The Effects of Power and Assurance of No Future Transgressions on Post-Transgression Responses
Khoury, Careen H.
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The primary aim of this Dissertation was to investigate the effect of power on victims’ decision to seek revenge against, or hold a grudge against, or forgive the transgressor following a transgression. The secondary aim of this Dissertation was to examine one potential boundary condition as well as potential mechanisms that underlie these effects. Guided by the approach/inhibition theory of power (Keltner et al., 2003), it was hypothesized that power would have a differential effect on post-transgression responses. As predicted, Study 1 showed that power had a positive effect on revenge and a negative effect on grudge. Also as predicted, Study 2 showed that approach motivation was one mechanism underlying the power-revenge relation and inhibition motivation was one mechanism underlying the power-grudge relation. In both studies, power did not have an effect on forgiveness. In addition, Studies 3 and 4 demonstrated the moderating role of assurance of no future transgression on the relation between power and post-transgression responses. Under conditions of assurance, powerful and powerless victims were less likely to seek revenge and hold a grudge, respectively, and were more likely to forgive. Finally and contrary to the prediction, results from Study 4 showed that there was no evidence for the mediational role of victims’ ‘lack of a need to teach the transgressor a lesson’ and ‘safety’ on the moderation between power and assurance on post-transgression responses. Possible explanations of these results and limitations of this research are discussed.