chapter  13
Bringing social structure to both sides of an issue: How proximal and distal ties interact with minority and majority positions to affect in¯uence in workgroups
Pages 28

At a meeting not long ago, we overheard a conversation between two managers in which one asked the other: `How come we are taking this approach to our project? I thought that we had all agreed on the alternative approach?' The answer: `Well, you know that Nils and two other group members were certain this was the best option. And of course, you know that he has to be on board for the project to ¯y.' Interestingly, Nils was neither the manager of the team, nor the expert in that particular area. This raises the question: What made Nils a key determining factor in the decision making? Studies of social in¯uence have often looked at Darwin, Galileo, Churchill, and Picasso as examples of the success of scienti®c, political, and artistic minorities. Scholars have advanced various explanations for these examples of minority in¯uence success. At the same time, few have stopped to analyse the question: Why these speci®c people? Why Galileo? Why Darwin? Why Nils?