The Role of the Self-Concept and the Social Context in Determining the Behavior of Power Holders: Self-Construal in Intergroup Versus Dyadic Dispute Resolution Negotiations

Elizabeth Seeley Howard*, Wendi L. Gardner, Leigh Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this work, the authors explored how a person's view of himself or herself might determine his or her use of power in a complex dispute resolution negotiation. In 3 studies of asymmetric power in negotiations, the authors demonstrated that the impact of power on motivation and behavior is moderated by both a person's self-view and the social context. In Study 1, the results revealed that in a one-on-one dispute, powerful individuals primed to hold an interdependent (as opposed to independent) self-construal are more generous in resolving their disputes with low-powered opponents. Study 2 replicated this finding but revealed a different pattern in intergroup disputes, in which powerful interdependent teams of negotiators are actually less generous than are independent teams. Study 3 provided a conceptual replication of Study 2, with the use of chronic measures of self-construal and self-reported measures of behavior. Results suggest that an interdependent self-construal may lead to a more benevolent use of power in dyadic conflicts but more exploitive uses of power in intergroup conflicts. Implications for the understanding of power and self-construal are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)614-631
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume93
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007

Keywords

  • interdependence
  • intergroup
  • negotiation
  • power
  • self-construal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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