the traditional advertisement.” His preference for traditional advertisement falls under the “Perceived behavioral control” of TPB, which means that his preferred form of dissemination would just be for secondary purposes like enticements, presentation, visual appeal, and credibility. These factors tend to influence whether Rodney would participate In sporting activities.

All members of Gen X prefer a mixed form of information dissemination. Eunice, an active person, says, “I do source for information about sporting activities, and I prefer a mix of traditional advertisement, social media as well as WOM from peers and family.” This falls under the “Subjective norms of TPB” and shows that her preference for both online and traditional forms of dissemination will give different views on sporting activities, and this would tend to affect her likelihood to join sports. Moreover, this acts as a decision-making tool based on her beliefs whether sporting activities are good or bad. From this, Eunice would be able to decide whether she should or not perform the behavior.

Dave, a millennial prefers online means of information dissemination. He asserts that “I do source for information about sporting activities from online sources through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram”. This shows that his preferred medium of information dissemination falls under “Perceived Power” of TPB, whereby online means may facilitate or hinder his participation in sporting activities. The perceived power in online means of dissemination of information tends to contribute to Dave’s perceived behavioral control on sporting activities. As a result, he would decide whether he should or not perform the behavior.

 

 

4.5 Preference over-exercising Time slots (TRB-ELM)

Preference over Timeslots (TRB-ELM)
Sub-Heading Participants Quote Significance
 

 

Xavier (Active)

E: Do you have a preferred time to exercise? If not, which timeslots do you think classes should be held to attract the greatest number of participants?

X: Evening is the best timeslot for me because I spend the entire day at work.

Bryan (Sedentary) B: Because I am working now, most probably an evening timing is the best timeslot for me. I think if your target participants around my age and above the evening timeslot is the best because any other time, they are working. But if you are talking about senior citizens then probably in the morning.
Jan (Active) With my age, I prefer evening time when I’m out from work. However, I’ll be retiring soon, and when that time arrives, I’d prefer morning hours.
Alex (Sedentary) Being a busy man with a lot of responsibilities during the day, I’d say evening time is the most appropriate for me because that is when I’ll get time.

Table 7: Preference over Exercising Timeslot

 

It has been noted that the Evening is the most popular because of the weather and timeslot availability. The preference by Xavier, an active person, prefers evening falls under “Subjective norms” which consist of factors that surround his decision-making process. The evening timeslot would make it possible for him to join sporting activities because he is free from work.

The preference of Bryan talks of the “Social norms” whereby most people tend to be at work during the day, and creating an evening timeslot for his age and above, increases the likelihood of joining sporting activities. Also, the senior people in the community mostly spend their time at home and a morning timeslot for them would increase their likelihood to join sports.

Alex says that he is a busy man with a lot of responsibilities during the day and therefore prefers evening timeslot. This shows the “Perceived behavioral control” of TPB, whereby he views it much easier to join the classes during the evening when he is free.

 

Chapter 5: Discussion

The most effective method to promote sports participation in Singapore would be through the use of Word of mouth (WOM), which has been considered as one of the most influential and well-known sources of information dissemination (Brown and Reingen, 1987). According to the results of the findings, it has been noted that 11 out of 12 participants prefer to participate in sporting activities when the medium of disseminating information is to the preference of their age groups. This phenomenon can be explained with the factors surrounding the Theory of planned behavior (TPB), specifically under “Subjective norms” which consists of the factors surrounding the individual’s decision-making process In this specific case, the preferred form of WOM information dissemination. For instance, a millennial like Xavier said that if his preferred medium (peers, family or sports journals), he would tend to be more inclined to join sporting activities. Also, the preference of medium of information dissemination tends to act as a decision-making tool to help him arrive at his conclusion. He would first assess the mediums of information dissemination before making a decision based on his beliefs regarding if he should join sporting activities or not.

The medium of information dissemination also impacts sports participation through evoking interest. For instance, Perle said that if the medium of dissemination is the one she enjoys, prefers, she would enjoy the activity. This aligns with the “Perceived behavioral control” where people believe that their actions or behaviors are under their control. This phenomenon argues that if the form of promoting sports participation in Singapore aligns with the interest of the citizens, it gives positive outcomes.

Sports participation can also be promoted by creating interest to participate in them. This is important in creating positive attitudes towards the activity. This variable is explained under the “Attitudes” variable of the TPB theorem. For instance, Rodney, a sedentary individual, said that he is not interested in government-sanctioned sporting activities and views it as government propaganda. He further says that he controls his diet to maintain his health as well as staying in line with a healthy weight range. From the TPB theorem, Rodney’s perspective and attitudes towards sports activities are pessimistic, resulting in no interest in it. This, therefore, shows the need for the government to create interest in the sporting activity which would, in turn, change the attitudes of people, whereby they will see it as a favorable behavior of their interest. It will eventually lead to the participation of citizens in sporting activities.

