Primary and secondary goals in the production of interpersonal influence messages

James Price Dillard, Chris Segrin, Janie M. Harden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

263 Scopus citations


In this paper we argue that an individual's activities, prior to and during an interpersonal influence attempt, may be explained by his or her goals. Two classes of goals are posited: (1) primary or influence goals which instigate the influence process, and (2) secondary goals which shape it. Three studies are reported whose purpose was to illuminate the substance of each of these goals, to examine their relationships to one another, and finally, to show how the goals shape the interpersonal influence process (for the source) in terms of planning, effort, directness, positivity, and logic. The results suggest the existence of five secondary goals: identity goals, interaction goals, personal resource goals, relational resource goals, and arousal management goals. With the exception of personal goals, each of the goals makes a unique contribution to shaping the source's actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-38
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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