Impact Parity Model
Which do you think is more feasible?
Which do you think is more likely?
Positions of power attract power-hungry personality types. Many if not most are psychopaths or sociopaths. Except for a few rare cases, power corrupts leaders into abusing their authority, to serve their own personal ends at others' expense.
Our social structures privilege those with more resources to dictate terms to their advantage. Our culture normalizes power imbalances as earned from the merit of amassing more resources than others. We encourage those in power to assume that silence equals acceptance of their implicit or even explicit pressure to dictate terms.
A power relation exists when one side holds more influence on the other. It may be called by other names.
The typical power relation is between a powerholder and a relatively powerless one. The relation can be brief, as between a banker denying a loan and the customer with mediocre or bad credit. Or it can be long term, as between an employer and employee.
While power dynamics apply to romantic and married couples, such personal power relations fall outside the scope of this impact parity model. The power (or influence) focused here stems largely from not knowing each other more personally.
The impact parity model gives a name to each side.
The powerless side is called the Reporting Impactee, or RI.
The RI is impacted by the relation more than impacting it.
"Reporting" because the RI humbly reports being negatively impacted by a power relation.
The powerholder side is called the Ascribed Impactor, or AI.
The AI impacts the relation more than impacted by it.
"Ascribed" because the AI may find they are a link in a chain of higher authorities of impactors.
IMPACTEE = You are impacted by the relationship more than you impact it.
As a Reporting Impactee,
you typically endure the coercive impact of a power relation in a fearful
When the pain gets too much, you likely shift to a pain-relieving
Peace resumes when resolving each other's needs in our
IMPACTOR = You impact the relationship more than you are impacted by it.
As an Ascribed Impactor,
you likely steer clear of uncomfortable details of those you impact in this
When they eventually react, you guard yourself from further pain in this
Peace resumes when resolving each other's needs in our
Initially, avoidance typically options prevail. Few impactees dare rock the boat. A little unfairness can be tolerated.
The impactor can easily get the impression their influence is only positive.
Thinks to self: "I cannot risk losing what I have, so I best keep quiet."
Thinks to self: "I hear no complaints, so I must be doing alright."
As imbalance grows more painful, the impactee often reaches a breaking point. They resist further compromise. Which often takes the complacent impactor by surprise. Who understandably gets defensive.
Thinks to self: "I can't take this anymore! I must relieve this pain by challenging this unfairness any way possible."
Thinks to self: "I don't know where this is coming from. Likely a personal problem taken out on me for being successful."
Alternatively, the impact parity model encourages the impactee to speak truth to power of their impacted needs. The IPM enables the ascribed impactor to listen to those impacted without accepting fault.
Proactively asserts to all: "I need to
speak truth to power.
Even if risking loss of this relation and all that comes with it. I am passionately committed to resolving these needs."
Proactively asserts to all: "I need to
listen to those impacted.
Even if I have no direct bearing over the impacted needs. I am honored with this opportunity to competitively resolve needs."
In contrast to other services, the IPM aims for mutual support for resolving each other’s affected needs. Then to apply what they learned to others similarly situated. All the while drawing diverse resources toward resolving more and more needs.
SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER
LISTEN TO THOSE IMPACTED
for POLITICAL POWER RELATIONS
JUDICIAL POWER RELATIONS
for ELDERCARE POWER RELATIONS
“What’s the point of voting? Elections are rigged by political elites.”
“It’s time to take it to the streets! It’s time to spark a revolution!”
“So it’s an orientation. We must speak the truth of our diversely oriented priority of needs.”
“I must respect my big donors’ expectations to have a chance at winning.”
“I must convince my constituents they are better off with me than with my opponent.”
“Oh, I need to listen to their contrasting priority of needs to be competitively responsive.”
“I’ve exhausted all options to prove my innocence. What’s the point?”
“Since I can’t get a job, I might have to become the criminal they think I am.”
“We must speak the truth of adversarial justice’s conflict of interest against our innocence.”
“We can process only so many claims and must prioritize those the court will hear.”
