Preferences for changing power positions and power distances: a social value orientations approach



Participants were asked to put themselves in the position of one of three persons who differed in the amount of power they had in a small work unit. Subsequently, they could allocate points on a power scale to themselves and the two others, and thus, change the power positions and the power distances between the positions. The least powerful individuals had the strongest tendency to increase their power. They wanted to reduce the power distance to the person in the higher position more than the power distance to the person in the middle position. The most powerful wanted to increase the power distance to the person in the middle position but not the power distance to the least powerful. Most results were consistent with social comparison theory and contrary to power distance theory. Because the dependent measures were derived from the social value orientations model, the scope of this model has been expanded. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.