How personalized and socialized power motivation facilitate antisocial and prosocial decision-making

Magee, J.C. & Langner, C.A.
Journal of Research in Personality 42 1547-1559

In two studies, we investigate the effects of individuals' power motivation on decisionmaking. We distinguish between two types of power motivation [McClelland, D. C. (1970). The two faces of power. Journal of International Affairs, 24, 29-47; Winter, D. G. (1973). The power motive. New York: The Free Press] and demonstrate that both types of power motivation facilitate influential decision-making but that each type plays a different role in different contexts. In a conflict context (Study 1), individuals' personalized (selfserving) power motivation was associated with antisocial decisions, and in a healthcare context (Study 2), individuals socialized (other-serving) power motivation was associated with prosocial decisions. Furthermore, the type of power motivation elicited in each context was associated with less perceived need to deliberate over the relevant policy decision. In separating out the independent effects of each type of power motivation, we are able to explain more variance in decision-making behavior across various contexts than in models using aggregate power motivation (personalized plus socialized).

Wagner Faculty