Military influence tactics: Lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan
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For most influence attempts in everyday life, success makes life easier and failure is a disappointment, not a tragedy. When U.S. soldiers deployed overseas attempt to influence civilians, however, success can save lives and failure can be deadly. Along with the high stakes consequences of influence attempts, soldiers face the challenges of bridging differences in language, culture, beliefs, and agendas. The current study examined cross-cultural influence attempts made by deployed soldiers, contributing to existing influence research by examining influence attempts in a complex and challenging wartime environment. Survey data from 228 military personnel with deployment experience to Iraq and Afghanistan revealed that empathy, respect, prior relationships, and familiarity with influence targets predicted success. Five influence technique clusters emerged, and use of technique clusters involving resources and positive feelings were more successful than negative tactics.