Understanding the influential people and social structures shaping compliance

Rachel A. Smith, Edward L. Fink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study integrated efforts to identify influential people and to extend theories of structural predictors of compliance. Adults (N = 195) were shown a sociogram of 11 people who were connected by friendships. Participants were asked to imagine themselves in this group, identify a position for themselves, select another member for an interaction, and predict their likelihood of complying with the member’s request. Connectors (those wanting to link others) identified with more central positions for themselves and selected more central interaction partners. Agents with greater persuasive impact were more successful in gaining compliance from participants; for connectors, targets’ supportive impact also reduced their likelihood of compliance. Findings have implications for diffusion efforts that depend on interpersonal compliance, and for theories of social influence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social Structure
StatePublished - Jul 22 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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