As a result of studying this chapter, students should:


• the nature of manipulative interaction;

• the main features and mechanisms of manipulative communication;

• The most common logical-rhetorical methods of manipulative communication;

• what is "psychological games";

be able to

• recognize organizational and procedural tricks that can be used by manipulators in the practice of business communications;


• tactics of protection against manipulation in communication.

Probably, each of us had to do things in life, after which there were vague feelings of some bewilderment and discontent with ourselves: well, why did we do it? Why did they make unnecessary purchases, shoulder the extra obligations, go on unjustified concessions, agree to obviously unprofitable terms of the transaction, etc.? In a huge number of such cases, the answer should be sought in the field of communicative technologies: most likely we are victims of manipulative communication techniques. The latter implies a hidden, inconspicuous effect for one of the communication partners in order to extract one-sided benefits. There are many such techniques. And some of them have already turned into professional skills. Traders, teachers, lawyers, and politicians have always been recognized as manipulators. Now, to these respected people, a growing army of advertisers, journalists, specialists in the "PR" has been added. (PR - public relations), political image makers etc. The increasing amount of manipulative practices in the social environment as a whole can not but affect the sphere of business communications. It also reveals the growth of manipulative techniques with the naked eye. Let's try to figure out how they work. In this chapter we will talk about the main signs of manipulation in business practice, we will define the basic "tools of influence" manipulators, we will consider some ways of protection against them.

The psychological nature of manipulative communication

The problem of manipulation in communication is ambiguous. In the word manipulation (with reference to communication) from the beginning some negative value shade is heard, and it is largely justified. Well, who would like to look like a puppet in the hands of a clever manipulator? Manipulations are not without grounds we perceive as an attempt on the independence and self-worth of the individual. This, of course, is ethically unacceptable.

The ethical side of manipulative communication

However, in many cases, the ethical side of manipulative actions fades into the background. When a parent, trying to calm a child who is being squashed, switches his attention to some new toy, he is engaged in typical manipulation. But who decides to say that it is unethical? When the teacher, trying to keep the attention of the audience, asks some provocative question, he commits a frank manipulative action. But who will throw a stone at him for this? When doctors or relatives, trying to save patients from smoking or drug addiction, resort to manipulative methods, do they do something unworthy? In all such cases, the ethical goal (to calm, to teach, to cure, etc.) seems to justify not too attractive means.

But the situation changes when the same manipulative techniques begin to be used to extract unilateral advantages. The goal is not the benefit of the object of manipulation, but the obtaining of one's own benefit at the expense of the latter. Only such actions will be the subject of our consideration.

What is manipulation in communication?

In this way, the concept of manipulation can be interpreted as a hidden psychological impact on a person, that changes its behavior in a given direction and provides various advantages for the affected party.

Psychological manipulative influence is characterized by three main features:

• it is implemented in an implicit form for the addressee;

• as a rule, an attractive target for the object is proclaimed;

• The subject of manipulation (the one who manipulates) seeks to obtain some one-sided advantages at the expense of his communication partner.

Externally manipulative effects look innocuous enough - this is not fraud in its pure form, but only skilful use of some psychological features of people's perceptions, norms of their relationships and standards of behavior.

Targets of manipulation are almost always stable, stereotyped, stereotypical skills and habits of perception, thinking, behavior, etc. And it's not about that we are all so stupid that we can not think and act without a template. Yes we can, when we want. Only in most cases this is simply not necessary. Stereotypes, no matter how cursed, greatly simplify life. They are necessary, since they allow you to make many practical decisions without hesitation, without spending a scarce time.

If a product is produced at an enterprise of a world famous company, then it is likely to be of high quality. If a person has taken a high position on the career ladder, then he is capable and talented. If someone's book is published in millions of copies, then it is probably interesting. It is clear that the truth of such judgments is not absolute. In some cases, they do not work: the book turns out to be uninteresting, and the person is a scoundrel, and the goods are defective. But in most cases, our expectations are justified! This allows us to safely build a line of our behavior, focusing on the generally accepted canons, patterns, standards, etc. This is a completely natural and explainable attraction of people to well-known, stable decision-making schemes and is operated by mercilessly numerous manipulators.

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