Introduce to Compliance Gaining
Compliance gaining was not originally conceived in the field of communication but found its roots in the late 1960s as a result of studies and research by two sociologists, Gerald Marwell and David Schmitt. In 1967, Marwell and Schmitt produced some interesting compliance-gaining tactics concerning the act of getting a teenager to study. The tactics, sixteen in all, are listed in the column on the right:
1. Promise: If you comply, I will reward you. For example, you offer to increase Dick’s allowance if he studies more.
2. Threat: If you do not comply, I will punish you. For example, you threaten to forbid Dick to use the car if he doesn’t start studying more.
3. Expertise (positive): If you comply, you will be rewarded because of the "nature of things." For example, you tell Dick that if he gets good grades he be able to get into college and get a good job.
4. Expertise (negative): If you do not comply, you will be punished because of the "nature of things." For example, you tell Dick that if he does not get good grades he will not be able to get into college or get a good job.
5. Liking: Act friendly and helpful to get the person in a "good frame of mind" so they comply with the request. For example, you try to be as friendly and pleasant as possible to put Dick in a good mood before asking him to study.
6. Pre-giving: Reward the person before requesting compliance. For example, raise Dick’s allowance and tell him you now expect him to study.
7. Aversive stimulation: Continuously punish the person, making cessation contingent on compliance. For example, you tell Dick he may not use the car until he studies more.
8. Debt: You owe me compliance because of past favors. For example, you point out that you have sacrificed and saved to pay for Dick’s education and that he owes it to you to get good enough grades to get into a good college.
9. Moral appeal: You are immoral if you do not comply. You tell Dick that it is morally wrong for anyone not to get as good grades as possible and that he should study more.
10. Self-feeling (positive): You will feel better about yourself if you comply. For example, you tell Dick that he will feel proud if he gets himself to study more.
11. Self-feeling (negative): You will feel worse about yourself if you do not comply. For example, you tell Dick that he will feel ashamed of himself if he gets bad grades.
12. Altercasting (positive): A person with "good" qualities would comply. For example, you tell Dick that because he is a mature and intelligent person he naturally will want to study more and get good grades.
13. Altercasting (negative): Only a person with "bad" qualities would not comply. For example, you tell Dick that he should study because only someone very childish does not study.
14. Altruism: I need your compliance very badly, so do it for me. For example, you tell Dick that you really want very badly for him to get into a good college and that you wish he would study more as a personal favor to you.
15. Esteem (positive): People you value will think better of you if you comply. For example, you tell Dick that the whole family will be very proud of him if he gets good grades.
16. Esteem (negative): People you value will think the worse of you if you do not comply. For example, you tell Dick that the whole family will be very disappointed in him if he gets poor grades.
Another element of compliance-gaining was produced in the early 1960s, as French and Raven were researching the concepts of power, legitimacy, and politeness. They identified five influential aspects associated with power, which help illustrate elements of the study of compliance. The fives bases of power are as follows:
1. Reward Power: A person with reward power has control over some valued resource (e.g., promotions and raises).
2. Coercive Power: A person with coercive power has the ability to inflict punishments (e.g., fire you).
3. Expert Power: Expert power is based on what a person knows (e.g., you may do what a doctor tells you to do because they know more about medicine than you do).
4. Legitimate Power: Legitimate power is based on formal rank or position (e.g., you obey someone’s commands because they are the vice president in the company for which you work).
5. Referent Power: People have referent power when the person they are trying to influence wants to be like them (e.g., a mentor often has this type of power).