Required Reading

To introduce yourself to the topic of this module, take a look at the following video and short article by a leading expert in the area of persuasion Dr. Robert Cialdini:

Cialdini, R. B., & Martin, S. (2012). Science of persuasion. Influence at Work. Retrieved from:

Cialdini, R. B. (2001). Harnessing the science of persuasion. Harvard Business Review, 79(9), 72-79. [EbscoHost]

Now take a look at this more detailed reading to expand your knowledge of persuasion:


McLean, S. (2012). Chapter 14: Presentations to persuade. Communication for Business Success.

For the Case Assignment, you will have to distinguish between persuasion, argumentation, and propaganda. The lines between these concepts can be a little blurry, so take a look at the following PowerPoint presentation:

Jernigan, B. (2013). Elements of argument. Retrieved from

Finally, note that for the SLP you will have to write your own persuasive memo. The above links will give you an overview of the basic concepts of persuasion. But for some practical guidance here are a few persuasion guides will be of great assistance to you in preparing for your Case Assignment. No need to go through all of them in detail, but take a look and use one of them as part of your guidance for your SLP:


Gorman, T. (2007). Chapter 9: Writing to persuade. Persuasion: Command Attention – Hold Their Interest – Get What You Want. Avon, Mass: F+W Media. [EBSCO eBook Business Collection].

 Developing persuasive business messages. (2014). Pearson Learning Solutions. New York, NY.

Three-step process for writing persuasive messages. (2014). Pearson Learning Solutions. New York, NY.

Optional Reading

McIntosh, P., Davis, J. H., & Luecke, R. (2008). Chapter 9: When you aim to persuade. Interpersonal communication skills in the workplace. New York: AMA Self-Study. [EBSCO eBook Business Collection]

Conger, J. A. (1998). The necessary art of persuasion. Harvard Business Review, 76(3), 84-95. [Business Source Complete]


Assignment Overview

For this assignment take a close look at both the required readings and videos on general concepts of persuasion such as the main principles laid out by Cialdini (2001) or in Section 14.2 of McLean (2012). Then take a look at some of the practical guides to persuasion such as Gorman (2007) or the Pearson tutorials and see which one of them is the most useful for you.  

Case Assignment

When you have finished carefully reading these materials, write a 4 page paper addressing the following issues:

1. Which of these readings or tutorials was the most convincing or presented the most useful information? Explain your reasoning as to why you found this source more convincing that the others.

2. Based on the ideas about persuasion that you read about in the background readings, write a memo at least one page in length to your employees trying to persuade them to cancel their weekend plans and volunteer to work next weekend. This memo shouldn’t be an “order” that they need to work on the weekend, but rather an attempt to persuade them to do so. Make sure to use both the general concepts from Cialdini (2001) or McLean (2012) as well as some of the practical persuasion guides to help you craft your memo.

3. Conclude your paper with a discussion of how your memo applied the concepts from the background materials. Be specific as to what sources you used and what sections of your memo was influenced by which source.

Assignment Expectations

· Follow the assignment instructions closely and follow all steps listed in the instructions.

· Stay focused on the precise assignment questions, don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.

· Make sure to cite readings from the background materials page. Rely primarily on the required background readings as your sources of information.

· Include both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 11-14 on in-text citations.