WPS No. 794, March 2017
There is a need to develop the upward influence (UI) theory further by understanding the individual effects of soft, hard, and rational tactics on managerial decision making. Agents or subordinates employ UI to fulfill personal or organizational goals. The target or decision maker either commits,or complies, or resists the agent‟s request/goal. Target‟s above responses are dependent on certain mediating variables which represent target‟s feelings and perceptions mainly formed on the basis of UI tactics. In case of personal goals,past research has identified and tested these mediating variables, especially in the context of human resource decisions like performance appraisals,interviews etc. Specifically, when the soft tactics like ingratiation are used,target develops positive affect for the agent and commits to the agent‟s request. On the other hand, when hard tactics are employed, target might either resist or comply reluctantly with the agent‟ request. This depends on target‟s assessment of the threat to their own interests that agent‟s hard influence tactics convey. If this threat perception is not potent enough, target will resist acceding to the agent‟s preference, otherwise they will comply reluctantly.Also when rational persuasion is resorted to, target may commit to the agent‟s request based on former‟s appreciation of latter‟s competence. But agents usually employ these tactics in combination, and the decision maker‟s response depends on the interplay of above mediating variables. Similarly multiple agents vie for same goals or resources, and managerial response depends on the most potent tactic being used. Above mediating variables determine this potency. The model developed in this paper integrates the past research and presents an interactive model which explains the combined effect as well. In case of agent‟s organizational goals, there does n‟t exist any research identifying similar mediating variables. In such a case past evidence suggests that agent‟s prefer use of either rational tactics or soft tactics like consultation or inspirational appeals as UI tactics. Author argues that targets‟decision to comply, resist, or commit to the decision depends on their assessment of proposal as presenting an organizational opportunity, or personal opportunity, or appealing to the values they hold dear. Rational tactics may convince the decision maker (s) that the agent‟s proposal presents an opportunity for themselves and/or the organization. Accordingly they will comply or even commit themselves to the proposal. Softer tactics like inspirational appeal may address to target‟s value system and they may commit to the agent‟s proposal or idea. The effect of hard tactics is argued to be similar as in case of personal goals. The model developed for organizational goals is also integrative and discusses the interactive effect of multiple tactics.
Courtesy: IIM Calcutta