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Does power corrupt?

Does power corrupt? Examined the way in which control of institutional powers influences self-esteem and esteem for others in a simulated organizational setting with 28 undergraduates. Observations and questionnaire responses indicate that the control of power caused Ss to (a) increase their attempts to influence the behavior of the less powerful, (b) devalue the worth of the less powerful's performance, (c) attribute the cause of the less powerful's efforts to power controlled by themselves rather than to the less powerful's motivations to do well, (d) view the less powerful as objects of manipulation, and (e) express a preference for the maintenance of psychological distance from the less powerful. No support was found for the prediction that the control of power would elevate self-esteem. Findings are discussed in terms of recent writings concerned with the disruptive influences of inequities in power. (27 ref.) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Personality and Social Psychology American Psychological Association

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1972 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0022-3514
eISSN
1939-1315
DOI
10.1037/h0033390
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Examined the way in which control of institutional powers influences self-esteem and esteem for others in a simulated organizational setting with 28 undergraduates. Observations and questionnaire responses indicate that the control of power caused Ss to (a) increase their attempts to influence the behavior of the less powerful, (b) devalue the worth of the less powerful's performance, (c) attribute the cause of the less powerful's efforts to power controlled by themselves rather than to the less powerful's motivations to do well, (d) view the less powerful as objects of manipulation, and (e) express a preference for the maintenance of psychological distance from the less powerful. No support was found for the prediction that the control of power would elevate self-esteem. Findings are discussed in terms of recent writings concerned with the disruptive influences of inequities in power. (27 ref.)

Journal

Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Oct 1, 1972

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