|M.Sc Student||Shpatz Noy|
|Subject||The Influence of Centrality on Susceptibility to|
Social Influence: The Role of Group Attractiveness
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Dr. Edith Shalev|
|Full Thesis text|
The central consumer is an important player in the marketing realm. With a relatively large number of social ties, he exerts disproportionate influence on other consumers, increasing total product market sales and rate of product diffusion. Naturally, marketers search ways to influence the central and sway him into adopting their products and ideas. The current research seeks to understand whether, and when, the central can be influenced by his peers group .
Past research suggests that central individuals have more influence over others’ opinions and choices, and greater influence on group decisions than their peers. But are high centrality individuals also less influenced than their peers by the collective opinions of their group? The present research examines the association between centrality and susceptibility to group opinion.
While some studies portray the central as resistant to social influence (Hu & Van den Bulte, 2014), other studies suggest the opposite (Lee, Cotte, & Noseworthy 2010). Building on findings that central members may accept influence from their peers, the current study seeks to identify the psychological mechanism underlying this phenomenon. We posit and test two complementary factors that may underlie the relationship between centrality and susceptibility to influence: group attractiveness and self-construal.
Study 1 examines the central's susceptibility to group influence in a social context, where the primary goal of the group is to provide social activity and support. Using students' real groups we find that the central is more attracted to the group, and is more likely to agree with the group than the marginal. Studies 2 and 3 employed an experimental paradigm with a fictitious neighbors' group and demonstrate that centrality increases agreement with group opinion, and that this effect is mediated by group attractiveness. In study 3 we measure individual differences in interdependence using the Singelis (1994) scale of chronic self-construal. We find that among interdependent participants centrality leads to group conformity; among independent participants the effect is diminished.