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Power and Personality Perception in Real-Life Hierarchical Relationships



The present study examined how Big Five personality ratings of the same target individuals differ as a function of the power relation between the target and the judge. Our targets were 37 employees with leadership duties from two large organizations. The targets' subordinates (N = 352), peers (N = 186), and superiors (N = 62) constituted our groups of judges. The targets and judges also provided self-reports of personality. Subordinate judges showed higher consensus but not higher self-other agreement than peer or superior judges. Furthermore, the targets were judged as more extraverted, more emotionally stable, less agreeable, and less open to experience by their subordinates than by their superiors. The results suggest that (i) observer consensus, but not self-other agreement or assumed similarity varies as a function of real-life power; (ii) the effects of power on mean trait scores are mostly congruent with the previously observed effects of power on behaviour and on stereotypes. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.