The reason for this paper is to give details on the importance of ethical behavior and its
significance in persuasion. It will point out current events where ethics and lack of ethics heavily
influence persuasion. This paper will also, define ethical theories, and explore the impact ethical
practices have on persuasion.
The importance of ethical behavior is to abide by a set of unwritten rules that is either aimed
at a status quo performance, like majority of people who choose to reap the benefits of the doing
what is expected of us. On the other hand ethical behavior can have a negative side in which
certain people choose to scheme, trick, or deceive others for personal gain. The significance of
both positive or ethical behavior and its significance in persuasion is the underlying message
attained by the receiver at the end of interaction.
When you exert positive ethical behavior and apply this to persuasion, there is little room in
the thought process of the receiver to not believe or at least consider what is being offered. One
example of this is when I go to the Commissary, in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; I am normally
bombarded with different venders trying to catch my eye with invigorating mottos regarding
the product they are trying get me to taste. I normally try a sample and finish my shopping then
leave. I can always rest assure that there is never a hassle trying to persuade me to go to the
Commissary to grocery shop because I know, by the time I leave the store, I won’t be hungry.
Due to the reciprocity of the vendors and the entire Commissary atmosphere, they have
persuaded a non believer of shopping to become a dedicated shopper with positive verbal
greetings and their play on emotions with food. The best theory to describe how constructive
traits operate would be through the “The Direct Effects Model of Immediacy”. The book states
that the Direct Effects Model “suggests that warm, involving, immediate nonverbal behaviors
significantly enhance the persuasive effects of a message” (Andersen, 1985, 1999; Segrin, 1993).
This ultimately allows the receiver to open up and feel more comfortable in order for a better
chance at persuasion.
Unethical behavior and persuasion are looked upon as immoral. In order to fully grasp the
concept on unethical behavior and persuasion you have to understand how something is declared
immoral. These are the rules that people know is right but instead they choose to satisfy their
personal goal which is to deceive as many people with games such as reverse psychology,
manipulation, or seduction. Deconstructive traits such as verbal aggressiveness and hostility play
roles leading up to the gimmicks and seduction of negative ethical behavior. The book states
“Research on argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness has examined how the persuasion
process is influenced by these traits” (Seiter p. 126). One ethical theory that impact ethical
practices is “Nonverbal immediacy behaviors are nonverbal acts that simultaneously signal
warmth, decrease psychological or physical distance between communicators, are interpersonally
stimulating, and signal availability for communication” (Andersen, 1985). Another ethical theory
is the Likelihood Expectancy Model which states: (Seiter 2011, p. 176).
The first type of persuasion results from the careful and thoughtful consideration of the
merits of the information presented in a message and is called the central route. The second type
of persuasion results from cues in a persuasive context, such as an attractive source, without
necessitating scrutiny of the actual merits of the information; this is called the peripheral route.
In conclusion, ethical behavior is assessed in either a positive or negative way. Depending
on the overall tactics used in the process of persuasion, this will determine if the person used
moral behavior or not. Deconstructive and constructive language plays a part in being able
to distinguish the difference in terms of positive or negative persuasion. Ethical behavior and
persuasion share a dual quality of they both are able to change minds. The significance of both
positive or ethical behavior and its significance in persuasion is the underlying message attained
by the receiver at the end of interaction and the tools used in order to change a person mind.