The Practice of Social Influence in Multiple Cultures

The Practice of Social Influence in Multiple Cultures

The Practice of Social Influence in Multiple Cultures

The Practice of Social Influence in Multiple Cultures

Synopsis

This book provides a diverse collection of studies reporting the effects of social influence processes in multiple cultures at both the universal and culture-specific levels. The book is characterized by three distinct features. First, the social influence process is considered as a ubiquitous and pervasive feature of human interaction. Second, the book represents a multicultural approach which includes both cross-cultural and culture-focused examinations. Third, the book emphasizes practical implications of the research presented. This volume incorporates theory and research stemming from three different approaches to social influence: social influence principles across cultures, social influence and social change across cultures, and culture and moral perspective in the social influence process. Because each of these three parts encompasses a considerable variety of research methodologies, social contexts, and cultures, each is proceeded by an integrative commentary authored by one of the book editors. These essays provide syntheses of the topics and themes within the corresponding sections and within the book as a whole. They also offer critical commentaries on both theoretical and methodological issues, raise suggestions for future research, and focus on practical applications. This book is intended for both scholars interested in cross- and multicultural research into the mechanisms of the social influence process and for the professional whose mission is to make planned changes in a society. Knowledge about the influence process, especially regarding how it works in different cultures and within several cultural groups, facilitates this goal. The practical implications ending each chapter serve as encouraging instructions for such applications.

Excerpt

The 1990s witnessed the evolution of increasingly sophisticated theories and rapidly growing empirical support for the impact of cross-cultural factors on attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. One of the areas in which the cross-cultural focus in social psychology holds great promise is the study of social influence. However, although recent published research has clearly demonstrated the need to consider the interactions between cultural differences and social influence processes, no volume reflecting the depth and breadth of this work has previously been available. The purpose of this book is to provide, in a single volume, a diverse collection of studies reporting the effects of social influence processes in multiple cultures, at both the universal and culture-specific levels.

This volume is characterized by three novel and distinct features. The first major feature is that the social influence process is considered to be a ubiquitous and pervasive characteristic of human interaction. This means that, first, social influence is conceptualized in terms of a few general governing principles that work universally for all people, although the magnitude of the impact of these principles may be culture- and context-bound. Second, this volume underscores the pervasiveness of the social influence process by expanding its connotation beyond the dynamics of individual persuasion: Influence is considered a process for generating large-scale social change. Third, and finally, social influence is approached from a moral perspective, which incorporates practices that range from the manipulative to the ethically desirable.

The second feature of our volume is that it represents a multiple cultural approach. That is, the book is largely composed of original data collected via two separate but complementary research approaches to the social influence process. One is the cross-cultural approach. Many of the chapters presented here contain analyses of different national cultures. Some of the cross-cultural chapters focus on a particular phenomenon studied simultaneously in more than one society, whereas others investigate a social influence issue within a single culture and compare their data with findings from other cultures. The second culture-focused approach may be called multicultural: The chapters incorporating this approach examine social influence as it applies to different subcultures within a single society rather than cultures in different nations.

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