Abstract

Social influence describes processes by which individuals modify their attitudes, perceptions, or behavior to that of others in their social environment (Barry, 2001; Leenders, 1997; Raven, 2001; Salancik & Pfeffer, 1978). Individuals strive to make accurate decisions but also attempt to develop and preserve meaningful social relationships (Wood, 2000). Therefore, they allow themselves to be influenced in order to reduce uncertainty and validate private beliefs, but also to avoid social rejection and become accepted as part of the group (Deutsch & Gerard, 1955). We develop a theoretical model explaining when each interaction structure leads to social influence by integrating literature regarding each of the three types of interpersonal relations typically found in organizations – advice, friendship, and adversarial relations into social influence theory.

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