Creating a positive interest in sports participation will help the government attract citizens in its activities by changing the perceptions of people with a negative outlook. The citizens who have a negative outlook on sports participation would be advised to see the positive impact it has on those who take part. After they have conducted their assessment and consider exercising as a positive thing, they will be motivated to engage in the behavior. For these citizens, the government should employ a peripheral route because they have low motivation for sporting activities, and upon favorable assessment, they will be reinforced to take part depending on exercising effectiveness on their peers.

Sports participation is important for Singaporeans to help them lead healthy lifestyles. Healthy lifestyles are important as it minimizes the probability of citizens getting type 2 diabetes and heart attack. These two diseases are considered to be among the leading causes of death in the country. Therefore, participation in sporting activity ensures people lead healthy lifestyles, hence increasing their lifespan. Sports participation is also important since it has significant benefits to mental and physical wellbeing. This is achieved through exercising producing endorphins that bring euphoria, which is responsible for the reduction of stress levels in a person (Grossman 1984). Consequently, increasing sports participation levels appear to be the best way of leading healthy lifestyles.

Cognitive dissonance can be used to persuade sedentary folks to try and participate in sports and therefore change high elaboration. Sedentary individuals tend to be aware of the sanctioned events but they choose not to participate in the sporting activities, and instead “underplays” the evidence and finds comfort in ignoring every motivation for them to take part in sporting activities. Sedentary folks can be persuaded through a change of their thoughts (Festinger 1962), whereby they might decide to change their beliefs and ignore the fact that they do not need to take part in the exercise. The other way involves the creation of consistency with their thoughts to change their behaviors that exercising has positive benefits for them. Another way would involve adding thoughts that would help them understand why they need to exercise. In this case, sedentary folks would need to agree with the two contrasting thoughts. They would agree that they do not need to exercise indeed and accept the fact that exercising is important for their wellbeing. Finally, they would be required to be motivated to participate in sporting activities by finding equilibrium in the dissonance. In this case, they would develop the attitude and desire to exercise, which would motivate them to get rid of the dissonance. As a result, they would have managed to exercise through persuasion against their beliefs.

In regards to the marketing and managerial implications of fitness and fashion influencers on Instagram, followers, influencers who post the content and companies sponsoring the influencers or paying them are the main actors. There is a high value for users of Instagram and this means that influencers should be transparent. In this case, they should give a short notice in the picture’s description in case of an affiliated or sponsored post. Influencers are expected to give 100% raw and honest opinions to gain the trust of their followers. Also, a great influencer and follower relationship on Instagram relies on transparency. It would also be necessary to reduce the number of posts that are sponsored since followers tend to doubt influencers whose posts are mainly paid and sponsorship contents. This would be an interpretation of the followers that the influencer is only interested in increasing profits and does not assess whether their followers are cheated or not.

Moreover, companies that use influencer marketing are advised not to develop very strict contracts. Content creators should be given enough freedom to facilitate the authenticity of their content. Even though there is an increased risk of bad reviews and feedback, people tend to value transparency and honesty. Additionally, bad feedback and reviews would allow the organization to make amendments that improve their services or products. The organization would, as a result, adapt their services or products to meet the needs of the clients, thus increasing its competitive advantage.

Chapter 6: Conclusion

6.1 Introduction

After completion of the literature review as well as analysis of the results of this research, the conclusions can be derived from the research objectives. This research aimed at investigating the impact of WOM on government-sanctioned events in Singapore. In order to achieve this, the objectives of this study were:

  • To explore the different types of WOM and its effectiveness
  • To investigate the different factors and the best way to motivate citizens to participate in government sporting events
  • To outline and examine the possible reasons why citizens are not participating in sanctioned sporting events
  • To highlight the Managerial and Theoretical implications surrounding the proposed solutions

This chapter will offer conclusion in relation to the literature found in Chapter 2, the major implications to the knowledge that was provided in the results of this research, and any directions for future research and limitations.

6.2 Theoretical Contributions

6.2.1 Types of WOM And Their Effectiveness

The research found out that WOM takes two forms; Micro level WOM and Macro level WOM whereby the former consists of strong ties while the latter involves weak ties. In relation to the strong ties in micro WOM, brand evangelists were found to be the best example since they are individuals who strongly believe in a specific product or service, and therefore, they will strongly go out of their way to promote the product or service (Doss and Carstens, 2014). Macro WOM was found to entail different models such as the cognitive dissonance, theory of planned behavior and elaboration likelihood model. Elaboration likelihood model helps in understanding the way different attitudes are shaped and formed. It achieves this through different persuasion routes. For instance, the central route contributes significantly to persuasion and decision-making processes (Williamns & Buttle, 2013). The recipients for this route are usually highly motivated and engage in careful thought processes, and in most of the time, they already have a preconceived notion of the subject matter, thus possesses a reasoned attitude. In regards to the peripheral route, the messages to the recipients evoke little or no interest in the subject and therefore, there is less capacity to process the message. In determining the route to be employed by a person, the research found out this is dictated by a person’s motivations (Leong, Ooi and Lin, 2017).

