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Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2001; doi:10.3390/su9112001

The Power Paradox: Implicit and Explicit Power Motives, and the Importance Attached to Prosocial Organizational Goals in SMEs

1
Louvain Research Institute in Management and Organizations, Université catholique de Louvain, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
2
Centre for Research in Regional Economics and Economic Policy, Department of Economics, University of Namur, 5000 Namur, Belgium
3
Department of Marketing, Ghent University, 9000 Gent, Belgium
4
Department of Management, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
5
Tilburg School of Economics and Management, Tilburg University, 5037 AB Tilburg, The Netherlands
6
Institute for Multidisciplinary Research in Quantitative Modelling and Analysis, Université catholique de Louvain, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
7
Office of Chief Economist, Bank Mandiri, Jakarta 12190, Indonesia
8
Antwerp Management School, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 September 2017 / Revised: 25 October 2017 / Accepted: 25 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Abstract

We examine the fundamental tension between explicit and implicit power motives; and their combined impact on the importance attached to prosocial organizational goals in small businesses (SMEs). We show that key decision-makers with a dominant implicit power motive attach more importance to the prosocial goals of job creation and taking care of the environment in their businesses. However, we reveal that this positive relationship is moderated by their explicit power motive. Once decision-makers in SMEs consciously seek for power, the positive relationship is neutralized. With these results, we highlight the conceptual and methodological differences between implicit and explicit power motives. We could obtain these results because we developed and validated an innovative implicit motive measure—the Shortened Pictorial Attitude Implicit Association Test (SPA-IAT). Contrary to the currently available implicit motive measures, the SPA-IAT is fast and easy to use and analyze, which makes this novel instrument well suited for research in business settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: explicit motives; implicit motives; power motive; Brief Implicit Association Test (BIAT); prosocial organizational behavior; job creation; environmental sustainability; small- and medium-size enterprise explicit motives; implicit motives; power motive; Brief Implicit Association Test (BIAT); prosocial organizational behavior; job creation; environmental sustainability; small- and medium-size enterprise
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hermans, J.; Slabbinck, H.; Vanderstraeten, J.; Brassey, J.; Dejardin, M.; Ramdani, D.; van Witteloostuijn, A. The Power Paradox: Implicit and Explicit Power Motives, and the Importance Attached to Prosocial Organizational Goals in SMEs. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2001.

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