4.3.1 Influencing Behaviour: Authority and Persuasion

Moral influence is exerted by those who are perceived to have moral authority, or by persuasion.  There is no single best way of persuading everybody, because people respond to different modes of communication – depending upon their intelligence, education, capacity for analysis, personality and respect for authority.  Those who seek to persuade others need to be aware of the different ways of appealing to people, as described in the following sub-sections:

●  People usually accept what they are told by those who are perceived as holding positions of authority (

●  A few people can be persuaded by arguments, appealing to their reason (

●  Many might be won over by eliciting an emotional response: appealing to their moral values, their instincts, their hopes and their fears (

●  Some people become role models (perhaps unintentionally) and others follow their example (

●  Some people claim religious authority to demand obedience, although there are problems with this (



Next Section

This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/431a.htm