As I mentioned on the previous page, one scholar, Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer, provides us with a taxonomy of levels of influence--the basis of the continuum presented below. Notice that upon examination, the continuum defies simple right-or-wrong categorization.
|Relationship & Exchange||Limited consensual relationship; logical thinking is encouraged.||Instruction & emotional manipulation which target can ignore.||An authority attempts to persuade the masses.||Authoritarian & hierarchical but also consensual & contractual.||Authoritarian, hierarchical, without target awareness, for indefinite time.|
|Deceptiveness||Infrequently deceptive if teacher has no agenda.||Selective information, sometimes deceptive.||Exaggeration, selective, may be deceptive.||Infrequently intentionally deceptive, often selective.||Deceptive.|
|Methods||Instructional; indoctrination can occur when the teacher has an agenda.||Mild to heavy persuasion.||Heavy persuasion, compliance tactics.||Coercive compliance (punishment) condoned.||Unethical program of influence.|
|Goals||Productive & capable citizenry, actualization. Indoctrination, if an agenda exists.||Sale of product or service.||Political power & control.||A cohesive & effective group.||Perpetuation of the group for money or power.|
Although we can all agree that education is good and thought control is bad, what about advertising, propaganda, and indoctrination? Take the latter for example. The idea of being indoctrinated by a group seems unsavory. And yet, we all enjoy the benefits of security provided to us by our armed forces--which rely on indoctrination to form effective groups of soldiers who protect us. And I haven't met many Marines who are unhappy they were indoctrinated into an elite group of warriors.
I'm pleased you took the time to read about the ethical use of influence. Let's continue the survey by examining the different disciplines in which one can study various facets of influence . . .
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