When choosing a new leader, people base their decision on desirable characteristics such as honesty and trustworthiness. However once leaders are in power, can we trust them to exercise it in a prosocial manner?
A new paper in The Leadership Quarterly finds that everyone gradually becomes susceptible to power the longer they have it. Study author John Antonakis and his colleagues from the University of Lausanne explain, "We looked to examine what Lord Acton said over 100 years ago, that 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'"
To investigate this the authors used experimental methods to distinguish between the situational and individual component; and determine if power corrupts or if corrupt individuals are drawn to power.