Perceptions of power: A cognitive perspective

Herman Aguinis1, Mitchell S. Nesler2, Brian M. Quigley2, James T. Tedeschi2
1University of Colorado at Denver, United States
2State University of New York Albany, United States
Cite this article:  Aguinis, H., Nesler, M.S., Quigley, B.M., & Tedeschi, J.T. (1994). Perceptions of power: A cognitive perspective. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 22, 377-384.

Volume 22 Issue 4 | e772 | Published: November 1994 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1994.22.4.377

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Upper level college students in the United States (N= 28) were presented with vignettes describing a manager as possessing either (a) high coercive and reward power, or (b) low coercive and reward power. The manipulation of these two power bases had a significant impact on all five of French and Raven’s (1959) power bases (i.e., referent, coercive, expert, legitimate, and reward). Moreover, population effect size estimates (eta-squares) were noticeably large, ranging from .17 to .68. These findings are interpreted utilizing a cognitive perspective, and expanding the construct of cognitive structures to the realm of social power.

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