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The benefits of prosocial power motivation in leadership: Action orientation fosters a win-win

  • Power motivation is considered a key component of successful leadership. Based on its dualistic nature, the need for power (nPower) can be expressed in a dominant or a prosocial manner. Whereas dominant motivation is associated with antisocial behaviors, prosocial motivation is characterized by more benevolent actions (e.g., helping, guiding). Prosocial enactment of the power motive has been linked to a wide range of beneficial outcomes, yet less has been investigated what determines a prosocial enactment of the power motive. According to Personality Systems Interactions (PSI) theory, action orientation (i.e., the ability to self-regulate affect) promotes prosocial enactment of the implicit power motive and initial findings within student samples verify this assumption. In the present study, we verified the role of action orientation as an antecedent for prosocial power enactment in a leadership sample (N = 383). Additionally, we found that leaders personally benefited from a prosocial enactment strategy. Results show that action orientation through prosocial power motivation leads to reduced power-related anxiety and, in turn, to greater leader well-being. The integration of motivation and self-regulation research reveals why leaders enact their power motive in a certain way and helps to understand how to establish a win-win situation for both followers and leaders.

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Author:Katja FriederichsORCiD, Karla Waldenmeier, Nicola BaumannORCiD
Parent Title (English):PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of publication:San Francisco
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2023/07/19
Date of publication:2023/07/19
Publishing institution:Universit├Ąt Trier
Contributing corporation:The publication was funded by the Open Access Fund of Universit├Ąt Trier and the German Research Foundation (DFG)
Release Date:2023/12/12
Volume (for the year ...):2023
Issue / no.:Band 18, Heft 7
Number of pages:19
Institutes:Fachbereich 1 / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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