ArticleLiterature Review

Social Power and Social Class: Conceptualization, Consequences, and Current Challenges

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Abstract

This article offers a primer on social power and social class with respect to their theoretical importance, conceptual distinction, and empirical relationship. We introduce and define the constructs of social power, social class, and one's psychological sense of power. We next explore the complex relationship between social power and social class. Because social class can produce a sense of power within an individual, studies on social power can inform theory and research on social class. We conclude by discussing the current challenges and future opportunities for the study of social power and social class.

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... Although social status and power represent two fundamental aspects of the social hierarchy, they are different in that status is based on reputation, while power is often defined as perceived asymmetric control over valued resources or other people in social relations Rucker et al. 2012). Central to the definition of social power is the notion of relative control over valued resources (Rucker and Galinsky 2017), implying resource discrepancy and inequality between low-and high-power individuals (Kraus et al. 2012). Notably, individuals may feel powerful/powerless chronically or dynamically in their daily lives (Anderson et al. 2012;Rucker et al. 2014). ...
... In particular, the agentic-communal model of power suggests that high power fosters an agentic orientation while low power fosters a communal orientation ). An agentic orientation leads people to be self-focused with a desire for independence and separation from others, whereas a communal orientation shifts people's attention to others with a desire for interdependence and connection with others (Abele and Wojciszke 2014;Rucker and Galinsky 2017). As a result, compared to having low power, having high power increases the focus on the self (Pitesa and Thau 2013), reduces perspective-taking , and lowers focus on others ). ...
... In contrast, low-power individuals feel that they have less control over others and the environment (Rucker and Galinsky 2008). They are more dependent and feel closer to others (Magee and Smith 2013;Rucker and Galinsky 2017). Thus, they are more attentive to others and spend more on others than on themselves (Dubois et al. 2015;Rucker et al. 2011). ...
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As human consumption is one of the key contributors to environmental problems, it is increasingly urgent to promote sustainable consumption. Drawing on the agentic-communal model of power, this research explores how the psychological feeling of power influences consumers’ preference for green products. We show that low power increases consumers’ preference for green (vs. conventional) products compared to high power (Studies 1a and 1b). Importantly, we identify two factors moderating the main effect of power on green consumption. Specifically, we find that the effect of power on green consumption is more salient among those with high green consumption values (Study 2). In addition, the effects of power are dynamic as a function of power distance belief (PDB), such that low power (vs. high power) promotes green consumption in the low-PDB context while high power (vs. low power) promotes green consumption in the high-PDB context (Study 3). Taken together, these findings provide novel insights into understanding green consumption from the perspectives of social power, green values, and PDB. Besides contributing to the literature, the findings have significant implications for marketers and policy-makers in promoting green campaigns, bridging the attitude-behavior gap, and building a more sustainable society.
... Many researchers have explored 'power' amongst actors in both educational and corporate governance, for instance, Masunga (2014); Klijn and Koppenjan (2012); Salaman (2010); Santiago, Basri, and Arnal (2008); New (1993); Pounce (1992); Ebbutt and Brown (1978) and (Taylor 1983). Power as a social concept in leadership is recognised as relative authority over valued organisational resources (Rucker and Galinsky 2017). Such authority may be qualified as structural (Anicich et al. 2016) with a hierarchical element (Hohmann and Walter 2019) and social (Rucker and Galinsky 2017) because of the networks individuals operate in. ...
... Power as a social concept in leadership is recognised as relative authority over valued organisational resources (Rucker and Galinsky 2017). Such authority may be qualified as structural (Anicich et al. 2016) with a hierarchical element (Hohmann and Walter 2019) and social (Rucker and Galinsky 2017) because of the networks individuals operate in. The nature of such networks affects individual governors' ability to fulfil their role in educational governing boards (Baxter 2020;Moos and Paulsen 2014;Bush and Gamage 2001). ...
... Hence, from a decision-making point of view, Z-ASG was seen as a governor with much more constrained power. This latter case echoes the view that governance structures effectively bar certain members (for instance, ASGs in this study) from strategy and decision-making ( van Ees, Gabrielsson, and Huse 2009;Rucker and Galinsky 2017) markedly limiting their influence in governance. ...
