Power Affects Performance When the Pressure Is On: Evidence for Low-Power Threat and High-Power Lift

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Forthcoming

Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 16-55

32 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2016

See all articles by Sonia Kang

Sonia Kang

University of Toronto

Adam D. Galinsky

Columbia Business School - Management

Laura Kray

Berkeley-Haas Management of Organizations; UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

Aiwa Shirako

New York University (NYU)

Date Written: August 12, 2016

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.

Keywords: power, stereotype threat, stereotype lift, expectations, performance pressure

JEL Classification: A00

Suggested Citation

Kang, Sonia and Galinsky, Adam D. and Kray, Laura and Shirako, Aiwa, Power Affects Performance When the Pressure Is On: Evidence for Low-Power Threat and High-Power Lift (August 12, 2016). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Forthcoming; Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 16-55. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2822515

Sonia Kang (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

Adam D. Galinsky

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Laura Kray

Berkeley-Haas Management of Organizations ( email )

545 Student Services Building
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

HOME PAGE: http://facultybio.haas.berkeley.edu/faculty-list/kray-laura

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Aiwa Shirako

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
31
Abstract Views
242
PlumX Metrics