'Ingratiation is a strategic attempt to get someone to like you in order to obtain compliance with a request (Vaughan, & Hogg, 2008). Ingratiation is generally conceptualized as a variant of impression management tactics (Buss, Gomes, Higgins & Lauterbach, 1987).
According to Jones (Eugene, 1966), the three major tactics for ingratiation are other-enhancement, opinion conformity, and self-presentation.
- Other-enhancement means flattery. People use this tactic to gain compliance by flattering an individual or reasoning with him or her instead of forcing compliance. The person focuses and often exaggerates the positive side, and ignores the negative side, with the goal to communicate the idea that the ingratiator thinks highly of the other person. This tactic succeeds often because people find it difficult not to like people who think highly of them. Basically, the ingratiatory wants to be liked by showing liking and modesty, making himself/herself physically attractive and generating similarity towards the target person.
- Opinion conformity is conforming to the various ways of the target person. The belief is that people like those with apparently similar values. Allow the target to "convince" you of their opinion. Either consistent conformity or conformity preceded by sufficient resistance are both good strategies at ingratiation.
- Self-presentation is to present one's own attributes in a manner that the target would approve and like. The level of status between the ingratiator and target are important. “Relatively high status individuals were more modest when induced to become ingratiating, while relatively low status individuals were more self-enhancing but only in predictable respects” (Eugene, 1966).
Buss, D. M., Gomes, M., Higgins, D. S., & Lauterbach, K. (1987). Tactics of manipulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 1219–1229.
Eugene Burnstein (1966). Book review: Ingratiation: A Social Psychological Analysis by Edward E. Jones. The American Journal of Psychology, 79 (1), 159-161.
Vaughan, G. M., & Hogg, H. A. (2008). Introduction to social psychology (5th ed.). French Forest NSW, Australia: Pearson Education.