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A Multilevel Study of Interpersonal Influence in Academic ‘Influence Networks’
Unformatted Document Text:  Influence Networks 8 heavyweight) can be only a source of influence" (Friedkin, 1998, p. 203). However, the centrality-influence link is treated as an assumption within this theoretical framework. The outcomes to this investigation will contribute to diffusion of innovations theory by investigating the influencing force of opinion leaders. Also, this study provides an empirical test of the assumption within the structural theory of social influence. The following section describes the model used in this test that draws from individual and structural theories of social influence. The remainder of the paper describes a study of faculty attitudes within academic departments, presents the study results, and discusses future research directions. Building a Multilevel Model Multilevel variables are inherent in the study of influence networks within organizations because social network analysis captures structural features that are expected to impact individual level variables, such as attitudes and behavior. The influence networks used to test the centrality-influence link were academic departments, and the object of influence was a set of teaching behaviors. Two levels are involved in the multilevel model used in this study. The first level includes individual perceptions about enacting a set of teaching behaviors. These perceptions include attitudes, reports of subjective norm, and behavioral intentions. The second level is contains structural centrality, which is based on each influence network. Level 1: Individual Level Indicators of Influence At the individual level, interpersonal influence is operationalized as the degree to which normative environments impact behavioral intentions. The theory of reasoned action, a theory of rational choice, guides specification of variables at this level (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). This theory is a widely accepted and empirically supported model of volitional behavior that specifies two sources of influence found in many contexts to be the major determinants of behavior (Ajzen

Authors: Wolski, Stacy.
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Influence Networks 8
heavyweight) can be only a source of influence" (Friedkin, 1998, p. 203). However, the
centrality-influence link is treated as an assumption within this theoretical framework.
The outcomes to this investigation will contribute to diffusion of innovations theory by
investigating the influencing force of opinion leaders. Also, this study provides an empirical test
of the assumption within the structural theory of social influence. The following section
describes the model used in this test that draws from individual and structural theories of social
influence. The remainder of the paper describes a study of faculty attitudes within academic
departments, presents the study results, and discusses future research directions.
Building a Multilevel Model
Multilevel variables are inherent in the study of influence networks within organizations
because social network analysis captures structural features that are expected to impact
individual level variables, such as attitudes and behavior. The influence networks used to test
the centrality-influence link were academic departments, and the object of influence was a set of
teaching behaviors. Two levels are involved in the multilevel model used in this study. The first
level includes individual perceptions about enacting a set of teaching behaviors. These
perceptions include attitudes, reports of subjective norm, and behavioral intentions. The second
level is contains structural centrality, which is based on each influence network.
Level 1: Individual Level Indicators of Influence
At the individual level, interpersonal influence is operationalized as the degree to which
normative environments impact behavioral intentions. The theory of reasoned action, a theory of
rational choice, guides specification of variables at this level (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). This
theory is a widely accepted and empirically supported model of volitional behavior that specifies
two sources of influence found in many contexts to be the major determinants of behavior (Ajzen


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