• This research was supported by a grant from the Research Council of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. The assistance of the UNCG Statistical Consulting Center is acknowledged. Appreciation is expressed to Richard Shull and Richard Torquato for comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. A portion of this study was reported at the American Psychological Association meeting, New York, 1987. Thanks to Kim Hall for assisting with data collection.

Requests for reprints should be sent to: Jacquelyn W. White, Dept. of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412.


The present study attempted to resolve an apparent contradiction in the literature regarding gender differences in use of various influence behaviors by examining both between-gender differences, as reflected in differences in absolute rates of using various influence strategies, and between-strategy differences, as reflected in relative rates of strategy use within each gender. Two samples of subjects reported how frequently they used a number of influence strategies as strategies of first choice and last resort. A third sample of subjects rank-ordered the strategies from most used to least used. Results across all samples revealed significant correlations between women's and men's ordering of strategies from most used to least used, with verbal request and rational strategies reported as used most often, and high pressure strategies, including threats, as used least often. Within this invariant hierarchy, gender differences in frequency of use of various strategies were observed. The discussion suggests that none of the current theories of gender differences in influence behavior can predict explicitly both between-gender and between-strategy differences.