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3 Questions That Influence Intent and Ultimately Behavior

Science1 has shown that the likelihood of an individual's engaging in a particular behavior can be predicted by their intention to do so. In other words, a person’s behavior is influenced by what he or she intends to do.

With our upcoming new course design, Media Partners addresses three factors that influence intent and ultimately behavior.


Is this Good For Me?  reflects an individual’s own attitudes toward the behavior based on personal experience, knowledge, biases, or perceptions. Those attitudes can be positive, neutral, or negative. Positive attitudes increase intent, while negative views decrease it.

For example, an employee may feel positively about standing up to workplace bullying, believing that addressing such behavior is the best way to stop it. Conversely, an individual with a negative attitude toward resisting bullying might believe that standing up to a bully could intensify the behavior or make them a target

What Do Others Think?  reflects an individual's perception of how friends, family, or peers feel about the behavior.

To illustrate, an individual who believes their colleagues are committed to resisting workplace bullying is likely to adopt a similar view and stand up against a bully. But an employee who perceives that co-workers think bullying is acceptable, or that confrontation is dangerous, is less likely to push back against such behavior.

Do I Have the Right Skills? reflects an individual’s perception of their own control over their behavior. Affecting this perception is one’s belief that they are capable of performing a specific behavior within the circumstances at hand. Ultimately, the stronger a person’s confidence in their ability to perform, and the more they believe in their ability to control their behavior, the greater the likelihood is that they will actually engage in a particular behavior.


In the workplace bullying example, an employee who has been taught how to constructively confront bullying behavior and who feels confident in their ability to take action will be more likely to stand up a bully, while an individual who lacks similar know-how and confidence in their capability to act likely will not.

While we can never perfectly predict how a person will behave in any given situation, we can come close by ensuring that consideration is given to major factors that influence thoughts and actions.

Applying the Power of Intent to Enhance Employee Training

Today’s hyper-competitive business environment, struggling economy, and urgent needs to upskill workers affordably and effectively demand maximum returns on organizational investments in training interventions.

As explained in The Ultimate ROI on Training - Putting New Behaviors to Work, the two-fold goal of training is to impart knowledge and result in learners’ applying new skills and behaviors to perform their jobs.

Media Partners’ behavioral learning products will infuse the power of intent into course design.  The result? Greater likelihood that the training will achieve its goals—new employee behaviors at work.

About the Author

Amanda Hagman, Ph.D. | Media Partners Senior Behavioral & Data Scientist

A recognized leader in program evaluation, learning analytics and the use of predictive insights on an institution-wide scale, Dr. Hagman leads research and innovation for Media Partners’ behavioral training courses. Her work includes the development of course assessments and content aligned with behavioral outcomes.

• Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational behavior and human decision processes50(2), 179-211.
• Greaves, M., Zibarras, L. D., & Stride, C. (2013). Using the theory of planned behavior to explore environmental behavioral intentions in the workplace. Journal of Environmental Psychology34, 109-120.