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This e-book describes how a community of interpersonal effect can function to shape agreements between individuals who occupy varied positions in a gaggle or association. It provides an account of consensus formation that's distinct in its integration of labor from the fields of social psychology and sociology all in favour of team dynamics and social constructions.
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Additional info for A Structural Theory of Social Influence (Structural Analysis in the Social Sciences)
Flows of interpersonal influence are established by the repeated responses of actors to the (possibly changing) influential opinions on the issue. The influence network for the group, W, describes the pattern and magnitude of these direct endogenous interpersonal responses. However, actors not only are influenced endogenously by the opinions of other actors; they also are influenced exogenously, at each point in the process, by the conditions that have formed their initial opinions. The balance of forces (relative weight) of the endogenous and exogenous influences is described by aUi the coefficient of social influence for each actor.
I will return to this relationship in the concluding chapter of the book, where I argue that recent rational choice approaches to the problem of coordination and control have vastly overestimated the effects of autonomous actors and bargaining mechanisms. 4 Concluding Remarks Structural analysis lacks a formal theory that predicts the consequences of the system of social positions for agreements and interpersonal influences. We presently do not have a theory that, building directly on the definition of social positions, provides an analysis of the systemic implications of the revealed set of positions, or the degree to which the opinions and behaviors of the actors who occupy different positions are co- 22 1 Social Structure and Social Control ordinated.
Schachter (1951) and others have dealt with this process in terms of a cessation of interaction with "deviant" actors who hold highly divergent opinions from those of their peers. Similarly, Festinger's (1954) social comparison theory suggests that the amount of interpersonal influence between two actors is a negative function of their degree of opinion discrepancy. Third, a conflict among actors who are each highly influential may have the effect of neutralizing each other. Merton puts it this way: To the extent that conflicting powers in his role-set neutralize one another, the status-occupant has relative freedom to proceed as he intended in the first place.