Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Influence attempts in policy-making groups. A case study of the federal open market committee
by Monakova, Julia, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2011, 265; 3457026
Abstract (Summary)

The main objective of the dissertation was to understand how members of elite ongoing policy-making groups in organizations influence each other in the process of making policy. The research was conducted using the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the US Federal Reserve System as the case study; the verbatim transcripts of FOMC meetings as the data; and the open coding as the method.

The outcome of the study is a micro-situational model of influence tactics founded in symbolic interactionism and strategic interaction literatures. The model combines the concepts of a 'move' as a building block of influence behaviors in interaction, 'micro situation' as a contextual background guiding interpretation of influence moves' meaning in the collective sense-making process, and an 'awareness context' as embodiment of macro-situational factors.

The model portrays policy discussions as micro-situational chains characterized by constant shifts of group's attention from one conceptual issue to another. Based on their assessment of the immediate situation, policy makers ascribe meaning to verbal and non-verbal cues, aided in this process by the characteristics of the interactional moments and the group's shared understanding about the broader features of the discussion. Each speaker takes advantage of opportunities embedded in the specific micro-situation to advance his/her interests through small incremental steps, or influence moves. While contributing to the interpretation of the conceptual issue, these moves incorporate the speakers' interests in the way that is natural for the specific situation. In doing so, the speaker refocuses the group's attention to the next conceptual issue and incrementally changes the situation, opening new opportunities for influence for other members of the group to interpret the new situation from the perspective of their respective interests and based on micro-situational nuances.

By focusing on the social and constantly changing nature of the influence behaviors in response to the immediate situation; by emphasizing the significance of the language and sense-making as a crucial part of influence process; and by centering on a group setting, the micro-situational model represents a significant departure from the traditional view of influence tactics developed in the social psychological and management literatures.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Abolafia, Mitch
Commitee: McCaffrey, David, Rohrbaugh, John
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Public Administration and Policy
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public administration
Keywords: Federal Open Market Committee, Influence tactics, Policy-making groups, Strategic interaction, Symbolic interactionism
Publication Number: 3457026
ISBN: 978-1-124-66979-3
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