Social Influence

In an era of grey zone conflict, hybrid warfare, strategic competition, malign foreign interference, and regional engagement, the need to understand influence, in its various forms, has never been more urgent and important.

Despite increased strategic attention to matters of influence, pressing question remain: What is influence and what shapes does it take? Why are some attempts at persuasion, coercion and manipulation of people, groups, societies successful and others not? How can nations make themselves more resilient to malign influence?

The Report being launched addresses these questions at various, inter-connected, levels by drawing on best practice and leading research in the fields of social psychology, sociology and international relations. It highlights how insights from these and cognate fields can contribute to national security and international engagement for a more secure and stable region.

Led by a research team from Defence Science and Technology Group, University of South Australia and Flinders University, the Report highlights how academia and Defence can – and need to – work together to address some of the most pressing issues in the contemporary national security environment.