Applying the means-end chain theory and the laddering technique to the study of host attitudes to tourism

Robin Nunkoo, Haywantee Ramkissoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Scholars investigating local residents' attitudes toward tourism have often used different types of measurement procedures based on positivistic paradigms, while very few researchers have based their studies on purely qualitative approaches. This paper introduces and discusses a qualitative method known as the means-end theory and its associated laddering technique, which can be used to investigate host attitudes to tourism. The laddering technique, based on the means-end approach is recommended to understand values, which influence attitudes, since from a social psychology discourse, values are considered as antecedents of attitudes and opinions. It is argued that through an understanding of the personal values of the respondents, it is possible to have a different perspective on their attitudes and opinions toward tourism. The authors are not claiming that such an approach is superior to other measurement procedures and research paradigms, but argue that the means-end theory and the laddering technique have considerable potential to shed light on issues surrounding this research area. Despite the limitations associated with such methods, it is argued that laddering based on means-end theory deserves further investigation and empirical testing by scholars investigating local residents' attitudes to development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-355
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Host attitudes
  • Laddering
  • Means-end
  • Qualitative technique
  • Tourism
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Applying the means-end chain theory and the laddering technique to the study of host attitudes to tourism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this