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Dump and Chase: The effectiveness of persistence as a compliance-gaining strategy. Franklin J. Boster, Mikayla Hughes, Michael R. Kotowski, Renee E. Strom,

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Presentation on theme: "Dump and Chase: The effectiveness of persistence as a compliance-gaining strategy. Franklin J. Boster, Mikayla Hughes, Michael R. Kotowski, Renee E. Strom,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Dump and Chase: The effectiveness of persistence as a compliance-gaining strategy. Franklin J. Boster, Mikayla Hughes, Michael R. Kotowski, Renee E. Strom, Allison S. Shaw, Leslie Deatrick, and Chiharu Kato Department of Communication, College of Communication Arts and Sciences Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI Abstract Two field experiments were performed to assess the effectiveness of the dump-and- chase (DAC), a compliance-gaining technique that introduces a particular method of employing persistence to influence others. The outcomes of these two experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the DAC relative to other compliance- gaining techniques known to be successful at increasing the likelihood of gaining compliance. The DAC produced relatively higher compliance-gaining rates consistently across experiments. In Experiment 1 the DAC was found to be more effective than the pooled data from the door-in-the-face (DITF) technique and the placebic information (PI) technique. In Experiment 2 the DAC was found to be more effective than the DITF, PI, and foot-in-the-door (FITD) techniques. What is more, because the contextual features of two experiments differed substantially, the effect occurred under heterogeneous conditions. Compliance is gained Non- Compliant Rebuff QuitAsk Why Not Non- Compliant Obstacle Non- Compliant Obstacle Respond to Obstacle Direct Request Compliance-gaining is an attempt to induce an intended behavior without regard for the individual’s attitudes about the behavior. Compliance-gaining research has examined messages of many forms, some single shot messages such as the direct request or multi-stage requests such as the DITF. Little work in compliance-gaining, however, has investigated the effectiveness of persistence. Given that the effectiveness of persistence has been successfully demonstrated in the persuasion literature 1,5 this study developed a structured compliance-gaining message (DAC) to investigate the efficacy of persistence in compliance-gaining (see Figure 1). The DAC focuses on a process of obstacle reduction. That is to say, when an obstacle for non- compliance is presented, a response to that obstacle is presented so it nolonger can easily be considered a valid reason. Because the DAC has a structure similar to other multi-stage requests this study compares it to multi-stage compliance gaining requests of known effectiveness (DITF, PI, FITD) 2,3,4 across two different situations. The outcome of interest in both experiments is the rate of compliance with the different types of requests. In experiment 1 a compliant response consisted of the target watching a bicycle while the agent ran an errand. Experiment 2’s compliant response consisted of the target volunteering to help proselytize for a sexual health organization. Introduction Dump and Chase Placebic Information Door-in- the-Face Compliance60% (12)45% (9)20% (4) Experiment 1 Compliance by Request Type a a: χ 2 (2, N = 60) = 6.72, p = Method Discussion Experiment 1 Participants 60 randomly selected pedestrians walking either into or out of a building located at one of four locations (a university campus, a suburban commercial district, an urban commercial district, an urban business district). Procedure Once the subject was chosen, a research confederate posing as a pedestrian rode up to them on a bike and delivered one of three randomly chosen compliance-gaining messages. Dump and Chase: direct request, followed by three “chases” if non-compliant Placebic Information: request with no new relevant information Door-in-the-Face: larger request that is intended to be rejected, followed by direct intended request Instrumentation Subjects were coded as either compliant or non-compliant depending on whether or not they agreed to watch the bike. Experiment 2 Participants Two research confederates posing as representatives of a sexual health organization collected data from 67 subjects at three different locations on a university campus. Procedure Once the subject approached the table a scripted dialogue between both confederates and the subject explaining the objectives of the group took place. Subjects were then exposed to one of four randomly assigned compliance-gaining messages. Dump and Chase: direct request, followed by three “chases” if non-compliant Placebic Information: request with no new relevant information Door-in-the-Face: larger request that is intended to be rejected, followed by direct intended request Foot-in-the-Door: smaller request that gains compliance, followed by direct intended request Instrumentation In all conditions participants were either coded as compliant or non-compliant depending on whether or not they agreed to help staff the information table at a later date. Figure 1: The Dump and Chase Process In response to a direct request the target may respond in one of two ways: comply with the request or refuse it. If the target complies with the request there is no need to continue the exchange. If, however, the target does not comply one continues. The target may rebuff the request without giving any reasons, or obstacles, if