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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Power, incompetence, and hubris
by Fast, Nathanael J., Ph.D., Stanford University, 2009, 43; 3364498
Abstract (Summary)

In this dissertation, I examine the idea that holding a position of power elevates the need to feel that one is highly competent (i.e., has the skills, talents and abilities necessary to be effective and successful). Building on this notion, I also test the hypothesis that power holders who feel incompetent suffer from self-image threat which, in turn, motivates ego-defensive expressions of hubristic pride and aggression. Six studies, using multiple measures and manipulations of power, perceived competence, and hubris, supported these ideas. Studies 1 and 2 showed that people who are placed in high-power roles experience an increased need for competence. In addition, Study 2 showed that power holders who feel incompetent experience greater self-image threat than do non-powerful others who lack perceived competence. Studies 3-6 demonstrated that these same power holders who lack perceived competence seek to repair their threatened egos via displays of hubristic pride and aggression. Implications for research on power and corruption, leadership, and the self are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gruenfeld, Deborah H.
School: Stanford University
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 70/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Management
Keywords: Aggression, Competence, Ego defensiveness, Hubris, Power, Pride
Publication Number: 3364498
ISBN: 978-1-109-24286-7
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