Common influence tactics

The definition of power, which is “the ability to influence the behavior of others”, shows a strong relationship between power and influence, all together with leadership. According to Hughes, Ginnett and Curphy (2011), understanding about leadership can not be achieved without understanding the concepts of power, influence and influence tactics. Followed up on the six sources of power, this post will list some common influence tactics that can be used to achieve power.

According to Bauer and Erdogan (2009), there are nine commonly used influence tactics:
  • Rational persuasion includes using facts, data, and logical arguments to try to convince others that your point of view is the best alternative. This is the most commonly applied influence tactic.
  • Inspirational appeals focus on values, emotions, and beliefs to gain support for a request or course of action. Such sayings like ““Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” (John  Kennedy) or “Stay hungry, stay foolish” (Steve Jobs) are good examples of this tactic. Inspirational appeals are effective when they are authentic, personal, big-thinking, and enthusiastic.
  • Consultation refers to the influence agent’s asking others for help in directly influencing another person or group. Consultation is most effective in organizations and cultures that value democratic decision making.
  • Ingratiation refers to different ways of making others feel good about themselves. Ingratiation is effective when it is honest, infrequent, and well intended.
  • Personal appeal refers to helping another person because you like them and they asked for your help. Personal appeals are most effective with people who know and like you.
  • Exchange refers to give-and-take in which someone does something for you, and you do something for them in return.
  • Coalition tactics refer to a group of individuals working together toward a common goal to influence others. Unions are common examples of coalitions within organizations.
  • Pressure refers to pushing someone to do what you want or else something undesirable will occur. This often includes threats and frequent interactions until the target agrees.  Pressure tactics are most effective when used in a crisis situation.
  • Legitimating tactics occur when the appeal is based on legitimate or position power. This tactic relies upon compliance with rules, laws, and regulations. It is not intended to motivate people but to align them behind a direction.
There are three possible outcomes from influence attempts:
  • Resistance: occurs when the influence target does not wish to comply with the request and either passively or actively repels the influence attempt.
  • Compliance: occurs when the target does not necessarily want to obey, but they do.
  • Commitment: occurs when the target not only agrees to the request but also actively supports it as well.

The following table shows the usage frequency and outcomes of each influence tactic:

nine_common_influence_tactics

References:
Bauer, T. and Erdogan, B., 2009. Organizational Behavior. 1st ed. Flat World Knowledge, Inc.
Hughes, R., Ginnett, R. and Curphy, G., 2011. Leadership: Enhancing the Lessons of Experience. 7th ed. McGraw-Hill.

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