We’re in the midst of a global epidemic. COVID19 is directly affecting millions of people, the markets are making immense turns and shifts to combat the impact the disease can make on our health and economy worldwide. We are seeing increased cases of panic buying in Australia and mass-movement of people leaving Milan following the extension of the quarantine zones in Italy over the weekend. This isn’t a cultural or nation-specific ‘phenomenon’. It’s happening in SingaporeUSAGermanyHong KongLatin America.


If we would take Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and compare Australia and Italy, we find a number of pillars to have alternative priorities. For as a third comparison, I have put China in the graph of results taken from Hofstede’s Insights.



Us humans are pressured by both internal and external influences in our decision making. A number of media outlets reported that toilet paper is one of the first things to go during a crisis. Hence, in some cases, the toilet paper aisle at a supermarket becomes the wild west. Is toilet paper an ABSOLUTE necessity? Write your thoughts in the comments.


Decision making can be thought of as a predominantly internal and individual process. We make hundreds of decisions a day that involve little-to-many variables—deciding what to eat for breakfast to the more complex ‘pulling the pin’ on a multimillion-dollar deal. What we overlook is how both internal and external social pressures influence these decisions.


Below you will find 3 ‘outside the box’ internal and external social pressures that influence your decision making:


The Power of We

As Robert Cialdini explains “When people see themselves as part of a larger group that has a shared identity, they are willing to take steps they wouldn’t take for their individual interests.” This means we shift our decision-making to appease a majority or collective.


The Power of the Pen

We live in a digital age so you may view this as outdated yet when we designate tasks to others and the agreement is written down, we live up to it more than if it were verbalised. This simple action appears to make the choice more conscious.



Peers over experts

Thanks to the digital age and social media, we are more susceptible to be influenced by our peers than by the credible experts of the field. These vary from the less significant decisions like choosing a restaurant or movie to more weighty decisions that can affect numerous stakeholders.


This was adapted and updated from a Conti Advanced Business Learning newsletter from 2019.


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Additional Resources:


•  This article by Monash Business School explains when peer reviews are valued more than expert reviews.

•  This slide share explores spoken and unspoken peer pressure, the three different types of peer pressure and different ways to face peer pressure.

•  In the classic 12 Angry Men, the movie explores ‘Groupthink’ and how the social plays out in a scenario where a 12-0 majority is needed to sentence a man for murder.



Giuseppe Conti is the founder of CABL (www.cabl.ch), a firm that offers a range of customized training in the field of negotiation and influencing.

Since 2005, he is an award-winning Professor and Lecturer at leading business schools throughout Europe (Cambridge, EPFL, ESADE, HEC Lausanne, HEC Paris, IESE, IMD, Imperial College, INSEAD, London Business School, Oxford, RSM, SDA Bocconi, UBIS, University of Geneva and University of St Gallen), recognized for his lively and interactive training workshops.

He runs negotiation workshops in four continents. Corporate leaders from multinational corporations and individuals from over 90 different countries have attended his workshops.