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At a time of the British government’s heightened interest in Further Education (FE) college governance, this paper explores Academic Staff Governor (ASG)’s professional and power status at three colleges in England. The study draws upon relevant literature to identify concepts related to ASGs’ power and professional status in governance. An interpretivist stance is used to collect predominantly qualitative data through a combined methods approach. During fieldwork, evidence from semi-structured interviews; questionnaire responses, observations of governance meetings and governance documents was analysed. Findings suggest that ASGs’ insiderness; relationships, professional status and the decision-making circumstances may limit their influence in the governance of the colleges, with implications for governance quality. From the exploration, ‘The Restricted Professional Model’ has been developed to highlight the restricted nature of the ASG role with implications for good governance. For governors, organisations and policymakers, the research recommends avoiding low-power and low-status governance roles; taking action to develop ASGs’ professionality as educators; removing structural and power barriers and allowing more opportunities for ASGs to contribute to governance. Finally, future research is identified including research to establish ASGs’ professional profiles in FE and the wider impact educators’ professionality has on governance in a variety of educational institutions.
... They assert that factors that influence social class include education, income and individual's assets. Rucker and Galinsky, (2017) earlier looked at occupation, education, wealth and perceived position of an individual in the society as factors that make up the social class of a person. Sirin, (2005) had earlier indicated that parental social class has been consistently linked with student academic achievement throughout childhood and adolescence. ...
... In the view of Rucker and Galinsky (2017), the social class of an individual is made up of factors, such as wealth, education, occupation, and perceptions of one's rank within society. Boadu (2002) categorised social classes in the Ghanaian context into lower class, middle class and upper class. ...
Thesis
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This research study aimed at ascertaining the social class of parents of girls in public senior high schools and to explore the influence of a social class of parents on academic performance of girls in public senior high schools with Wesley High School in the Bekwai District of the Ashanti Region as a case study. The social cognitive theory by Albert Bandura and cultural capital theory by Pierre Bourdieu was adopted to investigate how the social class of parents affect the academic performance of girls in senior high schools. A social class and good academic performance model for senior high school girls were developed as the conceptual framework for the study. The study used a mixed-method approach to research methodology using descriptive and analytical research designs. Simple random sampling techniques was used with a sample size of 182 girls. A survey questionnaire to solicit for both qualitative and quantitative data from students was used. The data revealed that parents of girls in the Wesley High School in the Bekwai District of the Ashanti region were in the middle-class category of social class. This was in relation to their highest educational level, status in the society and national level as well as occupation. It was also realised that the highest educational level of the parents contributed to 48% of girls’ academic performance. The study recommended that parents in the middle class of the social class system should seriously involve themselves through collaboration with teachers in the education of their girls in senior high schools especially in the selection of their programmes of study and future carrier paths. In-service Training should also be given to teachers on social class in seniors high schools and it effects on students’ performance to enhance their knowledge about student’s behaviour to enable them to adopt the best pedagogical skills when teaching.
... Although the theoretical relationship between power and underdog versus top-dog status stems from the fact that both constructs are characterized by hierarchical differences in control over valuable resources, prior research suggests that power can go beyond being an inherently social construct and translate directly into a psychological state that influences individuals' attitudes and behaviors (Galinsky et al., 2015;Rucker et al., 2012). In this case, social power exerts its influences through the "sense" of power it produces, which can be thought of as the psychological state or mindset of feeling powerful (Rucker & Galinsky, 2017). For example, a psychological sense of power can be induced by episodic recall (Galinsky, Gruenfeld, & Magee, 2003) and semantic priming (e.g., the scrambled sentence task, Smith & Trope, 2006), suggesting that people can experience a psychological state of high or low power even when an asymmetrical comparison between parties does not exist. ...
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Although both top‐dog and underdog positioning appeals are widely used in marketing and advertising, little is known about which strategy is more effective in persuading consumers. By introducing a sense of power, a social variable that is inherently relevant to the nature of the top‐dog versus underdog classification, we propose that consumers’ responses to these two appeals are influenced by their psychological experience of power. Specifically, low‐power consumers will respond to top‐dog appeals more favorably because associating with top dogs facilitates power restoration. In contrast, high‐power consumers will respond to underdog appeals more favorably because supporting underdogs facilitates power expression. In four experimental studies, we provide consistent support for our main predictions as well as the underlying processes. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrate the differential effect of consumers’ power states on their attitudes toward top‐dog versus underdog appeals. Providing process evidence, Studies 3 and 4 identify boundary conditions under which the basic effect was eliminated. These findings contribute to the persuasion literature and power research and provide important implications for positioning strategy and advertisement development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Scholars have proposed two essential bases of hierarchy: status and power (e.g., Magee & Galinsky, 2008;Rucker & Galinsky, 2017). Status is respect or admiration from others, whereas power is the ability to control resources and relations. ...