“We must change the laws granting prosecutors more discretion than trial judges.”
“I need to listen to innocence claims challenging the court’s apparent conflict of interest.”
“I keep telling them what’s wrong, but they ignore me as if it’s just old age.”
“I should transfer to another facility, but what if it’s worse than this one?”
“We must speak the truth of how slow institutional responsiveness spurs our decline.”
“We must keep to the plan to avoid liability issues, and trust families to attend to the softer needs.”
“We can always refer complaints to our legal department, so I can get back to my job.”
“I need to listen to senior complaints to improve my responsiveness to their underserved needs.”
We counter these power imbalances with our impact parity model
You suffer in fear
You are likely coaxed into avoiding conflict with those more resourced than you. You tolerated the initial anxiety, but now it's growing unbearably intense.
You react in anger
As your mounting pain of unmet needs grows unbearable, you feel increasingly angry. Before you risk exploding in rage, you release your irritation in subtle ways.
Your pain removed
You can cycle between fear and anger over and over again, or you can resolve the underlying needs. That removes the pain since pain only exists to report unmet needs.
The more politicized a need, the less likely it will be met. The less resolved, the more politicization for relief.
suffer in fear of politization
react politically in anger, assume opposing sides
pain from politicization removed when resolving politicized needs
As state violence constrains personal violence, unmet needs cycle into more violence. Who is held accountable?
suffer in fear of violence
react judicially in anger, assume opposing sides
pain from endured violence removed when resolving justice needs
As a senior ages, the more complex their needs. But as fewer get fully resolved, they rapidly decline.
suffer in fear of aging
react in anger with complaints, but repeatedly ignored
pain of aging reduced when resolving specific aging needs
Applied to our psychosociotherapeutic process
In a three-phase process, we shift negative impacts of power relations to become positive ones. Together, we turn arbitrary imbalance into organic cooperation for supporting each other's impacted needs.
You text me to learn about the tool. We decide if it's right for you to contact your AI.
We discuss your options by video link. You feel empowered to speak your truth to AI's power.
You join the responsive AI. Together, we address each other's impacted needs.
You text me to learn about the tool. We decide if it's right for you to follow the need-committed RI.
We discuss your options by video link. You see value in listening to RI impacted needs.
You join the conciliatory RI. Together, we address each other's impacted needs.
We provide a series of free interactive tools to make it easier for both sides to focus more on resolving needs.
What’s it worth to you?
Parity also applies to the list price per sessions. We expect RI clients will rarely pay as much as our AI clients.
It may not seem fair to charge the RI the same amount as the AI. Their capacity to pay is arguably diminished from how power relations hinder compensation for their full, untapped value.
Some AI clients may seek such hidden talent. And roll back any barriers they themselves may be complicit in propping up. So we offer a billing option that can help correct for how power relations often distort income.
Indeed, not all is as equal as it seems. Although the RI and AI get charged the same amount per session, each contributes according to their relative advantage.
The RI contributes from the value of being a nimble need-resolver. The AI contributes from relatively greater financial resources. The RI increasingly steps up to resolve needs. The AI increasingly covers more of the cost per sessions.
If paying out of pocket for our unstructured option, the Reporting Impactee is charged up to $400 per group advocacy sessions.
If paying out of pocket for our unstructured option, the Ascribed Impactor pays up to $400 per session without RI engagement.
But I can't afford that kind of money.
Then our structured psychosociotherapeutic process is geared for your need for financial resources to resolve needs, from investors not allowed to “buy” you off.
1. Request a discount.
Present your passion to resolve impacted needs with our conciliatory process. We offer you a discount as our investment in your need-resolving potential.
2. Attract some investment.
Our investment “primes the pump” for others to recognize your need-resolving passion. More and more start investing in you to cover early costs.
3. Reimburse us first.
As investments pour in using our Inspiring Purpose tool, we are first reimbursed from among your earliest support investors.
3. Reimburse us first.
As investments pour in using our Inspiring Purpose tool, we are first reimbursed from among your earliest support investors.
