5 - Interpersonal Influence  pp. 68-85

Interpersonal Influence

By Noah E. Friedkin

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Abstract. A measure of the probability of an interpersonal attachment is the first pillar of my approach to the social-influence process. An attachment from actor i to actor j is defined as a direct interpersonal engagement in which actor i is able to observe the opinions of actor j and in which actor i regards these opinions as salient. The likelihood of such an attachment is equated with the relative influence of actor j on actor i during the course of an issue-resolution process. An estimate of the probability of an attachment is obtained from a logistic regression of observed attachments on structural features of the network of attachments in which the two actors are situated.

Structural Bases of Interpersonal Influence

I emphasize structural bases of interpersonal influence – cohesion, similarity, and centrality – that are associated with an actor's ability to regularly monitor the opinions of another actor and with the salience of the observed opinions (Erickson 1988; Friedkin 1993). Actor j's influence on actor i depends on i's knowledge of j's opinions; invisible opinions cannot be directly influential. Once i knows j's opinion, then j's influence on i depends on the salience or value of j's opinion for i; irrelevant or valueless opinions cannot directly influence i.