Exercise | August 2010 (Revised October 2012)

To Catch a Vandal: A Power & Influence Exercise

by Amy J.C. Cuddy, Ruwan Tharindu Gunatilake and Meredith Hodges


This exercise is based on the "Mafia" game created by psychologist Dimma Davidoff, and is designed to give students a broad introduction to multiple theories of influence and to challenge their instincts about which techniques are the most powerful and how they may be employed. In this version, two section-mates have been linked to the vandalizing of school property. Students are secretly assigned to different roles (e.g., Moderator, Vandals, Leadership and Values Representative, and Innocent Section Members), and the object of the game is for the players to debate the identities of the Vandals and vote to eliminate suspects.

Keywords: Nonverbal Communication; Knowledge Use and Leverage; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Management Skills; Groups and Teams; Power and Influence; Trust;


Cuddy, Amy J.C., Ruwan Tharindu Gunatilake, and Meredith Hodges. "To Catch a Vandal: A Power & Influence Exercise." Harvard Business School Exercise 911-013, August 2010. (Revised October 2012.)