In this paper, we analyze power motivation from a cross-cultural perspective. Power motivation has been mainly studied within the Western culture. However, previous research suggests that some contours and nuances of power and power motivation may be culturally specific. In this article, we analyze cultural differences between American and Chinese students in how power motivation is aroused. Drawing from the cross-cultural literature, we propose that having decision-making control over resources increases levels of power motivation among Americans but not Chinese, whereas status-elevation increases power motivation among both Americans and Chinese. These hypotheses were tested experimentally with resource-control, status-elevation, and neutral conditions. The first hypothesis was fully supported, but the second one was only partially supported. Levels of power motivation in the neutral condition (i.e., dispositional power motives) were similar for American and Chinese participants, but power motivation arousal was greater for Americans than Chinese, in both power arousal conditions. These findings contribute to our understanding of the power motivation construct in a non-Western context.
Motivation and Emotion – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 9, 2011
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