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Previous studies have found that high‐status people are more individualistic and think more analytically than people of lower social status. We find new evidence that this is not always the case. We tested a large sample (N = 1,418) of people across China on analytic thought and the friend‐stranger distinction. In China's more individualistic wheat‐farming regions, social status patterns replicated findings from the West: high‐status people thought more analytically and drew smaller distinctions between friends and strangers. But in more interdependent rice‐farming regions, high‐status people thought more holistically and drew a larger distinction between friends and strangers. This suggests that culture shapes social status differences in thought style and individualism. The data also showed that STEM majors thought more analytically than non‐STEM majors. STEM differences in thought style were larger among older students, which is consistent with the idea that STEM training encourages analytic thinking over time. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... Small negative correlations were found between age and trust which may be part of a trend of increasing suspiciousness with age [61]. Negative correlations were also found between mistrust and annual income, which may be explained by less reliance on others and greater reliance on the self amongst those with higher socio-economic status [62]. The association between credulity and level of education and annual income may be seen as reflecting the generic advantage of critical thinking that education can offer [63]. ...
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Epistemic trust (ET) refers to trust in communicated knowledge. This paper describes the development and validation of a new self-report questionnaire, the Epistemic Trust, Mistrust and Credulity Questionnaire (ETMCQ). We report on two studies (Study 1, n = 500; Study 2, n = 705) examining the psychometric properties of the ETMCQ and the relationship between EMTCQ scores (i.e., an individual’s epistemic stance) and exposure to adverse childhood experiences, mental health symptoms, attachment, mentalizing and general self-efficacy. The factor structure of the ETMCQ was examined using Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analyses, and its reliability and test-retest reliability were tested. Both studies yielded three correlated yet distinct factors–Trust, Mistrust and Credulity–and confirmed the reliability and validity of the ETMCQ. Preregistered hypotheses were confirmed and replicated across both studies. Main findings suggest intriguing links between the ETMCQ and developmental psychopathology constructs and are consistent with thinking on the role of epistemic stance in undermining adaptation and increasing the developmental risk of mental health problems. Mistrust and Credulity scores were associated with childhood adversity and higher scores on the global psychopathology severity index and both factors partially mediated the link between early adversity and mental health symptoms. Mistrust and Credulity were positively associated with difficulties in understanding mental states and insecure attachment styles. Post-hoc analysis identified that different attachment styles were associated with differences in epistemic stance. In addition, Trust was not associated with reduced levels of mental health symptoms and did not moderate the impact of childhood adversity–findings are congruent with the suggestion that the reduction of mistrust and credulity may be crucial common factors in promoting resilience and the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions. This investigation and the ETMCQ provide an empirical measure of what until now has been largely a theoretical concept and open new avenues for future research.
... By contrast, individuals with low-SES feel relatively less powerful and manifest tendencies with a greater focus on others and the community they are in. In other words high-SES individuals have a focus on the I-mode driven by personal agency, while low-power, low-SES individuals are more likely to have a communal focus and prioritize we-processes (Rucker & Galinsky, 2017). Individuals who are less socioeconomically privileged tend to behave in more community and socially oriented ways in interpersonal trust experiments and tend to spend more money proportionately on social activities and charity than more affluent individuals (Dubois, Rucker, & Galinsky, 2015). ...
Article
This paper proposes a model for developmental psychopathology that is informed by recent research suggestive of a single model of mental health disorder (the p factor) and seeks to integrate the role of the wider social and cultural environment into our model, which has previously been more narrowly focused on the role of the immediate caregiving context. Informed by recently emerging thinking on the social and culturally driven nature of human cognitive development, the ways in which humans are primed to learn and communicate culture, and a mentalizing perspective on the highly intersubjective nature of our capacity for affect regulation and social functioning, we set out a cultural-developmental approach to psychopathology.
... In the context of our study, the term power is understood as 'behavioural social power', which is the ability of person A to get person B to do something that B would not otherwise do (Dahl, 1957). Rucker and Galinsky (2017) provide a more complex definition, describing its application as optional and its existence as independent of a successful exertion. According to Dahl (1957) leading to an absolute (100%) compliance with his will (indicator: amount of power). ...
