Article | Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

Power, Competitiveness, and Advice Taking: Why the Powerful Don't Listen

by L. P. Tost, F. Gino and R. Larrick

Abstract

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.

Keywords: advice taking; Power; expertise; confidence; competitive mindset; Competition;

Citation:

Tost, L. P., F. Gino, and R. Larrick. "Power, Competitiveness, and Advice Taking: Why the Powerful Don't Listen." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 117, no. 1 (January 2012): 53–65.