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When does power trigger approach motivation? Threats and the role of perceived control in the power domain

Deng, M; Zheng, M; Guinote, A; (2018) When does power trigger approach motivation? Threats and the role of perceived control in the power domain. Social and Personality Psychology Compass , 12 (5) , Article e12390. 10.1111/spc3.12390.

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Abstract

It is widely believed that power activates the behavioral approach system (BAS; Guinote, 2017; Keltner, Gruenfeld & Anderson, 2003), however, findings are inconsistent. Here we discuss evidence suggesting that perceived threats to control in the power domain are key determinants of the association between power and approach motivation. We propose that objective or subjective threats to the exercise of power trigger behavioral inhibition, conflicts between approach and behavioral inhibition, and reactive, negatively valenced approach motivation. Furthermore, threatened power holders reassert power – in particular by using coercion – as defense against threat. We discuss literature in support of these hypotheses involving external threats (e.g., instability, illegitimacy; uncertainty) and subjective states (anxiety, motivation to maintain power, perceived incompetence, submissiveness and perceptions of low power) that trigger the perception of lack of control in the power domain, and undermine the positive tone of power holders’ approach motivation.

Type: Article
Title: When does power trigger approach motivation? Threats and the role of perceived control in the power domain
DOI: 10.1111/spc3.12390
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12390
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045108
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