Thesis
Feeding the world sustainably is one of today’s greatest challenges. The urgency to produce more food from a dwindling resource base calls for a sustainable intensification of agricultural production. Globally, 83% of all farm systems are smallholder farms, whose productivity could increase through the adoption of improved agricultural technologies and techniques. However, smallholders are diverse in their features, constraints and opportunities and so are their possible pathways for sustainable intensification. These pathways are made up of sequential decisions for change. Decisions in smallholder farm systems, e.g. on land and labour allocation, are often a matter of negotiation since resources are shared at household level. Therefore, when aiming to understand, anticipate or evaluate resource allocation decisions of smallholders, information is needed on individual interests and household-level decision-making dynamics. In this thesis, I address the question of how inter- and intra-household differences in Northern Ghana shape smallholder farm decisions. Chapter 1 outlines the problem statement, the specific research questions as well as the research context. In Chapter 2, I characterize local farm systems diversity to determine farm type specific constraints and opportunities for agricultural innovation. I do so, by using the multivariate statistical techniques of principle component analysis and cluster analysis using farm household data (n=80). I determined six farm types, stratified according to household, labour, land use, livestock and income variables: two types of high resource endowment (HRE), two types of medium resource endowment (MRE) and two types of low resource endowment (LRE). The HRE types were oriented towards non-farm activities or crop sales, the MRE types derived their income mainly from on-farm activities and the LRE types were generally oriented towards subsistence. Each farm type was associated to different constraints and opportunities, ranging from composting and better post-harvest storage (LRE), the procurement of donkeys for transportation and tillage (MRE) to better cattle manure management and crop diversification (HRE). Chapter 3 compares the etic, statistical typology of Chapter 2 to an emic, participatory typology. The latter resulted into a classification of farmers rather than farms i.e. grouping household or community member types (household heads, wives, sons, landless) rather than entire households. The joint application of statistical and participatory approaches provided different but complementary perspectives, allowing a multi-dimensional analysis of farm and farmer diversity. Chapter 4 operationalizes the insights into the local horizontal (farm) and vertical (farmer) diversity for a nuanced impact assessment of five project-proposed technology packages. I assessed the performance of the technology packages per farm type (LRE, MRE and HRE) and per region (Northern Region, Upper East Region and Upper West Region of Ghana). For the performance assessment I used the whole-farm model FarmDESIGN as well as a weighted scoring technique to systematically capture farmer evaluations. I then compared model results with farmer realities and found that women were more positive about the packages than men, since men heavily penalized extra costs and labour, translating into a greater congruence of model results with the male evaluation. LRE farms were projected to benefit most in relative and least in absolute terms from an adoption of the packages. I also explored alternative farm designs and found that the most promising configurations were hard to attain due to high cost and labour requirements for their implementation. Based on the encountered intra-household differences during the technology evaluation, I decided to take a deeper look at decision-making dynamics in local farm households. Chapter 5 hence examines intra-household dynamics and trade-offs in land allocation decisions of smallholder farmers, by applying concepts of economics, socio-psychology and physics. I revealed conflicting interests and a mismatch between ‘ascribed power’ and ‘exerted power’ suggesting that social power may be deployed, overruled or withheld. Power may be withheld if investments and risks, associated with a negotiation, outweigh the expected utility. Individual and household-level utilities furthermore exposed the social unacceptability of many technically promising land allocation options. I conclude that technical options should be evaluated ex-ante for their likelihood of acceptance and social implications to ensure their basic viability and sustainability. In Chapter 6, I report on methods and findings of a serious game that simulated an actual household-level negotiation between the male household head, a wife and the eldest son of a hypothetical local farm household. I used social network analysis to quantify interactions during the negotiation. While the household head was the key decision maker acting as a strategic gatekeeper in a funnel-like process, the wife and the son also had a significant influence on the household-level negotiation outcome. Model-based analysis showed that the household-level outcome was more profitable as well as agro-biologically and nutritionally more diverse and productive as compared to the household heads’ suggestion. In line with my hypothesis in Chapter 5, power was observed to be actively deployed, withheld or passively overruled depending on the decision domain and process dynamics. I observed an integrative negotiation style, resulting into high levels of satisfaction with the negotiation process and outcome by all parties, who unanimously reported a high level of similarity between simulated and real-life negotiations. Chapter 7 briefly responds to each research question and elaborates on the comprehensive insights of this thesis, including overall lessons learnt on intra-household decision-making dynamics and a matrix of local farm and farmer characteristics. I discuss the transferability of my methods and findings as well as their contribution to the debate on women empowerment in agriculture. I furthermore reflect on agricultural systems research at the interface between linear and complex systems thinking. I conclude that, in order to effectively support local smallholder farmers, R4D projects are well advised to assess possibly competing interests around any proposed change. Pathways for sustainable intensification are made up of sequential decisions for change, spanning over different decision domains that are administered by different household or community members. A systematic overview of local farm and farmer characteristics as well as participatory inquiries help to understand possible decision-making dynamics, providing a solid basis to formulate or adjust a projects’ theory of change and theory of scaling. Finally, it will be the sum of local changes and their synergetic effects that will add up to the global change that is required to sustainably feed the world.
