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Social Influence

Part 3. Consumer Behavior

  1. Vladas Griskevicius1,
  2. Robert B. Cialdini2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem03047

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Griskevicius, V. and Cialdini, R. B. 2010. Social Influence. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Minnesota, Minnesota, MN, USA

  2. 2

    Arizona State University, Arizona, AZ, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Social influence involves the changing of a person's attitude or behavior through the doings of another person. Here we focus on the realm of consumer behavior and on the factors that cause one individual to comply with another's request. The starting point in ascertaining what are the most successful influence strategies was an investigation of the techniques that are most successful in professions dependent on their ability to induce compliance (e.g., salespeople, fund-raisers, advertisers, political lobbyists, cult recruiters, negotiators, and con artists). What emerged from this period of systematic observation was a list of six principles on which compliance professionals base most of their successful influence attempts: (i) reciprocity – repaying a gift, favor, or service; (ii) consistency – acting consistently with prior commitments; (iii) social validation – following the lead of similar others; (iv) liking – accommodating the requests of those we know and like, (v) authority – conforming to the directives of legitimate authorities, and (vi) scarcity – seizing opportunities that are scarce or dwindling in availability. We provide a summary of the principles and the scientific evidence regarding how each principle functions to influence consumer behavior.


  • compliance;
  • personal selling;
  • direct marketing;
  • sales promotion;
  • persuasion