Abstract

In this chapter, the authors argue that having a position of leadership often means having power over other people and that this power may have psychological consequences on the leaders. Specifically, they review research that supports their hypothesis that power tends to make people action prone — leaders tend to act. This tendency may be fine when action is called for, but it may interfere if caution and patience are called for. Moreover, they present data that suggest that this tendency toward action is, partly at least, a result of disinhibition, the weakening of normal inhibitory mechanisms. Thus, leaders may also display more sexual forwardness than others and they may be less able to resist temptation. Finally, evidence is presented that suggests that powerful persons tend to objectify others, that is to treat them as objects and to ignore others' mental stats, like emotions, values, preferences, and the like. Through these mechanisms, if leading is the exercise of power, then that power tends to corrupt.

Authors
Joe Magee, D.H. Gruenfeld, D. Keltner, and Adam Galinsky
Format
Chapter
Publication Date
Book
The Psychology of Leadership: New Perspectives and Research

Full Citation

Magee, Joe, D.H. Gruenfeld, D. Keltner, and Adam Galinsky
. “Leadership and the psychology of power.” In
The Psychology of Leadership: New Perspectives and Research
, edited by
David M. Messick and Roderick M. Kramer
,
Mahwah, NJ
:
Psychology Press
, 2004.