But I'd invest if given opportunity.
Then our structured psychosociotherapeutic process is geared for your need to invest in RI’s value to you, before they break ties and run with a higher bidder.
1. Bid on opportunity.
After receiving notification of conciliatory options, you compete with other potential sponsors to invest in a passionate need-resolver. They are encouraged to reject offers with conditions limiting resolution of the power-impacted need.
2. Invest in a solution.
You help cover the costs of an emerging need-resolver, who you see as passionate and congenial to resolve an underserved need that you impact.
3. Return on investment.
We publicize your contribution to help resolve the power-impacted need. We boost your branding. You get first dibs to hire this amazing need-resolver.
"No" is no option
When invited to participate in our psychosociotherapeutice process, the AI has several options. For starters, they can agree to receive our notifications. At no cost. And they can agree to engage us in a mutually productive dialogue. Also at no cost to them.
Yes, we will ask them to contribute financially upon the agreed upon goal, set by the RI client. The goal includes some value to them. AI input is invited, but the RI has final say.
Caveat: Opting out of any financial arrangements risks the RI resorting to their adversarial rights. They must resolve their power-impacted need, and may run through their adversarial options to get there.
Like Damocles sword, the RI's list of adversarial options constantly hangs over the head of the unresponsive AI. This is anankelogically proper. Power relations hang such a sword over the vulnerable all the time.
"With great power comes great danger," or "to whom much is given, much is required." And "Not many of us should becomes teachers" because they bear greater responsibility. In short, power is expensive.
Even the RI's avoidance options can turn costly. The longer others keep the Ri's power-impacted need from resolving, the more at risk of sliding deeper into depression. Presenteeism turns to absenteeism. Then to health complications. Potentially premature death.
The AI may not realize the incurred costs. Especially when incentivized to not know. They may be too busy enjoying benefits for which they do not opaquely pay. The IPM addresses this free-rider problem inherent in power relations.
We created the Exaction Invoice to make these less visible opportunity costs more visible. Someone must pay. Indeed, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Once the RI demonstrates actual costs suffered from a power relation, and we invite the AI to respond, "no" is not an option free of consequence.
Isn't that extortion?
Not at all!
Power tends to coerce the powerless RI into silence. Many suffer needlessly right now out of fear of being accused of extortion. What may appear at first as extortion actually counters what we call structural exaction.
That is where power "exacts" value from the powerless in ways that cannot be traced back to any individual. The forced giving of value is structural. As I have declared to the RI before, "It's not extortion if you’re already being extorted."
If we offer you the AI the opportunity to create mutual value, the RI suspends their adversarial options. If you the AI insist on charging us with extortion, all kinds of negative consequences may soon follow. If you react by charging us with extortion, be warned:
It fails to fit the legal definition for extortion.
It further coerces the vulnerable to suffer silently.
It crashes your legitimacy.
It squanders opportunity for competitive need response.
2) property damage,
3) harm to reputation, or
4) unfavorable government action.
Does that really apply here? Or is there a kind of privileged extortion—the AI gaining excess value from the RI by “legitimized” force—that the RI now resists?
Power relations include a number of features absent in the crime of extortion.
There is already a working relationship between the parties.
The working relationship involves a power imbalance.
There is already a level of coercion in the other direction.
The “demand” is for conciliatory resolution of needs impacted on both sides.
Actual extortion includes none of these.
Merely suggesting to charge extortion risks silencing the vulnerable into debilitating silence. It is itself a threat. The AI accuser can then continue exacting value against the RI’s inflexible needs.
The vulnerable RI rightly fears how the AI can typically afford to hire attorneys to optimize the law to their exploitive advantage. Even if untrue, the likelihood can pressure the RI to slide deeper into depression, debilitating anxiety, or worse. All to benefit the AI at the RI’s expense.
If you are identified as an AI and receive invitation to this conciliatory process, pause. Reflect. See it more as opportunity than challenge. Make the time. If tempted to accuse the RI of extortion, that opportunity may quickly vanish. So heed our simple warning: Don’t!
