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Information role and attitudes within universities towards energy conservation.

Miles, H. J. (1980) Information role and attitudes within universities towards energy conservation. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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This Thesis presents discussion and empirical evidence arguing that role (both occupational and social) is a crucial concept in the analysis of attitude formation and change and the person's behaviour. Earlier chapters involve discussion of roles, attitudes and attitude change and in later chapters evidence is presented showing that role-specific attitudes can be demonstrated empirically. The topic area for these investigations and discussions was that of energy conservation. Chapter 1 discusses what is meant by role and how role is related to information and attitudes. It includes a consideration of attitude change. The second chapter reviews research work carried out within the broad area of 'social responsibility', which includes energy conservation. The first two studies presented are exploratory studies of energy use and conservation in universities. The first is a straightforward analysis of energy consumption at Surrey University, revealing a number of interesting use-cycles and demonstrating that people's behaviour can significantly affect energy use. The second, 'Energy Conservation in British Universities' is a survey of the ways in which British Universities were attempting at the time to reduce their energy consumption and costs. It was felt that such a survey could provide valuable information not only as a purely descriptive analysis of patterns of energy conservation adopted in universities, but also in terms of assumptions made about attitudes and the behaviour of university personnel with regard to energy use, and more particularly about the possibilities of influencing such attitudes and behaviours in a favourable directions, i.e. towards greater energy conservation. An analysis of responses allowed universities to be arranged along a dimension from those taking most energy conservation action to those taking least. This dimension was found to conform to a cumulative scale (Guttman scale). By taking the further step of treating the cumulative scale as a flow diagram, it was possible to demonstrate that position on it was possibly linked to movement through a series of designated procedures. Three other studies were carried out. The general methodology for these drew heavily on information obtained from the first two studies. The first of these studies is described in Chapter 4, The Effects of Energy Conservation Publicity'. Information/publicity was published in a large institution (Surrey University) which was intended to boost energy conservation awareness and behaviour by university personnel. The effects of this information were analysed from 1118 respondents in short interview situations. The effects of the information were clearly apparent upon the awareness of respondents about energy conservation matters, and a process of decay over time was found (measured by an Awareness Index). Few occupational differences were found. Chapter 5 describes a more comprehensive questionnaire study intended to examine the relationships between attitudes, beliefs and knowledge of energy conservation, and to look for any occupational or social role effects. Once again significant sex differences emerged, though the strong relationship between sex and occupation was also apparent in this study. Significant differences were also found between 'experienced' subjects (those who had been interviewed for the Publicity Study) and 'naive' subjects (those who had not) in terms of their response rates (motivation to respond) as well as their degree of expressed concern, indicating the importance of previous information on attitudes. The last Study, presented in Chapter 6, was a more direct test of the effects of role upon the evaluation of other role groups by subjects, and of the concept of 'centrality of beliefs'. The hypotheses presented were supported fully or partially by the results, Clear occupational differences emerged with respect to 'occupational stereotypy', defined as occupationally specific ways of evaluating occupational groups, including one's own. The final chapter draws together the findings from these studies and discusses them in the light of the role/attitude model and attitude change. Relevant recent research from the literature is discussed and farther research proposed. The applicant concludes that a role-based model of attitudes, beliefs and behaviour, rooted in a cognitive model of Man, can provide useful generalisations drawn from work in the areas of attitudes towards energy conservation and applied to general relation-ships between attitude and behaviour. He feels that such a model adequately accounts for the relevant personality, situational and normative factors.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Miles, H. J.
Date : 1980
Contributors :
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 09 Nov 2017 12:17
Last Modified : 20 Jun 2018 11:25

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