Mastering Influence: The Science of Getting Things Done Through Others

How can you effectively influence people? Over the last 30 years, psychologists, economists, and business scholars have joined forces to investigate what actually influences people’s decisions. The primary goal of this course is to use insights from this research program (often called “behavioral science” or “behavioral economics”) to improve your ability to influence the behavior of others. This course will explore many influence tools ranging from economic incentives to psychological nudges. We will discuss how, why, and when using these tactics can be effective, as well as how they can fail or even backfire. We will analyze common mistakes that people make when trying to influence others, and how can you avoid them. We will also consider strategies to defend yourself against being manipulated in unwanted directions. Both interpersonal applications (e.g., leadership) and organizational applications (e.g., policy interventions to solve managerial problems) will be discussed.


This course is designed to improve students' skills in all phases of a negotiation. We will discuss prescriptive and descriptive negotiation theory as it applies to a variety of contexts including buyer-seller transactions, job negotiations, multi-party negotiations, team negotiations, auctions, and disputes. Using hands-on negotiation exercises, readings, and lively discussions, students will build and hone their ability to understand, evaluate, and manage the personal, social, and situational dynamics of negotiations.