Communal and Agentic Interpersonal and Intergroup Motives Predict Preferences for Status Versus Power
Author(s): Kenneth D. Locke, Sonja Heller
Abstract: Seven studies involving 1,343 participants showed how circumplex models of social motives can help explain individual differences in preferences for status (having others’ admiration) versus power (controlling valuable resources). Studies 1 to 3 and 7 concerned interpersonal motives in workplace contexts, and found that stronger communal motives (to have mutual trust, support, and cooperation) predicted being more attracted to status (but not power) and achieving more workplace status, while stronger agentic motives (to be firm, decisive, and influential) predicted being more attracted to and achieving more workplace power, and experiencing a stronger connection between workplace power and job satisfaction. Studies 4 to 6 found similar effects for intergroup motives: Stronger communal motives predicted wanting one’s ingroup (e.g., country) to have status—but not power—relative to other groups. Finally, most people preferred status over power, and this was especially true for women, which was partially explained by women having stronger communal motives.
Publication Title: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 43(1)
Pub Year: 2017
Pages: 71 – 86
Keywords: power, status, agency, communion, social motives

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