Cognitive dissonance related to the event when people face new information which does not agree with their beliefs, and as a result, it generates negative interpersonal state. The effectiveness of this theory was found to help people strive for harmony and consistency between their attitudes and their behaviors. Cognitive dissonance can be very effective in motivating people to solve their inconsistencies, and the Singaporean government can use it in the context of sports participation. Finally, the theory of planned behavior is effective in explaining that people have the ability to exert self-control on all behaviors. The research found out that the key component for this model is behavioral intent; behavioral intentions are influenced by the attitude about the likelihood that the behavior will have the expected outcome and the subjective evaluation of the risks and benefits of the outcome.

6.2.2 Motivating Citizens to Participate in Government Sporting Events

As seen in the sub-heading ‘Preference to Macro vs Micro WOM (Group ages), most people showed that they would likely participate in sporting activities if the medium of information dissemination is to their preference. This phenomenon has been explained in the TPB under ’Subjective norms’, which comprises of the factors surrounding the decision-making processed of an individual. When people receive the information through their preferred means, they tend to have positive beliefs about participating in sporting activities. This is also consistent with the believes of other people such as their peers, whereby if the peers would approve sports participation, the person is highly likely to take part in the behavior (Ajzen, 1991).

Citizens are also highly likely to be motivated to participate in sporting activities because of their interest. This has been discussed under ‘Interest- (Sedentary vs Active)’. The variable under focus in ‘Attitudes’ under TPB. When a person conducts an assessment of a behavior and comes up with a positive assessment, they are highly likely motivated to take part. In this case, they will develop positive attitudes towards exercising and as a result this behavior is reinforced because of the strengths or benefits they will gain from the activity.

 

6.2.3 Reasons Why Citizens Are Not Participating in Sanctioned Sporting Events

This has been discussed in the results and analysis of the research under the ‘Cognitive dissonance (Lack of time)’. The research found out that 4/6 of active individuals are interested in government-sanctioned sporting events but did not participate, and this inconsistency has been the trend as almost all ot them quoted their reason to be lack of time. As discussed in Chapter 2, cognitive dissonance is brought about by two factors namely; behavior and attitudes. In this case, most citizens tend to quote ‘lack of time’, to alleviate the discomfort they feel and find equilibrium, whereby they find within themselves to be convinced that they lack to participating in sports is because of lack of time.

 

6.2.4 Managerial and Theoretical Implications Surrounding the Proposed Solutions

The research found out that WOM is the best method of promoting sports participation in Singapore because it is one of the most influential and well-known information dissemination sources (brown and Reinger, 1987). Research findings indicate that 11/12 participants prefer to participate in sporting activities when the medium od information dissemination is to the preference of their age groups. Also, this evokes people’s interest, whereby when the interest of citizens aligns with sports participation, it will give positive outcomes. Therefore, the government should ensure that it meets these needs to motivate the citizens to participate in sporting activities. This, therefore, shows the need for the government to create interest in the sporting activity which would, in turn, change the attitudes of people, whereby they will see it as a favorable behavior of their interest. It will eventually lead to the participation of citizens in sporting activities. Moreover, for sedentary folks, cognitive dissonance should be used to persuade them to participate in sporting activities.

6.3 Limitations

Despite the insightful findings given by this study, there are several limitations that needs to be addressed. First, this study does not give enough evidence that exercising alone can eliminate heart disease and type 2 diabetes because it involves other elements which are not discussed in this research. The second limitation is in regards to the goals that the government-sanctioned events aim to meet because there are no defined goals that these events are working towards achieving them. Finally, the research failed to investigate other ways of ensuring sedentary individuals convert to active because it only addressed the cognitive dissonance approach.

6.4 Directions for Future Research and Limitation

Future research should observe the long-term effects and whether attitudes are lasting or not, to see whether the methods employed are successful. Also, the future research should use primitive methods to ensure sedentary individuals convert to active individuals using ELM and keeping in mind cognitive dissonance because individual perceives inconsistency with physical discomfort since it contradicts their true beliefs and values. Finally, since there are two ways that people would be more likely to do something about inconsistencies, should they be given the perceived control over their actions? Also, would advertisements targeting these people help them agree with their beliefs that they want to be healthy and a subsidized workout is dumb to miss, effectively making them have an inner dilemma.

Share this Post