The Effect of Influence Attempts Using Consultation in Lateral Relations
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While managers may use their power over subordinates to achieve desired outcomes, influence tactics to “manage your manager” have been given increased attention. This study focuses on influence in lateral relations, where data is scarce. An experiment was conducted using an online survey to test different tactics aimed at garnering support for a proposal. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Critique, Advice, and Control. The survey presented a scenario in which a peer (a co-worker at the same level in the organization) presented a proposal. In the Control group, no influence attempt was made to gain support for the proposal. Two different variations of consultation as an influence tactic were used in the Critique and Advice groups. In the Critique group, participants were asked to provide three to five critical comments on the proposal. Participants in the Advice group were asked to provide three to five suggestions for improving the proposal. The final question to all participants was to rate the level of support they would give the proposal. A total of 230 participants completed the survey. When the Critique and the Advice group were combined into a single entity referred to as the Combined consultation group, no statistically significant difference in the level of support for the proposal was observed when compared to the Control group. However, when examining the three groups independently, the Advice group exhibited a significantly higher level of support for the proposal than the Control group, whereas the Critique group demonstrated a significantly lower level of support in comparison to the Control group. In conclusion, using consultation as an influence tactic to get support for a proposal is effective when consultation is sought by asking for advice. When consultation is sought by asking for critique, the targets tend to give lower levels of support for the proposal compared to not making an influence attempt at all.
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