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Influence Without Authority, 3rd Edition by David L. Bradford, Allan R. Cohen

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Chapter 3Goods and Services: The Currencies of Exchange

Mugger: Your money or your life.

Comedian Jack Benny [notorious cheapskate]: (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—trading what the other person desires for what you want. Influence is possible when you have what others want. That can be just about anything. A recent report on US prisons revealed that ramen is now replacing tobacco as the most desirable currency because budgetary cutbacks restricted the availability and quality of food.1 The metaphor of currencies—something that is valued—can help you determine what you might offer a potential ally for cooperation. Because currencies represent resources that can be exchanged, they are the basis for acquiring influence. Without currencies in your treasury that the other person values, you have nothing to exchange and, therefore, are likely to have little influence. This chapter looks 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 understand the many things people care about and all the valuables you have to offer. At least five types of currencies at work in a variety of settings are shown with our starter list of examples ...

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