Authorities’ Coercive and Legitimate Power: The Impact on Cognitions Underlying Cooperation.

Hofmann, Eva; Hartl, Barbara; Gangl, KatharinaORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6009-3358; Hartner-Tiefenthaler, Martina and Kirchler, ErichORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4731-1650 (2017) Authorities’ Coercive and Legitimate Power: The Impact on Cognitions Underlying Cooperation. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, article 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00005

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Abstract

The execution of coercive and legitimate power by an authority assures cooperation and prohibits free-riding. While coercive power can be comprised of severe punishment and strict monitoring, legitimate power covers expert, and informative procedures. The perception of these powers wielded by authorities stimulates specific cognitions: trust, relational climates, and motives. With four experiments, the single and combined impact of coercive and legitimate power on these processes and on intended cooperation of n1 = 120, n2 = 130, n3 = 368, and n4 = 102 student participants is investigated within two exemplary contexts (tax contributions, insurance claims). Findings reveal that coercive power increases an antagonistic climate and enforced compliance, whereas legitimate power increases reason-based trust, a service climate, and voluntary cooperation. Unexpectedly, legitimate power is additionally having a negative effect on an antagonistic climate and a positive effect on enforced compliance; these findings lead to a modification of theoretical assumptions. However, solely reason-based trust, but not climate perceptions and motives, mediates the relationship between power and intended cooperation. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Item Type: Article in Academic Journal
Keywords: coercive power, legitimate power, trust, authority, cooperation
Funders: Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
Research Units: Current Research Groups > Behavioral Economics
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Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2022 14:19
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2024 12:36
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00005
ISSN: 1664-1078
URI: https://irihs.ihs.ac.at/id/eprint/6103

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