Measuring Power and Satisfaction in Societies with Opinion Leaders: Properties of the Qualified Majority Case
Rene van der Brink
René Van Den Brink
A well known and established model in communication policy in sociology and mar- keting is that of opinion leadership. It is based on the idea of a two-step flow of communication. Opinion leaders are actors in a society who are able to affect the behavior of other members of the society called followers. Hence, opinion leaders might have a considerable impact on the behavior of markets and other social agglomerations being made up of individual actors choosing among a number of alternatives. For marketing purposes it appears to be interesting to investigate the effect of different opinion leader-follower structures in markets or any other collective decision-making situations in a society. We study a two-action model in which the members of a society are to choose one action, for instance, to buy or not to buy a certain joint product, or to vote yes or no on a specific proposal. Each of the actors has an inclination to choose one of the actions. By definition opinion leaders have some power over other actors, their followers, and they exercise this power by influencing the behavior of their followers, i.e. their choice of action. After all actors have chosen their actions, a decision- making mechanism determines the collective choice resulting out of the individual choices. The structure of the relations between the actors can be represented by a bipartite digraph. We analyze such digraphs investigating satisfaction and power distributions within societies with and without the opinion leaders. Moreover, we study common properties of the satisfaction and power measures and illustrate our findings and some marketing implications for a society with five members.
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