Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

The Art of Influencing and Persuasion: How Managers Can Put 'Square Pegs' into 'Round Holes'

Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

The Art of Influencing and Persuasion: How Managers Can Put 'Square Pegs' into 'Round Holes'

Article excerpt


The ability to influence and persuade others at work has become an increasingly important managerial skill to achieve work goals and objectives to drive businesses forward in today's demanding and competitive work environments. This paper investigates and provides a deeper understanding of what positive effects knowledge and application of the concepts of influencing amd persuasion can have on managers, the people they manage and the organisations they work for. The results show that the performance of managers is positively influenced by how they influence and persuade people at work. The outcome of a literature review suggests that there is no conclusive evidence of what makes an effective manager at work that is good at influencing and persuading others. Outputs from face to face and a focus group meeting with final year social psychology students from the Universidad de Oriene in Santiago de Cuba closed this gap by suggesting an effective influencing and persuasion skills set that, when applied appropriately, could guide managers how to influence and persuade others successfully.The outcome of this research is applicable and relevant to managers in any working environment such as Telecommuncations, Utilities, Banking or Automotive. The proposed skills set of what makes an effective influencing and persuading manager at work can be applied globally although the prevailing cultural diversities in different countries should be considered.

Keywords: Influencing, Persuading, Attitudes, Work performance, Managing people

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction

According to Fisher and Santana Gonzalez (2013), the role of managers has changed from just being responsible for the delivery of work and the day to day management of their team members to creating opportunities for companies to grow their business. It appears that Human Resources (HR) departments within organizations have delegated more of the day to day management of people to managers, too. This means that managers need to focus their attention much more on how to get the best out of their team members to meet the new demanding business challenges set by key stakeholders. Senior management in many companies is now expecting their managers to optimise available resources. In business terms, this means delivering more in less time, with fewer people , within reduced budgets and to higher levels of quality This has created tensions at work that need to be managed effectively and appropriately and must not be ignored. Companies need motivated and productive staff that carry out their duties effectively and therefore ensure that the business remains profitable and prosperous.To get the best out of their people, managers need to find new ways and means of motivating and leading team members to achieve these new challenges successfully. Figure 1 is a graphical presentation of the relationship between managers' attitudes and behaviours, influence and persuasion and how this affects the performance levels of people at work.This research investigates how a better understanding and the practical application of the concepts of influencing and persuasion can provide managers with improved managing people skills to deliver the new expectations. In the context of this research, the researchers adopted the definitions for 'persuasion' and 'influence' considered by Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) and Carnegie (2011) . According to Aristotle, successful influences strive to blend three criteria in order to achieve the goal of moving people from A to B: first, ethos relates to the source credibility of the influencer and their sincerity that exudes from them; second, pathos relates to the stirring of the emotions in other people, in other words, to have empathy and third logos which refers to the actual words used by the influencer. This includes stories, quotations and facts. Effective influencing means to show open respect for the values, needs and desires of others, affirm these with them and then offer these to them in a mutually beneficial package (Carnegie, 2011). …

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