Powerful Postures Versus Powerful Roles
Which Is the Proximate Correlate of Thought and Behavior?
+ Author Affiliations
- 1Management and Organizations, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
- 2Organizational Behavior, Stanford University
- Adam D. Galinsky, Management and Organizations, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2001 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL 60208 E-mail: email@example.com
Three experiments explored whether hierarchical role and body posture have independent or interactive effects on the main outcomes associated with power: action in behavior and abstraction in thought. Although past research has found that being in a powerful role and adopting an expansive body posture can each enhance a sense of power, two experiments showed that when individuals were placed in high- or low-power roles while adopting an expansive or constricted posture, only posture affected the implicit activation of power, the taking of action, and abstraction. However, even though role had a smaller effect on the downstream consequences of power, it had a stronger effect than posture on self-reported sense of power. A final experiment found that posture also had a larger effect on action than recalling an experience of high or low power. We discuss body postures as one of the most proximate correlates of the manifestations of power.