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Cheating to Win or Not to Lose: Power and Situational Framing Affect Unethical Behavior

Kim, K; Guinote, A; (2022) Cheating to Win or Not to Lose: Power and Situational Framing Affect Unethical Behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 10.1111/jasp.12852. (In press).

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Abstract

Power has long been associated with corruption, yet most evidence has been linked to abuses for gains (money, resources, sex). In this article, we propose a conceptual framework that considers unethical conduct to obtain gains and to avoid losses. Following the situated focus theory of power (Guinote, 2007), we propose that power flexibly orients individuals’ cognitions and efforts in line with active goals. Under a gains frame, compared to the powerless, the powerful should be more motivated to obtain gains and cheat more, in order to protect these gains. Under a loss frame, the powerful should experience a temporary activation of loss aversion goals, while the powerless should experience a chronic activation of loss aversion goals. Consequently, power differences in corruption levels should only occur for gains and not when losses are at stake. The effects of power and frame were demonstrated in one study (N = 321). The findings provided initial evidence supporting the notion that an understanding of the effects of power on corruption necessitates a consideration of contextual framing.

Type: Article
Title: Cheating to Win or Not to Lose: Power and Situational Framing Affect Unethical Behavior
DOI: 10.1111/jasp.12852
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12852
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.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10141024
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