The Influence Styles Inventory
by Marshall Sashkin, Ph.D.
The Influence Styles Inventory (ISI) assesses three communication styles that people use to influence others: passive, assertive, and aggressive. Drawing on current research that integrates the importance of assertiveness with interpersonal communication and influence, this assessment will give managers an opportunity to analyze their influence styles.
The concept of assertiveness, and its superiority over either aggressive or passive styles, has been demonstrated as effective by more than 25 years of research. Even so, many people still confuse assertion with aggression or are unclear about the difference. The ISI is a tool not only for examining one's preferred style but for developing a practical understanding of how the three styles can be seen to be different, in action. In this way, respondents can begin to learn how to use assertion effectively, as a distinct alternative to aggression or passive avoidance.