What Is It Like To Have Power?

Photo by Alex E. Proimos (CC BY 2.0)

The latest issue of Administrative Science Quarterly, Social Psychological Perspectives on Power and Hierarchy, takes the study of power in management and organizational behavior to a new level.

Click here to access all articles in this special issue.

Exploring the psychological experience of power in the workplace, these articles follow the path of the power-seeker who becomes an opportunist in exchange relationships, and delve into the phenomenon of “illusory power transference”—the feeling of power that comes from being near a powerful other. They explain why the most audacious risk-takers in the social hierarchy are those with “something to lose” or “nothing to gain,” and ask why women in high-power positions still take the floor less than their male counterparts do.

As stated in the introductory essay by guest editors Francis J. Flynn and Deborah Gruenfeld, both of Stanford University, Linda D. Molm of the University of Arizona, and Jeffrey T. Polzer of Harvard University:

In the past, researchers who study power in organizations have typically focused their attention on identifying important antecedents and consequences—what serves as a source of power and what happens when power is used? More recently, a firestorm of research in psychology has investigated a different question that is of great interest to micro-organizational behavior scholars: What is it like to have power? More specifically, how does power affect the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of its possessors and their peers? The psychology of power, once the subject of mere conjecture and speculation, now serves as the target of direct empirical investigation.

Administrative Science Quarterly is a top-rank, quarterly, peer-reviewed journal that publishes the best theoretical and empirical papers on organizational studies from dissertations and the evolving, new work of more established scholars, as well as interdisciplinary work in organizational theory, and informative book reviews. To learn more about the journal, please click here.

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