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Power gained, power lost

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  • Sivanathan, Niro
  • Pillutla, Madan M.
  • Keith Murnighan, J.
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    Abstract

    Changes in power almost invariably lead to changes in behavior. This research investigates the effects of power increases and power decreases for individuals who are in strong or weak positions. We hypothesized that individuals will have strong reactions to gains in power (their demands will increase markedly) but they will act almost as though they do not recognize losses in power (their demands will not drop much) when they lose power. Four experiments track individuals' actions when they move from ultimatum to dictatorship games, from dictatorship to ultimatum games, or when they have the same power position repeatedly. The data consistently show that people over-react to an increase in power, but that they react appropriately to a loss in power. The discussion explores the behavioral disconnect between increases and decreases in power.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6WP2-4R7F43V-1/1/c8a6ad6858a785409a1a3f56af14fc09
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 105 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 135-146

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:105:y:2008:i:2:p:135-146

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

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    References

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    1. Larrick, Richard P. & Boles, Terry L., 1995. "Avoiding Regret in Decisions with Feedback: A Negotiation Example," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 87-97, July.
    2. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
    3. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Brion, Sebastien & Anderson, Cameron, 2013. "The loss of power: How illusions of alliance contribute to powerholders’ downfall," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 129-139.

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