Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 740–757 | Cite as

Women in power-themed tasks: Need for power predicts task enjoyment and power stress

  • Jan HoferEmail author
  • Holger Busch
Original Paper


The implicit power motive predicts individuals’ involvement in activities that allow them to have impact and influence on other people. Moreover, substantial evidence indicates that thwarting individuals’ implicit power motive relates to so-called power stress. The present series of studies addresses both topics among female participants. In study 1, findings indicate that the strength of the implicit power motive moderates the relationship between women’s self-reported dominance and their evaluations of a power-related task: A significant link between self-reported dominance and both motivation for task participation and task enjoyment could be verified only when the implicit power motive was well-pronounced. In the subsequent studies, actual and anticipated thwarting of the satisfaction of a strong implicit power motive was associated with different psychological and behavioral indicators of power stress. Participants with a high implicit power motive felt more negative affect (study 2), reported more negative explicit (study 3) and implicit (study 4) attitudes towards a dominant target person, and were coded more often for visible frown reactions (study 5) when the satisfaction of their implicit power motive was (potentially) thwarted compared to participants with a low implicit power motive and participants with a high implicit power motive that was, however, not at risk of being thwarted.


Implicit need for power Explicit power motive Power stress Gender 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Developmental PsychologyTrier UniversityTrierGermany

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