Affirmation of the High-Power Person and His Position: Ingratiation in Conflict


  • Dean Tjosvold

    1. The Pennsylvania State University
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      Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Dean Tjosvold, Program in Educational Psychology, 201 Carpenter Building, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802.

  • The author thanks Ted L. Huston and Morris Okun for their helpful suggestions on an earlier draft of this article.


Eighty college students were induced to be bargainers who had high power in that they controlled more valued resources than the other bargainer. The low-power bargainer (a confederate) expressed different types of affirmations (positive evaluations) of the participants. The low-power bargainer either strongly or mildly affirmed the personal effectiveness of the participants and either strongly or mildly affirmed their negotiating position. Participants whose personal effectiveness was strongly, compared to mildly, affirmed increased their self-evaluation and were attracted to the low-power person. They did not, however, agree to the low-power person's demand. Participants whose position was strongly, as opposed to mildly, affirmed did not increase their self-evaluation nor were they more positive toward the low-power person. They did reject the low-power person's demand. Results were interpreted as suggesting that strong affirmations of personal effectiveness and of position may be ineffective ingratiation strategies in conflict.