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Title: Does power corrupt the mind? The influence of power on moral reasoning and self-interested behavior
Authors: Giurge, Laura M.
Van Dijke, Marius
Zheng, Michelle Xue
De Cremer, David 
Keywords: Moral development
Moral reasoning
Self-interested behavior
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2021
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.
Citation: Giurge, Laura M., Van Dijke, Marius, Zheng, Michelle Xue, De Cremer, David (2021-08-01). Does power corrupt the mind? The influence of power on moral reasoning and self-interested behavior. Leadership Quarterly 32 (4) : 101288. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Abstract: We test whether leaders' power shapes their reasoning about moral issues and whether such moral reasoning subsequently influences leaders' display of self-interested behavior. We use an incentivized experiment to manipulate two components of leader power: power over more versus fewer followers and power to enforce one's will by having discretion over more versus fewer payout options to allocate between oneself and one's followers. We find that having power over more followers decreased leaders' principled moral reasoning, whereas having higher power to enforce one's will enabled leaders to engage in self-interested behavior. We also find suggestive evidence that power over increases self-interested behavior by decreasing principled moral reasoning; the effect of power to was not mediated by moral reasoning. These results illustrate that power activates self-interest within and outside the context in which power is held. They also show that moral reasoning is not a stable cognitive process, but that it might represent an additional path via which power affects self-interested behavior. © 2019 The Authors
Source Title: Leadership Quarterly
ISSN: 1048-9843
DOI: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2019.03.003
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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