Power becomes you: The effects of implicit and explicit power on the self
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Some power cues are explicit, obvious and salient, while others are implicit, subtle and harder to detect. Drawing from research demonstrating that people assimilate to implicit cues and contrast from explicit ones, we suggest that implicit and explicit power cues have different effects on people. Two laboratory experiments found that when power cues were implicit, people in high power conditions assimilated to stereotypes of power; they had relatively higher independent self construals, and they were more likely to see themselves as autonomous from, rather than connected to, others. The opposite effect emerged when power cues were explicit. These effects were replicated in a third study, where working adults rated their own power at work and the explicitness of power cues in their workplaces. We also found that power and cue explicitness predicted co-worker support, and that this effect was mediated by self construals. These results suggest that the way power is conveyed and expressed can influence important outcomes in organizations.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes