Search Center Resources
RESEARCH BRIEF: Inspirational Appeals are the Most Effective Way of Winning Environmental Project Buy-In
Takeaway: Employees should utilize inspirational appeals, rational persuasion, and consultation when trying to build buy-in within their organization.
Researchers conducted a web-based survey of an environmental specialty sub-group of a major safety engineering professional society. They were looking for participants who “tried to get someone else in your organization to support or cooperate with an environmental project”. They studied 241 participants. In this survey, researchers measured:
- Rational persuasion
- Using logic, explanation, and factual evidence to build the case for the environmental initiative
- Claiming authority over the target you are trying to persuade; citing laws, rules, policies or conventions that support your request (e.g. environmental regulations)
- Seeking the target’s participation in implementing the request; offering to make modifications in response to the target’s input
- Making the target feel important; Use of friendliness, praise or humility
- Inspirational appeals
- Appealing to the target’s values, ideals, aspirations, and emotions (e.g. positioning the environmental initiative as the right thing to do)
- Marshaling support for a project and then using that support as a lever with the target
The study found that inspirational appeals are positively related to gaining the commitment of others. Despite being the most effective tactic, they are used less frequently than rational persuasion: the most frequently used tactic. Rational persuasion is positively related to gaining the commitments of others, as is consultation, but both of these methods are less effective than inspirational appeals. Ingratiation, in contrast, is negatively related to gaining the commitment of others. The study found no significant effect between either coalition-building or legitimating and obtaining the commitment of others.
Employees should utilize inspirational appeals, rational persuasion, and consultation when trying to build buy-in within their organization. They should avoid personally ingratiating themselves to decision makers, as that is not an effective tactic.
If citing please refer to the original article:
Understanding Project Champions Ability to Gain Intra-Organizational Commitment for Environmental Projects, Thomas F. Gattiker, Craig R. Carter, Journal of Operations Management. 2010.