... Kekuatan sosial yang dimiliki individu salah satunya dapat ditimbulkan oleh status sosial (Rucker & Galinsky, 2017). Status sosial merupakan kombinasi dari sumber daya dan peringkat, yaitu keadaan di mana individu dibedakan berdasarkan kekayaan, pendidikan, pekerjaan, atau hierarkinya dalam masyarakat (Piff, Kraus, Côté, Cheng, & Keltner, 2010;Kraus, Piff, & Keltner, 2009). ...
... Power refers to the asymmetrical control of valuable resources in social relationships (Magee and Galinsky, 2008;Rucker and Galinsky, 2017). Power acquisition is reflected by an individual's position in an organizational hierarchy (i.e., rank) and role in the group (i.e., leader role) among others (Galinsky et al., 2015). ...
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Drawing upon a developmental perspective, we investigated the differences in power acquisition (i.e., rank at work and leader role occupancy in university) between only and non-only children as well as the mediating role of cooperative and competitive orientations and the moderating role of dependency on parents. To test our hypotheses, we conducted two field studies in 155 part-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) students (Study 1) and 375 senior students (Study 2). Results showed that: (1) non-only children were more likely to achieve higher rank at work than only children; (2) only children were less likely than non-only children to acquire power in organizations because they scored lower in cooperative orientation; however, the mediating effect of competitive orientation was not significant; (3) the difference in cooperative orientation between only and non-only children was smaller when dependency on parents was high, whereas it became larger when dependency on parents was low. Our research contributes to the understanding of how family structure influences individual power acquisition.
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Separate literatures exist on social power, status, and hierarchy on the one hand, and the self on the other, but important points of intersection have emerged over the past several decades. This paper reviews recent developments at the interface between social power (and related constructs) and the self. These developments orbit around two broad questions. First, how does social power influence self-expression (e.g. does power enhance or diminish subjective feelings of authenticity)? And second, does social power shift one's orientation toward the self or toward others (e.g. does power lead people to construe the self in more independent or interdependent terms)? I conclude by suggesting possible future directions on the link between social power and self-related processes and phenomena.
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This review provides an introduction to the relationship between consumers' social rank and their behavior as actors and observers. As actors, people's experience of occupying a position of lower or higher social rank-whether actual or imagined-influences consumer behavior outcomes such as gift giving and luxury consumption. As observers, people exhibit both positive and negative responses to others' signals of social rank. Finally, research opportunities related to power versus status hierarchies, how observers categorize luxury consumption, and observers' ability to correctly assess an actor's social rank are discussed. In total, this review provides a primer on past, present, and future research on the role of social rank in consumer behavior.
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From social media to courts of law, recordings of interracial police officer-civilian interactions are now widespread and publicly available. People may be motivated to preferentially understand the dynamics of these interactions when they perceive injustice towards those whose communities experience disproportionate policing relative to others (e.g., non-White racial/ethnic groups). To explore these questions, two studies were conducted (study 1 neuroimaging n = 69 and study 2 behavioral n = 58). The fMRI study examined White participants’ neural activity when viewing real-world videos with varying degrees of aggression or conflict of White officers arresting a Black or White civilian. Activity in brain regions supporting social cognition was greater when viewing Black (vs. White) civilians involved in more aggressive police encounters. Additionally, although an independent sample of perceivers rated videos featuring Black and White civilians as similar in overall levels of aggression when civilian race was obscured, participants in the fMRI study (where race was not obscured) rated officers as more aggressive and their use of force as less legitimate when the civilian was Black. In study 2, participants who had not viewed the videos also reported that they believe police are generally more unjustly aggressive towards Black compared with White civilians. These findings inform our understanding of how perceptions of conflict with the potential for injustice shape social cognitive engagement when viewing arrests of Black and White individuals by White police officers.
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The issue of international migration has not attracted a comprehensive global attention from media scholars, who mainly focus on migrants’ destination countries and overlook their countries of origin. We sought to obtain a broader understanding of migration news by examining news sources used by journalists in migration-related news from origin and destination countries in South Asia and the Pacific. We utilised the notion of “enterprise journalism” (Hansen 1991, “Source diversity and newspaper enterprise journalism.” Mass Communication and Journalism Quarterly 68 (3): 474–482.) to measure the relative power of sources of information and journalists to shape the news. We quantified different sources of migration news in six countries and examined the patterns of sourcing in what could be categorised as the product of both “routine” and “enterprise” journalism. Our data support the findings of many previous studies in demonstrating that official and elite political sources dominate migration news overall. However, in enterprise news content, the position of migrant sources is significantly enhanced in South Asia, which indicates a willingness of journalists from this region to present the lived experiences of migrants in global deliberations on migration issues.
