Course description

Persuasion and Power in Organisations


Attempts to build power and influence others represent crucial facets of human interaction within every social and professional domain, including the work context. This course provides insights into the nuts and bolts of social power and influence in organizations. Insight into bases of power as well as effective principles of influence is of high potential value to managers as well as other organizational members, in not only understanding why some attempts to influence succeed while other attempts fail, and hence in improving the effectiveness of persuasion attempts. Of perhaps equal importance is the ability to identify and resist undesired and/or unethical influence attempts by others. Examples will be drawn from a variety of areas in the work domain. Students will also be given hands-on experience with specific influence techniques by performing empirical experiments.

Course content

  • Different types of power
  • Bases of power
  • Building personal power
  • The corruptive effects of power
  • Psychological principles of influence
  • Influence tactics in organizations
  • Rhetorics
  • Digital influence
  • Ethical aspects of persuasion and influence in organisations
  • Resistance to persuasion

Learning outcome knowledge

The course will provide students with insight into:

  • different types of power and influence tactics in organizations, as well as the contingencies determining their effectiveness.
  • the determinants of power
  • the psychological and behavioral effects of experiencing power
  • resistance to persuasion and techniques for overcoming resistance
  • ethical aspects of power and influence
  • experiments as a scientific research method

Exam organisation

  • Written assignment: 40%
  • Presentation: 20%
  • Multiple choice: 40%