Whether power holders construe their power as responsibility or opportunity influences their tendency to take advice from others
Author(s): Frank R.C. De Wit, Daan Scheepers, Naomi Ellemers, Kai Sassenberg, Annika Scholl,
Abstract: Empirical evidence suggests that power elicits a generic tendency to disregard advice. We examined different responses power holders may show in their tendency to take advice depending on the construal of power. We report a field study and an experiment among managers and other powerful professionals (Studies 1 and 2) and an experiment in which participants were assigned to a powerful role (Study 3). Across studies, we found a higher tendency to take advice among those who construed their power as a responsibility rather than as an opportunity. This effect of the construal of power on advice taking was mediated by a heightened perceived value of advice, not by decreased confidence in own judgments or sense of power. Accordingly, the increase in advice taking when power was construed as a responsibility was observed regardless of whether the advice came from subordinates (Study 1), expert advisors (Study 2), or a less powerful teammate (Study 3). This highlights the relevance of considering how power holders construe their power in order to understand their tendency to take advice from others.
Publication Title: Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 38(7)
Pub Year: 2017
Pages: 923 – 949
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.2171
Keywords: power

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