Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Book Review -- Influencing Human Behavior: Theory and Applications in Recreation, Tourism, and Natural Resources Edited by Michael Manfredo

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Book Review -- Influencing Human Behavior: Theory and Applications in Recreation, Tourism, and Natural Resources Edited by Michael Manfredo

Article excerpt

INFLUENCING HUMAN BEHAVIOR: THEORY AND APPLICATIONS IN RECREATION, TOURISM, AND NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT. Michael Manfredo (Ed.). (1992). Champaign, Il: Sagamore Publishing. 369 pages, ISBN 0-915611-35-X.

Few areas in our field are as important to managers and researchers alike as that of influencing human behavior. We strive to control vandalism, motivate potential tourists to travel to particular states or resorts, discourage camping techniques that damage natural resources, encourage different trail user groups to respect one another, and undertake other efforts aimed at influencing the ways people think and act. To make matters more challenging, we recognize that the recreation experience is largely about freedom and, therefore, we attempt to influence behavior in lighthanded ways that rely on persuasion rather than enforcement. This can be a challenge, to say the least. Part of the challenge, particularly for managers, has been finding sound but practical information to guide their efforts. Thanks to Michael Manfredo and a group of other experts from a wide range of related fields, there is now much better guidance. Influencing Human Behavior: Theory and Applications in Recreation, Tourism, and Natural Resources Management is an outstanding resource for managers, researchers, and students.

This book takes on the imposing task of reviewing the literature regarding persuasive communications and applying it to selected aspects of our field. Its premise is that theory should guide persuasive communication in practice and research and that parks, recreation, and tourism management is an ideal providing ground for advances in persuasive communications theory and practice. It is organized around its two stated goals: (1) to overview the prominent theories in persuasion, and (2) to focus on several distinct areas in our applied disciplines, reviewing the existing literature and making suggestions for new theoretical directions in these areas.

The book consists of a collection of eleven chapters, each by experts addressing related topics from slightly different perspectives. The first five chapters review and extend the most prominent theories that currently address persuasive communication. The sixth forms a transition that leads into the final four chapters which attempt to apply what we know about persuasive communication to several vexing challenges facing our field. Its organization and treatment of topics is successful. It effectively links theory with practice and will provide guidance for thoughtful researchers and practitioners. It is a rare example of a work that will be useful and interesting to both researchers and managers.

The authors cast an appropriately broad net in discussing literature that is relevant to influencing human behavior including: parks, recreation, and tourism management (resource impacts, user conflict, vandalism and depreciative behavior, fees and charges); social psychology; public health (from experiences in planning for and evaluating public information campaigns); environmental psychology; sociology; education; criminology; and consumer psychology. The treatment of existing theory is thorough and provides an excellent foundation. Icek Ajzen provides an excellent review of persuasive behavior literature, where we stand today and how we got here. Martin Fishbein and Michael Manfredo follow with a review of the Theory of Reasoned Action including a useful application to influencing public opinions regarding a controlled burning policy. Mark A. Vincent and Russell H. Fazio tie the Process Model of Attitudes in with the Theory of Reasoned Action. Their emphasis on attitude accessibility is an important addition in providing an explanation for why we sometimes deliberately process information while at other times act more "automatically." The differences in motivation and opportunity to engage in deliberate information processing they identify as crucial in this regard are variables that managers must take into account and ones that can sometimes be influenced as information campaigns are planned and implemented. …

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