A Guilt-Based Explanation of the Door-in-the-Face Influence Strategy

Authors

  • DANIEL J. O'KEEFE,

    Corresponding author
    1. Daniel J. O'Keefe is an associate professor of speech communication and Marianne Figgé is a doctoral student in advertising at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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  • MARIANNE FIGGÉ

    1. Daniel J. O'Keefe is an associate professor of speech communication and Marianne Figgé is a doctoral student in advertising at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    Search for more papers by this author

  • A version of this article was presented at the annual conference of the International Communication Association, Chicago, May 1996. Thanks to Ann Blanke for helpful discussion.

Daniel J. O'Keefe, Department of Speech Communication, 244 Lincoln Hall, University of Illinois, 702 S. Wright Street, Urbana, IL 61801-3694; e-mail: dokeefe@uiucedu.

Abstract

A new explanation is proposed for the accumulated research findings concerning the door-in-the-face (DITF) influence strategy. The explanation treats successful DITF implementations as based on guilt: Refusal of the first request creates guilt, and compliance with the second request reduces guilt. In addition to explaining the known effects of DITF moderator variables, the explanation is consistent with current theoretical and empirical understandings of the nature of guilt and with extant research findings concerning guilt-based social influence. This explanation also suggests a significant role for a new moderator, the identity of the beneficiary of the requests. A reanalysis of previous meta-analytic findings confirms the importance of that moderator.

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