Power and the Social Self

  • Ana GuinoteEmail author
  • Alice Cai


This chapter presents a comprehensive, scholarly review on the effects of power on powerholders’ social judgments and behavior. Power is with no doubt a key concept that characterizes asymmetric social relations. The chapter does not only bring together the most important approaches to the understanding of what it means to be in a powerful position, but also proposes a very clear conclusion namely that power amplifies the active self of the powerholder, a self that is understood as situated and linked to the social context. Implications of this conclusion resonate that power may magnify problematic self-aspects such as tendencies to preserve ones power and to pay less attention to other’s needs compared to one’s own—tendencies that contribute to the maintenance and aggravation of social inequality beyond of what is acceptable. Yet what is magnified by power depends on what dominates in the person and in the contextualized situation, including the possible inclusion of others in the self and the possible endorsement of ideologies promoting equality.


Power Self Social inequalities Social perception Corruption 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Leardership Knowledge CenterNova School of Business and EconomicsLisbonPortugal

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