Communication and Social Influence Processes

By Charles R. Berger; Michael Burgoon | Go to book overview
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Commentary on Compliance-Gaining Message Behavior Research

Franklin J. Boster

A rguably, in the last 15 years the study of compliance-gaining message behavior has held the attention of communication scholars as much as, if not more than, any other single topic in the discipline. I am aware of more than 100 papers, addressed directly to the issue, that have been published in this time frame, and approximately two-thirds of them have been published by communication scholars in communication journals. Furthermore, diverse interests within communication have found compliance-gaining message behavior of importance. Although the area is dominated by interpersonal communication scholars, admittedly taking some liberties with this term, those students of communication education, health communication, intercultural communication, mass communication, and organizational communication have found the study of compliance- gaining message behavior pertinent to their research agenda as well.

The broad appeal is not difficult to understand. One reason is that the phenomenon intersects many, if not most, of the contexts that form the subdisciplines of the field of communication. To illustrate, in the course of any 24-hour period we may attempt to get our teenage daughter to study more, a graduate student to complete a deferred grade, and our dean to increase support to the graduate program. In the same period we may be inundated with messages designed to have us purchase a plethora of products and services, a politician may solicit our money for a reelection campaign, and our physician may attempt to get us to exercise more frequently. Such examples provide numerous research opportunities for communication scholars with a variety of contextual interests. A second reason is that

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