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Influence without Authority, Second Edition by David L. Bradford, Allan R. Cohen

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Chapter 3. Goods and Services: The Currencies of Exchange

Mugger: Your money or your life.

Notorious cheapskate comedian, Jack Benny: (Silence)

Mugger: Well?

Jack Benny: I'm thinking!

Coin of the Realm: The Concept of Currencies

The Cohen-Bradford Influence model is based on exchange and reciprocity—making trades for what you desire in return for what the other person desires. Influence is possible when you have what others want. The metaphor of currencies—which stands for something that is valued—can help you determine what you might offer a potential ally in exchange for cooperation. Because currencies represent resources that can be exchanged, they are the basis for acquiring influence. If you have no currencies in your treasury that the other person values, you have nothing to exchange. In this chapter, we look more closely at how currencies work, which ones are common to organizational life, and how to understand their use.

Frequently Valued Currencies

To make trades, you need to be aware of many things people care about and all the valuables you have to offer. At least five types of currencies are at work in a variety of settings:

  1. Inspiration-related

  2. Task-related

  3. Position-related

  4. Relationship-related

  5. Personal

Although the list is by no means comprehensive and is somewhat arbitrarily grouped for convenience, it does provide a broader view of possible currencies than many organizational members conventionally think about. Having this framework can alert you to possible currencies valued ...

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