This Is Why Your Boss Doesn't Listen To Anything You Say

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Photo: Flickr/Richard Smith

Because people who feel very powerful don’t listen to anyone:Four experiments test the prediction that feelings of power lead individuals to discount advice received from both experts and novices. Experiment 1 documents a negative relationship between subjective feelings of power and use of advice. Experiments 2 and 3 further show that individuals experiencing neutral and low levels of power weigh advice from experts and experienced advisors more heavily than advice from novices, but individuals experiencing high levels of power discount both novice and expert advice. Experiments 3 and 4 demonstrate that this tendency of individuals experiencing high levels of power to discount advice from experts and novices equally is mediated by feelings of competitiveness (Experiment 3) and confidence (Experiments 3 and 4). Finally, Experiment 4 shows that inducing high-power individuals to feel cooperative with their advisors can mitigate this tendency, leading them to weigh expert advice more heavily than advice from novices. Theoretical and practical contributions are discussed.

Source: “Power, Competitiveness, and Advice Taking: Why the Powerful Don’t Listen” from L.P. Tost, F. Gino, and R. Larrick, Organizational behaviour and Human Decision Processes (forthcoming)

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Interested in how power works or how to become more powerful? I highly recommend Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book, Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t.

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