Preferences, Structure and Influence: The Engineering of Consent

Witold Henisz, Management, The Wharton School

Abstract: I present a decision process framework that informs the design and implementation of stakeholder influence strategy. This process combines insights from agent-based dynamic utility and dynamic network processes. Stakeholders strategically seek an outcome as close as possible to their preferred point but also wish to be on the winning side and not to pursue positions divergent from stakeholders with whom they have strong affective ties. Simulation analysis highlights important effects from embedding stakeholders within such an interdependent policymaking network. The resulting decision process framework can be used by firms to assess the likely dynamics within such a stakeholder network as well as to compare alternative treatments to that network for their efficacy in securing a favorable policy outcome, collective decision, or shift in group opinion.

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