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Is a powerful person more or less generous than a powerless person in terms of charitable giving request? In this work, we argue that power's effect on charitable giving depends on donation target. Across two studies, having high power decreased donation to a specific person, whereas having high power increased donation to a charitable organization. Moreover, the effect of power on donation across donation targets was mediated by the felt social distance toward the population in need. We discuss the theoretical implications for contemporary debates about power's effects and practical implications of power for designing effective donation appeals.
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Materialism has a long history in consumer research, and the volume of research continues to expand rapidly. In this article, we review extant research on materialism, with a particular focus on research in the last 10 years. We structure the review around the antecedents and consequences of materialism. We first provide a brief review of the different conceptualizations of materialism. We then discuss antecedents in terms of interpersonal influences (socialization factors—parents, peers, and media) and intrapersonal influences (psychological factors—self‐esteem, power, belongingness, and self‐concept clarity). Next, we discuss some consequences of materialism, such as well‐being, gratitude, and prosocial attitudes and behaviors. Finally, we conclude with suggestions for future research.
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The present review focuses on how power-as a perception regarding the self, the source of the message, or the message itself-affects persuasion. Contemporary findings suggest that perceived power can increase or decrease persuasion depending on the circumstances and thus might result in both short-term and long-term consequences for behavior. Given that perceptions of power can produce different, and even opposite, effects on persuasion, it might seem that any relationship is possible and thus prediction is elusive or impossible. In contrast, the present review provides a unified perspective to understand and organize the psychological literature on the relationship between perceived power and persuasion. To accomplish this objective, present review identifies distinct mechanisms by which perceptions of power can influence persuasion and discusses when these mechanisms are likely to operate. In doing so, this article provides a structured approach for studying power and persuasion via antecedents, consequences, underlying psychological processes, and moderators. Finally, the article also discusses how power can affect evaluative judgments more broadly.
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The current investigation explores how power and stability within a social hierarchy interact to affect risk taking. Building on a diverse, interdisciplinary body of research, including work on non-human primates, intergroup status, and childhood social hierarchies, we predicted that the unstable powerful and the stable powerless will be more risk taking than the stable powerful and unstable powerless. Across four studies, the unstable powerful and the stable powerless preferred probabilistic over certain outcomes and engaged in more risky behaviors in an organizational decision-making scenario, a blackjack game, and a balloon-pumping task than did the the stable powerful and the unstable powerless. These effects appeared to be the result of the increased stress that accompanied states of unstable power and stable powerlessness: these states produced more physiological arousal, a direct manipulation of stress led to greater risk taking, and stress tolerance moderated the interaction between power and stability on risk taking. These results have important implications for the way social scientists conceptualize the psychology of power and offer a theoretical framework for understanding factors that lead to risk taking in organizations.
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Basic principles of social power all follow from power as control over valued resources. To analyze power we must define it. Definitions of power as influence define power by its effect. Others have defined power as potential influence. Others have dropped influence from the definition of power altogether and have homed in on power as resource or outcome control. We define power as relative control over another's valued outcomes. Bases of power are discussed. Much informal debate in the field contests whether power and status, often used interchangeably, are in fact distinct constructs. In our view, both are distinct structural positions. Demographic and personality antecedents of power are described. Actual power and perceived power are compared. Relative control over valued resources--our definition of power--creates for powerholders a tension between independence from others and responsibility for others. We argue that the person, the position, and the situation combine to predict social power's effects for harmful or beneficial behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Social class is shaped by an individual's material resources as well as perceptions of rank vis-à-vis others in society, and in this article, we examine how class influences behavior. Diminished resources and lower rank create contexts that constrain social outcomes for lower-class individuals and enhance contextualist tendencies--that is, a focus on external, uncontrollable social forces and other individuals who influence one's life outcomes. In contrast, abundant resources and elevated rank create contexts that enhance the personal freedoms of upper-class individuals and give rise to solipsistic social cognitive tendencies--that is, an individualistic focus on one's own internal states, goals, motivations, and emotions. Guided by this framework, we detail 9 hypotheses and relevant empirical evidence concerning how class-based contextualist and solipsistic tendencies shape the self, perceptions of the social environment, and relationships to other individuals. Novel predictions and implications for research in other socio-political contexts are considered.