Life is busy, we know. We afford each AI opportunity for a prompt acknowledgment of our invitation, and a reasonable amount of time for a careful reply. We link our legitimacy to how responsive we are to your needs. We regard your legitimacy no less.
The IMP offers to replace adversarial options, like lawsuits, with a preferable conciliatory alternative. To conflate this with extortion risks shutting down meaningful dialogue.
Once you accuse the RI or us of extortion, the RI is no longer bound to suspend their adversarial options. Your adversarial reaction triggers their adversarial options. They likely will protect themselves by shifting rapidly back to their queued list of adversarial options.
This includes impeaching your legitimacy. You may be denied any further impact on their needs, or upon others similarly situated. There can be no hiding behind biased interpretations of the law. Laws exist to serve needs. If serving your own or institution’s needs at the expense of the vulnerable, its legitimacy falls into question. While no one sits above the law, no law sits above the needs it exists to serve.
We prioritize resolving needs on all sides, thereby fulfilling the purpose of law. Any attempt to subvert this priority—even in the name of the law—warrants civil disobedience, for starters. We link legitimacy to empirically based findings of how authority impacts needs.
Power relations tend to prevent full resolution of needs on both sides. The IPM empower both sides to turn this obstacle into a mutually beneficial opportunity. If for whatever reason the AI cannot join this effort, we invite others who can.
The IPM creates opportunity to resolve needs hindered by power relations. Once the RI demonstrates the capacity to resolve such needs, anyone can bid on investing in that effort. Except anyone accusing us of extortion. They expose themselves as part of a larger problem. Others can step in using our tools to address such problems.
Anakelogical critique of "power"
Anankelogy provides tools for critiquing problems. It recognizes problems stem from three layers of our interconnected lives. The impact parity model addresses the often overlooked structural level.
Anakelogic low critique (ALC): Ascribes problems as the fault of others of similar social status. ALC can also be directed inward, as when you fault yourself for poor decisions. An argument pitted between a conservative and liberal is a form of ALC. So is the typical criminal case, pitted between an accused and accuser of relatively equal social status.
Anakelogic mid critique (AMC): Ascribes problems as the fault of those with more control over resources, such as elites. Populism is a form of AMC. The way Jesus lambasted the religious leaders of his day (Matt. 23) serves as an AMC model for speaking truth to power. Whistleblowers calling out senior officials for wrongdoing is also a type of AMC. The way Bernie Sanders tolerated an interruption from Black Lives Matter activists gives an example of listening to those impacted.
Anakelogic high critique (AHC): Ascribes problems as the fault of systemic norms such as social structures, or what Émile Durkheim called social facts. These exist beyond individual control. Anankelogically speaking, the social norms we trust to ease our pain, often as opposing categories, devolve easily into problems when hindering the resolution of underlying needs. When arrested by a police officer, for example, an AHC looks at how the convenient category of violator, and all those bound to it by generalizing norms, overlooks the nuance contributing to the situation. Jesus employs an AHC during his Sermon on the Mount, when saying "You have heard it said" such and such, "But I say" to go even higher.
Might you be part of an AHC?
If you the AI cannot personally resolve the RI identified need, because you are tied by a chain of authorities, we say the problem is structural. We then shift from an AMC to a AHC (anankelogic high critique). We invite you to join us in transforming social structures, to enable more resolution of needs.
The more such structures hinder RIs from resolving their needs, the more likely they also limit the full resolution of AI needs. The more the AMC gets applied to such structural situations, the less meaningful change can occur.
If ascribed an impactor, you know your decisions are constrained by other authorities. You can only do so much for the impactee when you must answer to those above you, or beside you, or even below you. Anankelogy recognizes each of these links in your social chain of command.
You cannot make solitary decisions without consulting those with some authority over you.
You cannot make solitary decisions without consulting others of shared authority.
You cannot make solitary decisions without consulting those under your authority.
Even if you cannot personally make a call to resolve the RI’s need, you can do something of often greater value. You can listen to the RI. You don’t even have to agree you have any role in the reported need.
