Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Effect of Persuasion Via Social Media on Attitude toward Elite Sport Policies

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Effect of Persuasion Via Social Media on Attitude toward Elite Sport Policies

Article excerpt

With the growth and popularity of the Internet and social media sites, government agencies have sought to adopt information and communication technologies to increase transparency of the policies they promote (Bertot, Jaeger, & Grimes, 2010). Owing to its merit of being free of charge, as well as the advantage of having great impact without territorial limitations (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010), social media have proved effective in dissemination of social and economic policies (Leavey, 2013). Additionally, more exploration of online persuasion processes is encouraged by academia, as individuals' political attitudes are likely to be influenced in the social media context (Weeks, Ardevol-Abreu, & Gil de Zúñiga, 2017). The elaboration likelihood model (ELM; Petty, Cacioppo, & Schumann, 1983) has been viewed as a solid theoretical framework for research work on persuasion and it has been further suggested that the ELM should be a framework within which to investigate persuasion in the context of social media (Teng, Khong, & Goh, 2014). Although researchers have previously argued that social media are a unique communication platform, and users' attitudes toward political information could be influenced by information posted on social media (Diehl, Weeks, & Zúñiga, 2016), there is still little evidence in the extant literature concerning the effect of policy information on social media in the sport context.

As most government agencies in Taiwan and other democratic nations support sport policy through using public funding, it becomes critical for policy makers to communicate effectively with the public. More specifically, Houlihan and Zheng (2013) suggested that governments should be more cautious about justifying their decision to the public in the aspect of sport policy funding in the future as the issue of opportunity cost of sport policy funding may be a concern for the public. For example, if government subsidizes sport, public funding cannot be used on other policies such as education; this is called opportunity cost. Furthermore, sport policies seemed to be fragmented as a result of the difficulty in articulating the policy initiatives (Schut & Collinet, 2016), implying that the communication techniques utilized by government agencies are critical. In the era of social media, it is a matter of urgency that the effect of communication of sport policy in social media should be investigated. Moreover, there is currently scant literature available about the effect of communication of sport policy in the social media context. With the increasing popularity of sport as well as of social media worldwide and a lack of sufficient attention to public acceptance of sport policies (Funahashi, De Bosscher, & Mano, 2015), it is imperative to examine the effect of communication of sport policy in the social media environment. As a result, the purpose of our study was to explore through the ELM the effect of different persuasion methods on individuals' attitudes toward sport policies in the context of social media.

Theoretical Background and Hypothesis Formation

In this research we used the ELM as a theoretical framework to explain the effects of different persuasion methods on individuals' attitudes toward sport policies because the ELM is deemed a feasible and useful approach to elucidate the persuasive information process in the social media context (Teng et al., 2014). The proposition in the ELM is that an individual's attitudes can be changed by two distinctly different routes to persuasion: a central route and a peripheral route (Petty et al., 1983). Attitude change via the central route is viewed as resulting from a person's diligent consideration of information that is central to the merits of a particular attitudinal position. Attitude changes occur via the peripheral route because the individual makes an inference about the advocated position based on simple cues in the persuasion context (Petty et al. …

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