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Approach:

  1. Define social influence & perception.
  2. Establish a link b/w the two giving one example.
  3. Now, mention their utility in civil services with examples.
  4. Conclusion.

Social influence is an attribute that can bring change in a person’s behaviour, thoughts, feelings and attitudes that results from interaction with other individuals in society. Persuasion is defined as communicative activities that are mediated. It is the process of changing or reinforcing attitudes, beliefs or behaviour of a person. These are different from conformity, power and authority. These are fundamental functions of communication.

Interlink Between Social Influence and Persuasion:

Social influence and persuasion are the keys to bring behavioural changes to solve social evils like caste system, patriarchy, climate change, solid waste management. Using social influence of celebrities and campaigns have been quite effective in persuading people to adopt any desired behaviour. For e.g.: Dia Mirza has been the face of several pivotal environmental campaigns across India and is one who has always voiced her opinion regarding the need to take a stand for the environment. Her work saw her  being appointed as the UN Environment’s Goodwill Ambassador for India.

Utility Of Persuasion and Social influence in Civil Services:

  • Executing Government schemes: Sometimes persuasion and social influence works better than coercion. Success of the initiatives like Swaccha Bharat Abhiyaan– cleanliness drives and Ujjwala Yojana’s give it up campaign can be attributed to persuasion.
  • Moral conditioning: Persuasion can bring change in the social attitude of people. For example, regular announcements to keep the station clean persuade people to change their behaviour. The Selfie campaign was a major success in promoting the Beti Padhao Beti Bachao scheme.
  • Social acceptance: Social influence and persuasion can help in accepting radical new changes in the society. E.g.: LGBT rights.
  • Incentivising good behaviour: For instance in income declaration schemes a window was open to declare black money with some fine and no legal action that incentivized people instead of penalizing them.
  • Following rules: It helps in making people follow rules which bring inconvenience to them, like District collectors visiting houses in the morning to persuade people for waste segregation before disposal or DC (Traffic) persuading people on safe driving norms.

Thus, social influence & persuasion can be viable in bringing about behavioural change keeping intact the dignity and respect of all stakeholders.

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