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Less power may equal less success at work

Does being in a low power role at work impair a person?s cognitive ability? And if so, what implications does this have for management and organisations?

According to recent research, lacking power not only increases the numbers of errors one makes at work but also leads to behaviours which reinforce this low standing.  The study found that lacking power has a direct impact on ability, and the researchers say that this could have serious implications for professions in which errors are costly, such as health care settings.

The study revealed that in experimental conditions when people were randomly assigned  to conditions of low and high power, those in the low power conditions did worse on the cognitive tests (e.g. on the Stroop, and Tower of Hanoi, test).

The researchers say that these types of errors could be avoided at work by empowering employees. They say that ?the cognitive alterations arising from powerlessness may help foster stable social hierarchies and that empowering employees may reduce costly organizational errors? To read the press release click here

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