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Dozens of studies in different nations have revealed that socioeconomic status only weakly predicts an individual's subjective well-being (SWB). These results imply that although the pursuit of social status is a fundamental human motivation, achieving high status has little impact on one's SWB. However, we propose that sociometric status-the respect and admiration one has in face-to-face groups (e.g., among friends or coworkers)-has a stronger effect on SWB than does socioeconomic status. Using correlational, experimental, and longitudinal methodologies, four studies found consistent evidence for a local-ladder effect: Sociometric status significantly predicted satisfaction with life and the experience of positive and negative emotions. Longitudinally, as sociometric status rose or fell, SWB rose or fell accordingly. Furthermore, these effects were driven by feelings of power and social acceptance. Overall, individuals' sociometric status matters more to their SWB than does their socioeconomic status.
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The present article examines effects of power on basic cognition. It proposes that power bolsters the ability to attend to information selectively; enhancing the processing of information that is related to accessible constructs in detriment of peripheral, less accessible information. In contrast, powerlessness increases attunement to peripheral information, inducing greater distractibility and less attentional flexibility. Experiment 1 focuses on attention to an object and its context. Experiment 2 examines attentional focus and readiness to act. Experiment 3 examines attention to global vs. local aspects of a focal target. Powerful individuals, relative to powerless individuals, showed greater ability to inhibit peripheral information, and greater ability to focus attention in line with the demands of the task. Furthermore, inhibiting peripheral information facilitated action. The consequences of these findings for different domains are discussed.
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Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals' unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.
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Lower social class (or socioeconomic status) is associated with fewer resources, greater exposure to threat, and a reduced sense of personal control. Given these life circumstances, one might expect lower class individuals to engage in less prosocial behavior, prioritizing self-interest over the welfare of others. The authors hypothesized, by contrast, that lower class individuals orient to the welfare of others as a means to adapt to their more hostile environments and that this orientation gives rise to greater prosocial behavior. Across 4 studies, lower class individuals proved to be more generous (Study 1), charitable (Study 2), trusting (Study 3), and helpful (Study 4) compared with their upper class counterparts. Mediator and moderator data showed that lower class individuals acted in a more prosocial fashion because of a greater commitment to egalitarian values and feelings of compassion. Implications for social class, prosocial behavior, and economic inequality are discussed.
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Lower social class is associated with diminished resources and perceived subordinate rank. On the basis of this analysis, the authors predicted that social class would be closely associated with a reduced sense of personal control and that this association would explain why lower class individuals favor contextual over dispositional explanations of social events. Across 4 studies, lower social class individuals, as measured by subjective socioeconomic status (SES), endorsed contextual explanations of economic trends, broad social outcomes, and emotion. Across studies, the sense of control mediated the relation between subjective SES and contextual explanations, and this association was independent of objective SES, ethnicity, political ideology, and self-serving biases. Finally, experimentally inducing a higher sense of control attenuated the tendency for lower subjective SES individuals to make more contextual explanations (Study 4). Implications for future research on social class as well as theoretical distinctions between objective SES and subjective SES are discussed.
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The current research explores how roles that possess power but lack status influence behavior toward others. Past research has primarily examined the isolated effects of having either power or status, but we propose that power and status interact to affect interpersonal behavior. Based on the notions that a) low-status is threatening and aversive and b) power frees people to act on their internal states and feelings, we hypothesized that power without status fosters demeaning behaviors toward others. To test this idea, we orthogonally manipulated both power and status and gave participants the chance to select activities for their partners to perform. As predicted, individuals in high-power/low-status roles chose more demeaning activities for their partners (e.g., bark like a dog, say “I am filthy”) than did those in any other combination of power and status roles. We discuss how these results clarify, challenge, and advance the existing power and status literatures.
