Donors' Beliefs about Persuasion Episodes in Chariy Advertising

Huang, Fuzhi (2008) Donors' Beliefs about Persuasion Episodes in Chariy Advertising. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Guilt appeal as a persuasion tactic has become more and more popular. In particular, research of guilt appeal has undergone changes in history from sparse studies piggybacking on fear appeals to a few studies attempting to explain guilt mechanism with cognitive dissonance theory, later to more research seeking explanation of guilt from the information processing conflict perspective, finally to many studies from guilt arousing the communication paradigm perspective which seem to search for endless separate influential factors. The prior studies on guilt appeals did not nurture much theory (Ghingold, 1980). The focus of the research is improved understanding of guilt appeals by adopting Friestad and Wright's (1994) persuasion knowledge model (PKM). PKM is one of the most prominent models in persuasion literature. Guilt appeal as a persuasion tactic in particular is also in the arena of persuasion literature at large. Besides, Hibbert et al. (2007) also full document that PKM is a good fit in exploring guilt appeals. However, Hibbert et al. (2007) has only tested two elements of the PKM (agent knowledge and persuasion knowledge) and has left aside all aspects of topic knowledge. Replicating Hibbert et al.'s (2007) research, this study further includes topic knowledge. Different from most of the studies which normally research guilt in a generic charitable context, this study focuses on the China Earthquake because disaster appeal has seldom been researched and this specific context also tends to be better in examining donors' topic knowledge.

Friestad and Wright's (1994) persuasion knowledge model (PKM) in persuasion literature discusses how targets cope with agent's persuasion attempts in persuasion episodes by actively withdrawing their three knowledge structures (topic, agent and persuasion). Guilt appeal in charity advertising, in particular, is an effective persuasion tactic. PKM in guilt research in the China Earthquake context comprises the following three specific knowledge structures: what people know about the China Earthquake (topic knowledge), how much people know about guilt tactics in charity advertising for the China Earthquake (persuasion knowledge), and what people know about the British Red Cross through which donations to the China Earthquake go through (agent knowledge).

It is hypothesized in the present study that potential donors will withdraw knowledge about what they think of the China Earthquake, how guilt is used as a persuasion tactic in charity advertising for the China Earthquake, and what they think of the British Red Cross to determine how they should react to the appeals in terms of guilt levels experienced and donation intention.

A sample of 30 Nottingham University masters from a consumer buyer behavior module participated in the pilot study attempting to select medium level guilt adverts for the main study among ten charity adverts embedding different levels of guilt. A total of 100 university students in China and the UK filled in a questionnaire consisting of 30 questions measuring three knowledge structures (persuasion, topic and agent) after seeing two medium guilt adverts selected from the pilot study.

The proposed model is partially supported. It is possible that the new stimulus--disaster appeal (China Earthquake)--is bound to produce different answers. It is also possible that a number of other mitigating factors affected this result, such as culture differences It is suggested that further research take into account all the possible effects of influential factors.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: guilt appeal, persuasion knowledge model, PKM, China Earthquake, persuasion attempt, topic knowledge, persuasion knowledge, agent knowledge, persuasion episode
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2016 21:09

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