Status, Networks, and Opinion Change: An Experimental Investigation
Author(s): Joseph Dippong, Will Kalkhoff, Eugene C. Johnsen
Abstract: This study evaluates two prominent sociological theories of interpersonal influence: status characteristics theory and social influence network theory. In application to status settings, we test social influence network theory and its established measurement model as well as a recent “modular integration” that operationalizes social influence network theory’s central constructs by incorporating assumptions from status characteristics theory. The two formulations are systematically examined within an open interaction experiment where groups of two, three, and four participants discussed their initial opinions and formed final opinions on two separate issues. Participants were randomly assigned to status positions, which status characteristics theory emphasizes as normative foundations of influence in small task-oriented groups. Analyses of group-level and individual-level opinion change support social influence network theory as it has been used in the past and suggest that status characteristics theory shows promise in modeling the influence networks that drive opinion change at the individual level.
Publication Title: Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 80(2)
Pub Year: 2017
Pages: 153 – 173
URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/0190272517693211
Keywords: social influence, status processes, expectation states theory, experimental social psychology, group processes, mathematical sociology, small groups

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