Two amazing things happen when you stop long enough to listen to those impacted.
1. They receive affirmation for their frustrated need. Perhaps for the very first time. Simply hearing themselves put it into words can lift a ton of emotional weight. As you normalize their need, even if you cannot do much about it, you humanize what otherwise seemed to them painfully impersonal.
2. You receive valuable information about an underserved need. They likely share the need with others. Look at it as opportunity to address others of similar situation. Even if you can only offer a referral for someone more equipped to address the need, you grow your social capital.
If you fail to embrace this opportunity to listen to those impacted, you risk being labeled as "complicit with structural dysfunction." Others with your level of resources may step in to address the need.
Now we enter a realm of competitive need resolving. Others may cite norms or quote laws to pacify complaining impactees. You miss a leadership opportunity if you fail to address the unresolved needs behind their pain.
Most norms or laws provide for minimal harm reduction, not for resolving power-impacted needs. When confronted by the pain your impact can provoke, you can do more than shift pain with impersonal norms.
The IPM goes well beyond the pain-shifting measures of divisive politics and adversarial justice. It raises the bar by holding everyone accountable for both their own needs and their impacts on the needs of others. Wellness is psychosocial.
Lateral versus vertical critique
Anankelogy also contrasts a "lateral critique" from a "vertical critique."
A lateral critique compares two or more options of relatively equal value. If being righthanded or lefhanded is better, for example. Or if introversion or extroversion is better. Or if leaning politically left or right is best.
A vertical critique contrasts two or more options of sharply different value. If first aid for repeated injuries is enough, for example, or installing safeguards against injury. If first aid for repeated injuries is enough, for example, or installing safeguards against injury. Or if extroversion is better suited for public speaking than introversion. Or if listening to specifics behind politicized needs is better than continually generalizing to ease the pain of these unmet needs.
Which need your life prioritizes right now speaks to the lateral critique. How well any need can fully resolve speaks to the vertical critique.
The IPM draws from anankelogy to distinguish between the two. What may seem as a rational choice belies our less than rational needs.
You personally may feel each side in a power relation makes rational choices. Then presume bad outcomes stem only from poor personal choices. Ignoring how available options fail to let you resolve your painful needs is itself a poor choice.
Do you even notice how popular appeals for rational thinking let you guard your vulnerabilities? You get to avoid any painful responsibility you may have toward others. If you negatively impact some need they have, the popular “rational choice narrative” lets you pound them with your “power” to deny any complicity.
Anankelogy replaces that sledgehammer approach with a surgeons' scalpel. Research into power dynamics unpacks how easy the powerful can infringe upon the relatively powerless. We can change that.
The IPM empowers us all to be more accountable for the increasing levels of anxiety, depression, substance use, domestic violence, suicide ideation, and suicides. When all personal change fails, it’s time for transformational structural change. One loving act at a time.
Love is the answer to our forgotten question
We can longer afford to indulge in the pain-easing low critique, or settle for the mid critique that neglects structural limits. The mounting human costs are skyrocketing.
We must raise the standard with love, instead of demanding another political revolution. There is no greater revolution than to revolve back to love. The IPM offers a mechanism to transcend our impersonal differences to cultivate a little more love to address our mutually affected selves.
We need the kind of meaningful change love inspires. Love that energizes us to resolve each other’s impacted needs, instead of pacifying its mounting pain. With or without this impact parity model, we need to love each other more to resolve more needs. That’s what love is for.
Power dynamics research
The academic literature in psychology addresses power relations in ways complementing this anankelogically need-responsive approach.
(as presented by researcher Amy Cuddy)
feel confident & optimistic
see opportunities, not threats
approach, not avoid
present authentic self
“Power does not corrupt, but power reveals.”
feel negative & pessimistic
see threats, not opportunities
avoid, not approach
present social façade
Powerlessness does the opposite. It puts a wall up.
In anankelogical terms, power easily enables refunctionality, while powerlessness risks defunctionality.