this is the case, the requester solicits a reason. The other possible option for refusal is to refuse citing an obstacle for not complying. Once an obstacle is presented by the target the agent presents a refutation to the obstacle. If compliance is not obtained, the obstacle refutation cycle repeats three times before the agent calls of the interaction. Dump and Chase Placebic Information Door-in- the-Face Foot-in- the-Door Compliance50% (8)13% (2)35% (6)26% (5) Experiment 2 Compliance by Request Type a a: χ 2 (3, N = 67) = 5.20, ns Results Experiment 1 A chi-square analysis indicated that the rates of compliance with the three messages differed substantially from one another (χ 2 (2, N = 60) = 9.05, p <.05). This effect is due in part to the compliance rate for the DITF being substantially less than than that observed for the DAC (χ 2 (1, N = 40) = 6.67, p =.01, r =.41, Odds Ratio (OR) = 6.00). Compliance rates in response to the DAC request did not, however, differ considerably from those witnessed in response to the PI request (χ 2 (1, N = 40) =.90, ns, r =.15, OR = 1.83). These results indicate that overall persistence in the form of the DAC was an effective compliance-gaining technique in Experiment 1. There was no evidence that whether the participant was enter or leaving the building had any bearing on compliance, nor did location or time of day. Males, however, were more compliant than females (55.6% vs. 30.3%, χ 2 (1, N = 60) = 3.90, p <.05, r =.26, OR = 2.88). Experiment 2 The effectiveness of the DAC that was observed in Experiment 1 was tested again in Experiment 2, this time in a request to proselytize. The differences among compliance rates for all four requests was not statistically significant (χ 2 (3, N = 67) = 5.20, ns). When compared against the pooled compliance rates for the PI, DITF, and FITD, the DAC differed substantially (50% vs. 25.5%, χ 2 (1, N = 67) = 3.40, p =.065, r =.23, OR = 2.92). Moreover, when the compliance rate with each of the remaining three requests is compared with the pooled data from the remaining techniques no substantial differences, or any approaching conventional levels of statistical significance, emerge. Therefore, the data again suggest the effectiveness of the DAC as a compliance-gaining technique when compared against other known strategies. Figure 1 Table 1 Table 2 References 1 Cacioppo, J. T., & Petty, R. E. (1979). Effects of message repetition and position on cognitive response, recall, and persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, Cialdini, R. B., Vincent, J. E., Lewis, S. K., Catalan, J., Wheeler, D., & Darby, B. L. (1975). Reciprocal concessions procedure for inducing compliance: The door-in-the-face technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, Freedman, J. L., & Fraser, S. C. (1966). Compliance without pressure: The foot-in-the- door technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4, Langer, E., Blank, A., & Chanowitz, B. (1978). The mindless of ostensibly thoughtful action: The role of “placebic” information in interpersonal interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, Together, Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrate that persistence in the form of the DAC constitutes an effective compliance-gaining strategy. Given the exploratory nature of this study what it did not demonstrate is why the DAC increased the likelihood of gaining compliance above that of other known compliance-gaining techniques. One possible mechanism is urgency. By repeatedly asking for compliance the agent employing the DAC may create an impression in the target that the request is urgent. According to the scarcity principle 2, by implication that time is of the essence for the completion of the task increases the importance of the task. Therefore, the more urgent the request appears, the more likely the target is to comply. A second potential mechanism for the DAC is guilt. Because the agent’s persistence may be perceived by the target as an indicator of a serious reason for requesting compliance, the target may comply out of a sense of obligation and as a way to avoid future feelings of guilt should they not comply with a seemingly important request. Alternatively, the DAC may induce sympathy to the extent that the target attributes the agent’s persistence to the request being of particular importance coupled with the absence of others to provide help. Complying with the request provides a means of fulfilling the influencing agent’s need, and conceivably producing positive affect in targets as a consequence of their altruistic action. Finally, the DAC may produce compliance through consistency. By presenting an obstacle, the target is claiming implicitly that they would comply with the request were if not for some condition preventing them from so doing and the agent’s chase to the obstacle addresses why this condition is insufficient so as to preclude compliance. Realizing that the failure to comply after the obstacle has been addressed effectively would produce an inconsistency in the target’s beliefs and actions, the target complies with the agent’s request. The list presented here is not intended to be either exhaustive or mutually exclusive. Future research will be well served to further examine these mechanisms as well as others that may mediate the relationship between persistence and compliance. 5 Wilson, W., & Miller, H. (1968). Repetition, order of presentation, and timing of arguments and measures as determinants of opinion change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9,


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