UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Ana Guinote, UCL, to host a research seminar discussing ‘How Power Affects People: From Goal Orientation to Moral Judgments’
Over one decade of socio-cognitive research on social power has been guided by the notion that having power triggers reward seeking, driven by an over-activate behavioral approach system (Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003). Yet evidence regarding this hedonic tone of approach is inconsistent. In the first part of the talk I will discuss research showing that power activates a specific type of approach motivation: that associated with the pursuit of one’s aims and desires (goals). Power increases activation levels, energizing people, increases wanting or clarity of focus, and working to obtain salient goals (Guinote, 2017). In the second part of the talk I will discuss evidence that power holders’ narrow focus on their active goals has downstream consequences for the ways they think in social contexts, specifically for their moral judgments. Studies manipulating power and goals emanating from the mission of the organization show that power triggers moral judgments (deontological vs. utilitarian) in line with active goals, and that this is triggered by enhanced goal commitment.