“I think this idea that power is related to approach is mostly a good thing. I mean we want a world full of people who feel personally powerful [in charge of their own lives]. I think it creates value for everybody.”
– Amy Cuddy
Key article: Power, approach, and inhibition.
Too long, didn't read? Dacher Keltner is one of the leading experts in this area. With his colleagues, he contrasts the powerful and powerless. They propose twelve propositions, six for the dynamics of elevated power and six for dynamics of reduced power.
attention to rewards
automatic info processing
attention to threats
controlled info processing
inhibited social behavior
Proposition 1: Elevated Power Increases the Experience and Expression of Positive Affect
Proposition 2: Reduced Power Increases the Experience and Expression of Negative Affect
Proposition 3: Elevated Power Increases the Sensitivity to Rewards
Proposition 4: Reduced Power Increases the Sensitivity to Threat and Punishment
Proposition 5: Elevated Power Increases the Tendency to Construe Others as a Means to One’s Own Ends
Proposition 6: Reduced Power Increases the Tendency to View the Self as a Means to Others’ Ends
Proposition 7: Elevated Power Increases the Automaticity of Social Cognition
Proposition 8: Reduced Power Increases Controlled Social Cognition
Proposition 9: Elevated Power Increases the Likelihood of Approach-Related Behavior
Proposition 10: Reduced Power Increases Behavioral Inhibition
Proposition 11: Elevated Power Increases the Consistency and Coherence of Social Behavior
Proposition 12: Elevated Power Increases the Likelihood of Socially Inappropriate Behavior
“Accountability—the sense that one’s actions are personally identifiable and subject to the evaluation of others—often acts as a constraint on unchecked power. Individuals in power who know they will be held accountable are more likely to consider social consequences and take others’ interests into account.” (Keltner, et al., 2003)
Here is a sampling of the academic literature easily accessible online, along with each article’s abstract.
Two studies of task-focused dyads tested the approach/inhibition theory of power (P. Keltner, D. H. Gruenfeld, & C. Anderson, in press), which posits that having power increases the tendency to approach and decreases the tendency to inhibit. Results provided preliminary support for the theory: Participants higher in personality dominance or assigned control over resources expressed their true attitudes, experienced more positive and less negative emotion, were more likely to perceive rewards (i.e., that their partner liked them), and were less likely to perceive threats (e.g., that their partner felt anger toward them). Most of these effects were mediated by the sense of power, suggesting that subjective feelings of power are an important component in the effects of power. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
The approach/inhibition theory of power proposes that elevated social power increases the experience and expression of positive emotions and that reduced social power increases the experience and expression of negative emotions (Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003). The evidence to date for these proposed relationships is correlational. Studies that have attempted to find a causal link between power and emotions have failed to do so. The current study manipulated social power in 61 three-person groups that engaged in a meaningful discussion (explanations for poverty in the US) that produced disagreements and strong emotions. High power individuals experienced and expressed more positive emotions and less anger than low power individuals did. High power individuals were also more likely than low power individuals to openly express their opinions during the group discussion. Implications for theory and future research are discussed. Copyright#2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Three experiments investigated the hypothesis that power increases an action orientation in the powerholder, even in contexts where power is not directly experienced. In Experiment 1, participants who possessed structural power in a group task were more likely to take a card in a simulated game of blackjack than those who lacked power. In Experiment 2, participants primed with high power were more likely to act against an annoying stimulus (a fan) in the environment, suggesting that the experience of power leads to the performance of goal-directed behavior. In Experiment 3, priming high power led to action in a social dilemma regardless of whether that action had prosocial or antisocial consequences. The effects of priming power are discussed in relation to the broader literature on conceptual and mind-set priming.
