Abstract

The current research examines how power affects performance in pressure-filled contexts. We present low-power-threat and high-power-lift effects, whereby performance in high-stakes situations suffers or is enhanced depending on one's power; that is, the power inherent to a situational role can produce effects similar to stereotype threat and lift. Three negotiations experiments demonstrate that role-based power affects outcomes but only when the negotiation is diagnostic of ability and, therefore, pressure-filled. We link these outcomes conceptually to threat and lift effects by showing that (a) role power affects performance more strongly when the negotiation is diagnostic of ability and (b) underperformance disappears when the low-power negotiator has an opportunity to self-affirm. These results suggest that stereotype threat and lift effects may represent a more general phenomenon: When the stakes are raised high, relative power can act as either a toxic brew (stereotype/low-power threat) or a beneficial elixir (stereotype/high-power lift) for performance.

Authors
Adam Galinsky, S.K. Kang, L. Kray, and A. Shirako
Format
Journal Article
Publication Date
Journal
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Full Citation

Galinsky, Adam, S.K. Kang, L. Kray, and A. Shirako
. “Power affects performance when the pressure is on: Evidence for low-power threat and high-power lift.”
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
vol.
41
, (May 01, 2015):
726
-
735
.