7/29(五)7:30pm 思,英語4: The Power to Choose


Discussion Question: What's your power to choose, on this scale of one to ten?

Article Excerpt (source)
Having power over others and having choices in your own life share a critical foundation: control, according to a new study published in Psychological Science.

The paper finds that people are willing to trade one source of control for the other. For example, if people lack power, they clamor for choice, and if they have an abundance of choice they don’t strive as much for power.

“People instinctively prefer high to low power positions,” says M. Ena Inesi of London Business School. “Similarly, it feels good when you have choice, and it doesn’t feel good when choice is taken away.”

To find out if power and choice are two sides of the same coin, the researchers conducted a series of experiments that looked at whether lacking one source of control (e.g., power) would trigger a greater need for the other (e.g., choice).
For instance, in one experiment, participants started out by reading a description of a boss or an employee and had them think about how they would feel in that role. That meant some people were made to feel powerful and some were made to feel powerless. Then the participants were told they could buy eyeglasses or ice cream from a store that had three options or a store that had fifteen options. People were willing to go through great lengths (i.e., drive farther or wait longer) to access the store with more options. Lacking power made people thirsty for choice.

In another set of experiments, when people were deprived of choice, they displayed a thirst for power – for instance, by expressing greater desire to occupy a high-power position. Additional experiments found that people can be content with either power or choice—or both—but that having neither makes them distinctly dissatisfied.

Inesi believes this discovery—that power and choice are interchangeable—can be useful in the workplace. “You can imagine a person at an organization who’s in a low-level job,” she says. “You can make that seemingly powerless person feel better about their job and their duties by giving them some choice, in the way they do the work or what project they work on.” This research gets at “the fundamental and basic importance of control in people’s lives.”

Questions to think about:
1. What’s an example of someone having power over someone?
2. What’s an example of someone being coerced?
3. Can you think of an example of someone having to make a certain decision because they were in a bad position?
4. What’s an example of someone making a choice of their own free will.

5. What do you feel is under your control in your personal or work life?
6. What do you feel you can’t control about your personal or work life?

7. Do you have power over other people in your work life (i.e., can you tell people what to do and they have to listen to you?)
8. Do you have power over other people in your personal life?

9. Do you feel very free to make decisions in your work life? Your personal life?

10. How do you feel when you can tell somebody what to do and they have to listen to you?
11. Do you enjoy the exercise of power?
12. How do you feel when somebody tells you what to do?

13. What’s your emotional reaction when you read this last paragraph from the article?
Inesi believes this discovery—that power and choice are interchangeable—can be useful in the workplace. “You can imagine a person at an organization who’s in a low-level job,” she says. “You can make that seemingly powerless person feel better about their job and their duties by giving them some choice, in the way they do the work or what project they work on.

14. Is the idea outlined in that paragraph manipulative?

15. Is the person who wrote the following points advocating real choice for the children they are in charge of?
• Offer kids choices you can live with. Otherwise, you’ll run into kids picking the option they know you don’t like. Also consider whether you’re willing to let your kids live with the consequences of their choice.
• Give two choices, but also make sure kids understand there is a third, implied choice: you’ll decide.
• Consider your words. Instead of demanding, “You pick! You can do this or that. What do you want?” say, “Which do you prefer…?” The key is your delivery. Make sure kids feel like they truly have a choice, not just a decision between two negative alternatives.

16. Do you want power over other people?

17. Does the insight presented in this study change your perception in any way?
18. So, do you agree with the study’s conclusion (below)?
“If people lack power, they clamor for choice, and if they have an abundance of choice they don’t strive as much for power.”>

19. Do you think there is any relationship between how much choice we have as consumers, and how little influence we have over the decisions our democratic governments make?

Discussion Question: What's your power to choose, on the above scale of one to ten?

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