Socio-cognitive research has demonstrated that power affects how people feel think and act. Here, literature from social psychology, neuroscience, management, and animal research is reviewed, and an integrated framework of power as an intensifier of goal related approach motivation is proposed. A growing literature shows that power energizes thought, speech and action, and orients individuals towards seeking salient goals linked to power roles, predispositions, tasks and opportunities. Power magnifies self-expression linked to active parts of the self (the active self), enhancing confidence, self-regulation and prioritization of their efforts towards advancing focal goals. The effects of power on cognitive processes, goal preferences, performance, and corruption are discussed and its potentially detrimental effects on social attention, perspective taking, and objectification of subordinates are examined. Several inconsistencies in the literature are explained by viewing the goal directedness of power holders as more dynamic and situated than is usually assumed.
This article examines how power influences behavior. Elevated power is associated with increased rewards and freedom and thereby activates approach-related tendencies. Reduced power is associated with increased threat, punishment, and social constraint and thereby activates inhibition-related tendencies. The authors derive predictions from recent theorizing about approach and inhibition and review relevant evidence. Specifically, power is associated with (a) positive affect, (b) attention to rewards, (c) automatic information processing, and (d) disinhibited behavior. In contrast, reduced power is associated with (a) negative affect; (b) attention to threat, punishment, others’ interests, and those features of the self that are relevant to others’ goals; (c) controlled information processing; and (d) inhibited social behavior. The potential moderators and consequences of these power-related behavioral patterns are discussed.
Schaerer, Plessis, Yap, Thau (2018). Low power individuals in social power research: A quantitative review, theoretical framework, and empirical test. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 149: 73-96.
We examine the role of low-power individuals in social power research. A multi-method literature review reveals that low-power individuals may be insufficiently understood because many studies lack necessary control conditions that allow drawing inferences about low power, effects are predominantly attributed to high power, and qualitative reviews primarily focus on how high-power individuals feel, think, and behave. Challenging the assumption that low power tends to produce opposite consequences of high power, we highlight several similarities between the two states. Based on social exchange theories, we propose that unequal-power (vs. equal-power) relationships make instrumental goals, competitive attitudes, and exchange rules salient, which can cause both high- and low-power individuals to behave similarly. Two experiments suggest that although low-power individuals sometimes behave in opposite ways to high-power individuals (i.e., they take less action), at other times they behave similarly (i.e., they objectify others to the same extent). We discuss the systematic study of low-power individuals and highlight methodological implications.
According to the approach/inhibition theory of power (Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003), having power should be associated with the approach system, and lacking power with the avoidance system. However, to this point research has focused solely on whether power leads to more action, particularly approach-related action, or not. In three experiments, we extend this research by exploring the direct, unintentional relation between power and both approach and avoidance tendencies. Priming high power led to greater relative BAS strength than priming low power, but did not affect the BIS (Exp. 1). High-power priming also facilitated both simple and complex approach behavior, but did not affect avoidance behavior (Exp. 2−3). These effects of power occurred even in power-irrelevant situations. They also cannot be explained by priming of general positive versus negative constructs, nor by changes in positive, negative, approach-related, or avoidance-related affect.
Tost (2015). When, why, and how do powerholders ‘‘feel the power’’? Examining the links between structural and psychological power and reviving the connection between power and responsibility. Research in Organizational Behavior 35, 29–56.
Recent research in social psychology has examined how psychological power affects organizational behaviors. Given that power in organizations is generally viewed as a structural construct, I examine the links between structural and psychological power and explore how their interrelationships affect organizational behavior. I argue that psychological power takes two forms: the (nonconscious) cognitive network for power and the conscious sense of power. Based on this view, I identify two causal pathways that link psychological power and structural power in predicting organizational behavior. First, the sense of power is likely to induce a sense of responsibility among (but not exclusively among) structural powerholders, which in turn leads structural powerholders to be more responsive to the views and needs of others. Second, the sense of power, when brought into conscious awareness, activates a non-conscious association between power and agentic behaviors, which in turn leads structural powerholders to enact agentic behaviors. I discuss the ways in which these predictions diverge from previous theorizing, and I address methodological challenges in examining the relationship between structural and psychological power. In doing so, I suggest that certain features of the predominant methodological approaches to studying psychological power may have induced a bias in the empirical findings that obscures the crucial link between power and responsibility. ß2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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