Communication and Media Studies 633

COMS 633: Persuasion Theory and Strategy

Prerequisites: None

Credit Hours: (3)

Seminar format in which students will discuss and explore concepts and theories relating to persuasion.  Includes application to the corporate environment.


Detailed Description of Course

List of topics or major units:


Introduction to Persuasion

Attitudes, Beliefs, and Values

Behavioral Theories of Persuasion

Attitudes and Behavior

Changing Attitudes

Compliance Gaining/Seeking

Interpersonal Persuasion

Group and Organizational Persuasion

Public and Mass Persuasion

Political Persuasion


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

A variety of methods will be used to teach the course.  For instance, seminar reports might be assigned in which the students will present a reading to the class.  Not only do they present this material, but they also lead a discussion about the material by constructing discussion questions.  The student must also relate their readings with concepts/theories from previous readings.  Exams may be administered to assess the students’ mastery of the material.  And, students might be required to write a research proposal or complete a final project.


Student Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this course, graduate students will be able to communicate more effectively in the workplace and to create persuasive campaigns for their employer.  An understanding of persuasive techniques and theories allows students to navigate the work world more efficiently, which can lead to greater success in their careers.  In addition, the student will be able to both produce persuasive messages and resist persuasive messages.


Assessment Measures

A variety of assessment measures may include exams, final papers or final projects, and seminar reports.

Other Course Information

The following textbooks are suggested for the course:

Borchers, T.A. (2002).  Persuasion in the media age.  Boston, MA:  McGraw-Hill Companies.

Gass, R.H., & Seiter, J.S.  (1999).  Persuasion, social influence, and compliance gaining.  Needham Heights, MA:  Allyn and Bacon.

Johnston, D.D. (1994).  The art and science of persuasion.  Madison, WI:  Wm. Brown & Benchmark Publishers.

Shavitt, S., & Brock, T.C. (1994).  Persuasion:  Psychological insights and perspectives.  Needham Heights, MA:  Allyn and Bacon.