Powerful bosses don’t listen to new ideas


Boss cartoon

From World Science:

People feeling powerful don’t listen, study finds

Feb. 15, 2008

Courtesy Ohio State University and World Science staff

Don’t both­er try­ing to per­suade your boss of a new idea while he’s feel­ing the pow­er of his po­si­tion, new re­search sug­gests—he’s not lis­ten­ing.

“Pow­er­ful peo­ple have con­fi­dence in what they are think­ing. Wheth­er their thoughts are pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive to­ward an idea, that po­si­tion is go­ing to be hard to change”, said Rich­ard Pet­ty, co-au­thor of the study and a psy­cholo­g­ist at Ohio State Uni­ver­s­ity.

Then “you have a bet­ter chance of get­ting them to pay at­ten­tion,” said Pa­blo Briñol, lead au­thor of the study and a so­cial psy­cholo­g­ist at the Uni­ver­si­dad Autónoma de Ma­drid in Spain.

The re­search ex­am­ined an is­sue largely ig­nored by so­cial sci­en­tists, Pet­ty said: many stud­ies have looked at how the pow­er of a per­son de­liv­er­ing a mes­sage af­fects re­cip­i­ents, but this one seems to be the first to as­sess how the lis­ten­er’s pow­er af­fects per­sua­sion.

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