What is Informational Influence? Information can be said to be a piece of related knowledge about a subject topic while influence can be defined as the power to affect, control, or manipulate something or someone. Informational influence is those step by step processes that challenge an individual’s belief and orientation about something or his way of life.
It can also refer to a piece of new information or argument an individual stumbles upon or presented to, so that he can change his beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. Someone described informational influence as a situation whereby an individual reacts or make decisions based on the information someone else had provided and has convinced him to be true.
It is very easy to convince an unstable notion about a thing. For instance, someone whose belief about some aspects of life is shaky can be easily manipulated. This means that a person with an uncertain notion about what is correct about a particular subject topic is easy to bend to the informational influence around him.
We must ask ourselves some real questions so that we will be able to have a deep understanding of this topic. Why do people behave the way they do? What are the things that influence a man to make certain decisions or react in some kind of way? What causes a man to exhibit some kinds of behavioral traits?
What are the roles information plays in changing individuals? Informational is powerful that is why the information reaching children when they are growing up must be filtered by their parents or guardian. The information has a way to influence our interpersonal relationships.
Individuals might choose to depend on the views of some experts or the opinions of some trusted peers who they believe are credible. The endpoint in their minds is to arrive at a correct conclusion when they conform to those views. Informational influence is seen as powerful on people who are new to a subject topic or people who don’t know what to think about the subject topic, they try as much as possible to gather relative information and at the end conform to the one, they feel is likely to be realistic and correct.
WHY IS INFORMATIONAL INFLUENCE IMPORTANT?
There are times in one’s life when we don’t know how to behave, we simply copy other people or use their ideologies. These people we copied have indirectly served as sources of information to us and our belief the information is reliable because these people are credible. In making decisions that involve others, we care so much about what they would say or think about us, following this credible information gives us a certain level of assurance that we are on the right course.
Informational influence as we know is often the best result an individual arrived at after comparing opinions. Comparing opinions helps to get a level of accuracy or correctness with the information on the ground, so this helps to guide our decision making and opinions. So, why is informational influence important? Informational influence leads to real, long-lasting changes in beliefs and opinions.
Informational influence happens mostly when there are choices but we do not know which one of the options is correct or is the right decision to take when an urgent decision is needed or conforming to experts because we believe they know better than us. In situations like this, we forsake our abilities and rely on other people’s opinions.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INFORMATIONAL INFLUENCE AND NORMATIVE INFLUENCE?
Informational influence occurs when people conform to experts’ views, peer views, or information available to compare and contrast opinions to find the most likely to be the correct answer. Normative influence on the other hand is when people conform to rules or information to be accepted or gain ground in a group or society.
Normative influence is conformity based on one’s desire to fulfill others’ expectations and gain acceptance (Myers, 2009) while informational influence is conformity under acceptance of evidence about the reality that has been provided by others (Myers, 2009). In Normative influence, individuals change their beliefs not necessarily seeking correctness but acceptance.
For example, if you are in a gang of people that takes alcohol before you can fit into that group, you must also join them in doing whatever they are doing.
This happens both in good behaviors and bad ones depending on the group you want to fit in. Someone who engages in bad acts such as drug trafficking, smoking, drinking, theft, and other bad acts will earn the respect of the lords and cabals of such group, and the more dangerous the act he is involved in, the more respect he gets.
Informational influence helps in finding the truth and also testing the correctness of a piece of information.
Normally, we can rely on our instincts to do some things but get information and data from credible sources and applying them to our reality tends to set us on the right path.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INFORMATIONAL INFLUENCE AND THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Thought leaders are notable experts that are recognized as authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded. They are also opinion leaders and figures people go to meet in their area of expertise. Thought leaders are notable experts and visioners with positive reputations for helping others with their experience, knowledge, and insight.
They are also said to be people who based on their expertise and perspective in their area of specialization inspire people with innovative ideas, offer unique guidance, turn ideas into realities and replicate success in their other areas of life. You can read more on thought leadership on our website.
What is the relationship between thought leadership and Informational influence? It is very direct because of who thought leaders are, they exert a change on their followers which indirectly influences their opinion and beliefs. Leadership and influence go alongside, a thought leader must be careful of what information he gives out because some people out there have so much reliance on any information he gives out.
As individuals, people develop a likeness for some people and like to follow their principles which indirectly puts them under the thought leader. A thought leader is a direct source of Informational influence on his followers.
CONSTRAINTS TO INFORMATIONAL INFLUENCE
There has been a major constraint to whether the informational influence is good because an individual decides and agrees within himself if an opinion is right or wrong. Here comes the issue, so many people have argued that deciding on whatever is right is relative because our view on many things differs.
For instance, in a group of people where decisions are meant to be made by the group, opinions are tendered and the majority wins in such a situation. The majority’s opinion that won doesn’t mean it is the right or the correct thing to do but it won based on the majority’s influence, causing the minority group to conform to the views of the majority group.
Many have also argued that there is no difference between normative influence and informational influence depending on the context of the argument because at times the informational influence the majority group is having on the minority group causing them to change their opinion and conforming to theirs in not to achieve which option is correct but to comply to what the entirety of the group wants and fitting into it.
This kind of situation satisfies both the Informational influence and the normative influence depending on the correctness of the opinions tendered by the majority group. It can be said to be an informational influence if the majority group’s opinion is correct and the minority group’s opinion is incorrect.
An opinion cannot be equally correct to everybody in the group, be it right or wrong. So, if the right opinion is raised by the majority group, the opposition is expected as well. The situation said above can also be said to be a normative influence if the majority group’s opinion is not in the best interest of the group but to satisfy some selfish gain by the leaders or the majority group.
This can be seen in a democratic government, when votes are cast to elect leaders into government positions, the ruling or the majority party might influence the interest of the people by buying them to their side even when they are not the best for the post. It can also be seen when impeachment is about to happen since the majority will decide, the votes favor them either they stand for the right thing or not.
In conclusion, as rightly said above, informational influence can be measured with the level of acceptance by people of a person’s opinion, view, or judgment about an unclear situation. Informational influence is good to follow when the sources are credible, reliable, and not misleading.
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