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Accession Number: 2012-17735-007. First Author & Affiliation: Rucker, Derek D.; Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, US. Other Publishers: Lawrence Erlbaum. Release Date: 20120903. Publication Type: Journal, (0100); Peer Reviewed Journal, (0110); . Media Covered: Electronic. Document Type: Journal Article. Language: English. Major Descriptor: Consumer Attitudes; Consumer Behavior; Interpersonal Control. Minor Descriptor: Cognition. Classification: Consumer Attitudes & Behavior (3920) . Population: Human (10); Male (30); Female (40); . Age Group: Adulthood (18 yrs & older) (300) . Methodology: Empirical Study; Experimental Replication; Quantitative Study. References Available: Y.. Page Count: 17.. Issue Publication Date: Jul, 2012. Publication History: First Posted Date: Jul 2, 2011; Accepted Date: Jun 8, 2011; Revised Date: Jun 4, 2011; First Submitted Date: Feb 17, 2011. Copyright: Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.. Society for Consumer Psychol
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The psychological literature indicates that people prefer to choose for themselves, but this finding largely represents a middle-class American perspective. The three studies reported here test the hypothesis that, given the material and social demands of working-class contexts, a concern for others can be normative and take precedence over individual choice. Study 1 found that, compared to middle-class participants, working-class participants, who reported fewer choices at work, more often accepted a gift from an experimenter than asked to choose for themselves. In Study 2, working-class participants' descriptions of choice included fewer associations with freedom and more associations with negative affect and difficulty than middle-class participants. Finally, Study 3 found that, reflecting greater negative affect toward choice, working-class observers preferred a shirt that a confederate accepted from someone else, rather than chose for herself. Together, these studies reveal that focusing on and attending to others is often normative in working-class contexts.
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The literature on social class disparities in health and education contains 2 underlying, yet often opposed, models of behavior: the individual model and the structural model. These models refer to largely unacknowledged assumptions about the sources of human behavior that are foundational to research and interventions. Our review and theoretical integration proposes that, in contrast to how the 2 models are typically represented, they are not opposed, but instead they are complementary sets of understandings that inform and extend each other. Further, we elaborate the theoretical rationale and predictions for a third model: the sociocultural self model of behavior. This model incorporates and extends key tenets of the individual and structural models. First, the sociocultural self model conceptualizes individual characteristics (e.g., skills) and structural conditions (e.g., access to resources) as interdependent forces that mutually constitute each other and that are best understood together. Second, the sociocultural self model recognizes that both individual characteristics and structural conditions indirectly influence behavior through the selves that emerge in the situation. These selves are malleable psychological states that are a product of the ongoing mutual constitution of individuals and structures and serve to guide people's behavior by systematically shaping how people construe situations. The theoretical foundation of the sociocultural self model lays the groundwork for a more complete understanding of behavior and provides new tools for developing interventions that will reduce social class disparities in health and education. The model predicts that intervention efforts will be more effective at producing sustained behavior change when (a) current selves are congruent, rather than incongruent, with the desired behavior and (b) individual characteristics and structural conditions provide ongoing support for the selves that are necessary to support the desired behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
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Across four experiments, we test the idea that power decreases metastereotyping, and that this effect is mediated by reduced perspective taking. Metastereotypes refer to the beliefs that members of group A share about the stereotypes that members of specific outgroup B typically have about ingroup A. We propose that the dominant psychological orientation of the powerless is aimed at seeing how others see them. In an intergroup situation they are therefore inclined to activate and apply metastereotypes. In the first three experiments we consistently find that low power leads to more metastereotyping than high power and control (in Experiment 3). Specifically, we show this effect with three different manipulations of power, namely a role manipulation (Experiment 1), experiential priming (Experiment 2), and parafoveal priming (Experiment 3). In the fourth experiment we uncover the mediating role of perspective taking. Together these findings provide strong evidence that powerlessness leads to metastereotyping.
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What is “power”? Most people have an intuitive notion of what it means. But scientists have not yet formulated a statement of the concept of power that is rigorous enough to be of use in the systematic study of this important social phenomenon. Power is here defined in terms of a relation between people, and is expressed in simple symbolic notation. From this definition is developed a statement of power comparability, or the relative degree of power held by two or more persons. With these concepts it is possible for example, to rank members of the United States Senate according to their “power” over legislation on foreign policy and on tax and fiscal policy.
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In five studies, we explored whether power increases moral hypocrisy (i.e., imposing strict moral standards on other people but practicing less strict moral behavior oneself). In Experiment 1, compared with the powerless, the powerful condemned other people's cheating more, but also cheated more themselves. In Experiments 2 through 4, the powerful were more strict in judging other people's moral transgressions than in judging their own transgressions. A final study found that the effect of power on moral hypocrisy depends on the legitimacy of the power: When power was illegitimate, the moral-hypocrisy effect was reversed, with the illegitimately powerful becoming stricter in judging their own behavior than in judging other people's behavior. This pattern, which might be dubbed hypercrisy, was also found among low-power participants in Experiments 3 and 4. We discuss how patterns of hypocrisy and hypercrisy among the powerful and powerless can help perpetuate social inequality.