Lacking status hinders prosocial behavior among the powerful

Yeri Cho1, Nathanael Fast2
1Department of Management and Leadership, College of Business and Public Management, University of La Verne, United States
2Department of Management and Organization, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, United States
Cite this article:  Cho, Y., & Fast, N. (2018). Lacking status hinders prosocial behavior among the powerful. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46(9), 1547-1560.

Volume 46 Issue 9 | e6150 | Published: September 2018 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.6150

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We conducted 2 studies to examine if status has varying effects on prosocial behavior for those at different levels of the power hierarchy. In Study 1 (N = 78), adults employed full-time in the USA responded to an online survey and the results showed that self-perceived power and status interacted to predict prosocial behavior. That is, lacking status led high-power, but not low-power, individuals to engage less in prosocial behavior. In Study 2 (N = 142), we orthogonally manipulated status and power and measured prosocial behavior. Once again, lacking status led to less helping behavior among high-power, but not low-power, participants. These findings show how power and status interact to influence interpersonal helping behavior. Implications for future research on social hierarchy and prosocial behavior are discussed.

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