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Day 36 – Q 3.Why should a civil servant have persuasive abilities? Substantiate with the help of suitable examples.

3. Why should a civil servant have persuasive abilities? Substantiate with the help of suitable examples. 

एक सिविल सेवक के पास प्रेरक क्षमताएं क्यों होनी चाहिए? उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से सारगर्भित करें।


Generally, persuasion is defined as communicative activities that are mediated. According to the communication scholar Gerald R. Miller, any message that is aimed to shape, reinforce or change the perceptions, emotions, beliefs, behavioural intentions and behaviours is to be considered as persuasive communication.


Persuasion has been perceived as a potent weapon in the hands of civil servants through which they can encourage their teammates to work with more efficiency.

Why persuasive abilities:

People respond to persuasive messages in two ways: thoughtfully and mindlessly. When people are in thoughtful mode, the persuasiveness of the message is determined by merits of the message. When people respond to messages mindlessly, their brains are locked on automatic. Persuasion is mainly dependent upon the attractiveness of the speakers and reaction of the listeners. Persuasion is exclusively related with communication, learning, awareness and thought.

Miller (1980) suggested that communications exert three different persuasive effects: shaping, reinforcing, and changing responses.

  • Shaping: Attitudes are “shaped” by associating pleasurable environments with a product, person, or idea.
  • Reinforcing: Contrary to popular opinion, many persuasive communications are not designed to convert people, but to reinforce a position they already hold.
  • Changing: This is perhaps the most important persuasive impact and the one that comes most frequently to mind when we think of persuasion. Communications can and do change in attitude.


  • Every day we are bombarded by advertisements of every sort. The goal of these ads is to sell us cars, computers, video games, clothes, and even political candidates.The ads appear on billboards, website popup ads, buses, TV infomercials, etc. It’s been estimated that over $500 billion is spent annually on advertising worldwide
  • These advertisements do change our choices and preference which are part of our behavior.
  • Bringing social change – To deal with issues like girl child education, inter caste marriage, temple entry for women, persuasion may be the only solution because change has to be brought keep intact the dignity and respect of all stake holders.
  • Implementing public policy– Sometimes persuasion works better than coercion; success of the initiatives like Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan- cleanliness drives and UjjwalaYojana’s give it up campaign can be attributing to persuasion.
  • Following rules – It helps in making people follow rules which bring inconvenience to them, like District collector visiting houses in the morning to persuade people for waste segregation before disposal.
  • Moral conditioning – Persuasion can bring change in attitude of people. In Delhi Metro various signboards on certain seats asks passengers to offer that seat to needy people. Similarly, regular announcements to keep the station clean persuade people to change their behaviour.
  • Incentivising good behaviour– For instance in income declaration scheme a window was open to declare black money with some fine and no legal action that incentivized people instead of penalizing them.


Persuasion can bring a lasting change in people’s behaviour and is highly effective in implementation of public policies provided the tools are used in a right way.

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