Weapons of Influence

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Cheapest Assignment

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Cialdini argues what he calls six ‘weapons of influence’ via which to impact the behaviour of the others. In this essay, brief explanation has been provided on the scientific basis put forward by Cialdini to support his arguments. Furthermore, critical assessment has been provided on the extent at which the leaders can incorporate weapons to impact others ethically. The contemporary leadership theory along with the discussion of ethical issues has been provided in relation to the six principles. Furthermore, the ways in which the leaders can use these principles has been also described.

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Scientific Basis of Cialdini Arguments

Over the last decade, behavioural scientists conducted various studies on the procedure of the social impact which means ways in which individuals can impact the action and attitudes of others. Cialdini suggested six principles of influence which do not impact the merits of request or proposal itself. The scientific basis of the six principles has been described as follows-

  • Principle of Liking- It might be fairly obvious that the individuals are impacted by those persons they like and social science research helps us in employing the principle to become influential in their professional interactions. Research has uncovered various factors as to the amount a person likes one another. The one factor which stands out as powerful and easy to incorporate is the similarity. 
  • Principle of Authority- Individuals are impacted mostly by those they perceive to be the legitimate experts. This particular response makes great sense as these legitimate authorities have attained their positions through virtue of great knowledge or the skill in matter of hand. However, for their top knowledge, the experts act like the novices in domain of the social influences through assuming their expertise as self-evident. 
  • Principle of Scarcity- It is seen that Oldsmobile which is the car so poor on the merits that General Motors announced that it would be manufactured. This can be explained in the form of a principle of the scarcity. It indicates that opportunities and items become desirable as they become lesser accessible. Therefore, the efficient mediator must never fail to describe unique unattainable advantage of the recommendation.
  • Principle of Consistency- In accordance to this principle, the individuals have stronger desire to be consistent with the previous opinions, and actions. For instance, when the prevalent eatery was having worry with great numbers of customers who did not honor their misgivings, the proprietor planned a modest strategy which nearly eliminated the problem. When the receptionist took the reservation over the telephone, she asked the question “Will you please call if you have to change your plans?” The new line prompted patrons to commit to the calling when needing to change reservations. The success of the small wording alteration illustrates the efficiency of the principle of consistency.  
  • Principle of Reciprocity- In accordance to the principle, individuals give back what the other has provided them. Reciprocity is thought to govern the exchange of goods, and money, it does not apply to monetary or material. The basis of this principle is the fact that when the participants indulge in the conversation by providing the others with the attention, they would likely to receive the same from those persons in return.
  • Principle of Social Proof- The fundamental method that the persons decide on what they must do in the particular situation is to look at the similar things done by the others. Therefore, the proof that the aspect which is correct is not grounded in the physical setting, but in the social setting (Cialdini, Wissler & Schwietzer 2002). This principle works on the basis that individuals are more probable to follow the course of the action if they see the other people doing identical things (Brain fodder 2021). 

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Leaders Usage of Six Principles

Leadership is the major predictor of team, organizational and employee creativity. It is regarded that transformational and transactional leadership are two of the most significant theory which provides success to the organization. In regards to transformational leadership, inspirational motivation and intellectual stimulation is considered as crucial for the innovation. In comparison to that of transformational leadership, transactional leaders utilize extrinsic motivation in the ‘quid pro quo’ style. This indicates that the employees who perform well are rewarded whereas others are reprimanded (Hughes et al., 2018). Leaders can use the six principles of Cialdini in a way to encourage the employees of the organization and achieve success in executing the mission of the company. In terms of the reciprocity principle, the leaders can provide gifts or rewards as an incentive to the top-performing employees. However, they should be careful of the fact that the incentive is genuine and not construed as a bribe. As a result of the incentive, the employees would provide their top performance in order to get more rewards (Swart, Vlok & Jooste 2016). 

In terms of the principle of liking, the leaders in an organization can use the principle to establish relations with the employees through discovering common interests. A culture of trust can be established by the leaders within the organizational setting by knowing the common interests of every employee. Furthermore, praise, honour, and admiration are crucial to unify relations with others. In fact, employees follow those leaders who they admire. In this situation, a charismatic leader is more helpful, but there is a requirement of plans which goes above the personality (Hoy & Smith 2007). Charisma was primarily attributed to the royalty leaders, who possessed divine granted gifts. In accordance to Weber theory, power of the charismatic leadership and “authority” which these figures are granted can be understood at societal level. In the charismatic leadership theory, the individuals signal their capability and have willingness to mobilize the group action in relation to the urgent coordination challenge. In this principle of liking, the charismatic leader can emerge and able to influence the employee behavior such that to coordinate efficiently (Grabo, Spisak & van Vugt 2017).

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In terms of the principle of consistency, the leaders can use this principle to impart motivation to the employees. Consistency shown by the leaders in an organization in terms of rewarding, operations and treating employees equally is powerful motivator. Leaders have to show consistency which would mean that employees would be high on confidence and perform to their potential. In a situation of inconsistency shown by the leaders, the employees would not perform and there would be insecurity which ultimately would result in the downfall of the company. Therefore, leaders have to treat the employees equally with helping them to achieve the goals of the company (Hoy & Smith 2007). In accordance to the principle of scarcity, individuals desire what is scarce, but not what is plentiful. Leaders seem to be in a great position to know the resources which are available and also their quantity. As they have the power to distribute the scarce resources and have access to the major decision-makers, so they can impact the want of the employees. The formal leaders can allocate the scarce resources, however the dilemma faced by all the leaders interacts constructively to the fact that scarcity exists which create value. They should be transparent, and honest, in terms of handling resources to be effective. Stating explicitly and properly the resources which would be lost is a robust motivator (Hoy & Smith 2007).  

