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<these studies suggest that we often confuse the desire for power with other things—like the desire to be respected and to help our groups and organizations succeed.

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Read the Point – Counter Point on Page 462 of Chapter Thirteen in your textbook. Take a position and then debate your position on the Discussion Board. Provide references to the textbook, consult outside sources, and reply to a minimum of 2 of your classmates.
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Everyone Wants Power
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Point
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We don’t admit to everything we want. For instance, one psychologist found people would seldom admit to wanting money, but they thought everyone else wanted it. They were half right—everyone wants money. And everyone wants power.
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Harvard psychologist David McClelland was justifiably famous for his study of underlying motives. McClelland measured people’s motivation for power based on how they described pictures (this method is called the Thematic Apperception Test [TAT]). Why didn’t he simply ask people how much they wanted power? Because he believed that many more people really wanted power than would admit it or even consciously realize. And that’s exactly what he found.
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Why do we want power? Because it is good for us. It gives us more control over our own lives. It gives us more freedom to do as we wish. There are few things worse in life than feeling helpless and few better than feeling in charge of your destiny. Research shows people with power and status command more respect from others, have higher self-esteem (no surprise there), and enjoy better health than those of less stature.
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Take Steve Cohen, founder of SAC Capital Advisors and one of the most powerful men on Wall Street. Worth $11.1 billion, Cohen buys Picassos, lives in a mansion, has white-gloved butlers, and travels the world first class. People will do almost anything to please him—or even to get near him. One writer notes, “Inside his offices, vast fortunes are won and lost. Careers are made and unmade. Type-A egos are inflated and crushed, sometimes in the space of hours.” All this is bad for Steve Cohen how?
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Usually, people who tell you power doesn’t matter are those who have no hope of getting it. Wanting power, like being jealous, can be one of those secrets people just won’t admit to.
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Counterpoint
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Of course it’s true that some people desire power—and often behave ruthlessly to get it. For most of us, however, power is not high in priority, and for some, it’s actually undesirable.
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Research shows that most individuals feel uncomfortable when placed in powerful positions. One study asked individuals, before they began work in a four-person team, to “rank, from 1 [highest] to 4 [lowest], in terms of status and influence within the group, what rank you would like to achieve.” Only about one-third (34 percent) of participants chose the highest rank. In a second study, researchers focused on employees participating in Amazon’s Mechanical Turk online service. They found that the main reason people wanted power was to earn respect. If they could get respect without gaining power, that was preferred. In a third study, researchers found that individuals desired power only when they had high ability—in other words, when their influence helped their groups.
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These studies suggest that we often confuse the desire for power with other things—like the desire to be respected and to help our groups and organizations succeed. In these cases, power is something most of us seek for more benevolent ends—and only when we think it does good.
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Another study confirmed that most people want respect from their peers, not power. Cameron Anderson, the author of this research, sums it up nicely: “You don’t have to be rich to be happy, but instead be a valuable contributing member to your groups. What makes a person high in status in a group is being engaged, generous with others, and making self-sacrifices for the greater good.”
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Oh, and about Steve Cohen … you realize he pleaded guilty and paid a $1.2 billion fine for failing to prevent insider trading and then had to shut down SAC, right?
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Sources: Based on B. Burrough and B. McLean, “The Hunt for Steve Cohen,” Vanity Fair, June 2013, http://www.vanityfair.com/news/business/2013/06/steve-cohen-insider-trading-case; C. Anderson, R. Willer, G. J. Kilduff, and C. E. Brown, “The Origins of Deference: When Do People Prefer Lower Status?,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 102 (2012): 1077–88; C. Anderson, M. W Kraus, A. D. Galinsky, and D. Keltner, “The Local-Ladder Effect: Social Status and Subjective Well-Being,” Psychological Science 23(7) (2012): 764–71; S. Kennelly, “Happiness Is about Respect, Not Riches,” Greater Good, July 13, 2012, http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/happiness_is_about_respect_not_riches; and P. Lattman and B. Protess, “$1.2 Billion Fine for Hedge Fund SAC Capital in Insider Case,” The New York Times Dealbook, November 4, 2013, http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/11/04/sac-capital-agrees-to-plead-guilty-to-insider-trading/?_r=0.

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