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Motivational underpinnings of social influence in work settings: Bases of social power and the need for cognitive closure


Antonio Pierro, Dipartimento di Psicologia dei Processi di Sviluppo e Socializzazione, Via dei Marsi, 78, 00185 Roma, Italy.



This research explored the notion that the use and efficacy of influence tactics launched from different social power bases depends on influence agents' and recipients' need for cognitive closure. In three separate studies conducted in diverse organizational contexts, it was found that, while overall participants exhibited a preference for soft over hard social influence tactics, this preference becomes less pronounced for supervisors high (versus low) on need for closure and becomes more pronounced for supervisors low on the need for closure. Overall, soft tactics were more beneficial for subordinates' performance than hard tactics; however, the benefits of soft tactics decreased as a function of subordinates' need for closure. Finally, organizational outcomes were improved when recipients who were high (versus low) on the need for closure were exposed to “hard” power tactics and those low (versus high) in the need for closure were exposed to “soft” tactics. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.