Effective leaders are those who are honest with their followers and grounded on robust ethical principles, which are followed on regular basis. In accordance to the transformational leadership theory, the leader is honest and have integrity traits which help them in establishing trust with the followers (Cote 2017). As these leaders follow core values as well as ethical principles, they can be successful in using the principle of scarcity within the organization. In terms of the authority principle, there exists kind of expert worship in most of the cultures. The non-profit leaders take the advantage of this rule who desire to be influential. The leaders have to uncover as well as communicate the company’s expertise (Cialdini & Cialdini 2001). 


The principle of the authority can be utilized by the autocratic leaders as these type of leaders imposes authority within the organization and employees must listen to them to contribute to the organization. They do not let the subordinates participate in their decision making procedure and they are uncompromising which is the basis of the principle of authority (Gonos & Gallo 2013). Influence is exerted and the group listens to the authority if the leader constantly establish their expertise. A key to the successful authority is demonstrated expertise. However, certain individuals would defer anyone in the authority, but the compliance is shorter when the direction is wrong. Leaders must establish the expertise in relation to problem-solving and faculty meetings could be arenas for the problem solving and innovation. They can also show expertise in the informal meetings and not only in the formal meetings (Hoy & Smith 2007).

In the principle of social proof, the individuals follow those whom they trust. It is seen that trust is an indispensable aspect of leadership. The leaders have to establish trust with the employees through various strategies in order to implement decisions effectively. Furthermore, the influence is lessened by the lack of faith in employees or the leaders. The leaders must make themselves available to the employee’s queries and be open as well as reliable. Leaders cannot encourage without trust of their employees and leaders’ influence increases as faith deepens (Hoy & Smith 2007). Trust is the dynamic connection among people, with a unique implication for the workplace. The role of trust in transformational leadership has been recognized. Furthermore, the transformational leadership style is efficient in part via its enablement of the follower’s trust, in accordance with Bass’s model of transformational leadership. Trust is the major procedure in authentic, and servant leadership. Authentic leadership is essentially grounded on faith, which nurtures a more honest and direct procedure when interacting with tough problems (Bligh 2017). 

Reflective Essay Sample

Ethical Issues

Cialdini’s research focuses hugely on the ethical part. Application of the principal of persuasion in ethical terms establish stronger, and longer relations. With the six principles to choose from, two of them must be available, without the usage of manipulation. Furthermore, application of the principles unethically might provide immediate results, however finding dishonesty can lead to a sour relationship. It is best to incorporate the principles in ethical terms to be able to endure the relationship in long term. The top part of these principles is the fact that they are based scientifically and can be taught by people in all cultures (Cialdini 2016). The key for the determination of the ethical usage of the principles comes from the central realization that the principles work for the agent of the influence as they work for the targets of the influence. In the case of when the influence agents fabricate the presence of the principle which is not the natural feature of the situation, they exploit the logic of the system which work properly for the influence targets. Therefore, they abuse the interests of those targets (Cialdini 1999).



The individuals are impacted by those persons they like, in accordance to that of the principle of liking. Furthermore, the individuals are impacted mostly by those they perceive to be the legitimate experts. It is seen that opportunities become desirable when they become less accessible. The essential technique that the individuals decide on what they must do in the specific situation is to look at the similar things done by the others. Leaders can establish the culture of the trust and thereby apply the principle of liking. Consistency revealed by the leaders in a business in terms of rewarding, operations and treating employees equally is a powerful motivator. Praise, honour, and admiration are critical to unify the relations between the leader and the employees. Leaders have the power to distribute resources and have access to the decision-makers. 

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Reference List

Bligh, MC 2017, ‘Leadership and trust,’ In Leadership today (pp. 21-42), Springer, Cham.

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Cialdini, RB 1999, ‘Of tricks and tumours: Some littlerecognized costs of dishonest use of effective social influence,’ Psychology & Marketing, vol. 16, no. 2, pp.91-98, retrieved 20 Mar 2021, <https://www.academia.edu/download/51169314/_28sici_291520-6793_28199903_2916_3A2_3C91_3A_3Aaid-mar2_3E3.0.co_3B2-w20170103-30772-jnhffu.pdf >

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Hughes, DJ, Lee, A, Tian, AW, Newman, A, & Legood, A 2018, ‘Leadership, creativity, and innovation: A critical review and practical recommendations,’ The Leadership Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 5, pp.549-569, retrieved 20 Mar 2021, <https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10871/32289/LQ%20final%20version%20R2_2018.02.14.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=n >

Swart, PD, Vlok, PJ, & Jooste, JL 2016, ‘Broadening the influence of asset managers through the six principles of persuasion,’ South African Journal of Industrial Engineering, vol. 27, no. 2, pp.72-80, retrieved 20 Mar 2021,  <http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2224-78902016000200007 >

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