Juricomptabilité et évaluation d'entreprise

Articles from: 03/09/2009

Psychologie du pouvoir : le paradoxe

Selon un chercheur de l’université de Stanford, D. Keltner:

A great deal of research has also found that power encourages individuals to act
on their own whims, desires, and impulses. When researchers give people power in scientific experiments, those people are more likely to physically touch others in potentially inappropriate ways, to flirt in more direct fashion, to make risky choices and
gambles, to make first offers in negotiations, to speak their mind, and to eat cookies like
the Cookie Monster, with crumbs all over their chins and chests.

Power may induce more harmful forms of aggression as well. In the famed Stanford Prison Experiment, psychologist Philip Zimbardo randomly assigned Stanford undergraduates to act as prison guards or prisoners—an extreme kind of power relation. The prison guards quickly descended into the purest forms of power abuse, psychologically torturing their peers, the prisoners. Similarly, anthropologists have found that cultures where rape is prevalent and accepted tend to be cultures with deeply entrenched beliefs in the supremacy of men over women.

This leaves us with a power paradox. Power is given to those individuals, groups, or nations who advance the interests of the greater good in socially-intelligent fashion. Yet unfortunately, having power renders many individuals as impulsive and poorly attuned to others as your garden variety frontal lobe patient, making them prone toact abusively and lose the esteem of their peers.

Peut-être faut-il se méfier des gens qui sont dans des situations de pouvoir et être un plus critique face à eux et se rappeler l’expérience de la prison de Stanford  avant de sortir le tapis rouge et de leur signer des chèques en blanc. On a juste à regarder les premières pages des journeaux pour voir comment les médias font de certaines personnes des idoles. Les Charest, Black , Madoff, Lacroix ont tous eu les honneurs de la presse ou de leurs pairs…avant la chute.

Le magazine américain sur internet, “Greater Good Magazine”, publié par des gens de l’université Berkley , semble se donner pour vocation de créer un monde plus heureux en favorisant la compassion, la diminution de la violence, de la confiance , de former de meilleurs managers…On n’y parle pas de fraude, ni business  mais de changement culturel et social dans un sens très large tout en amenant des solutions pratiques. Ce  qu’il faut dans les organisations: des managers qui utilise leurs pouvoirs de façon responsable et éhique.

Charest M., Black, Lacroix, Madoff et les autres : la soif du pouvoir

Comment expliquer que la soif du pouvoir des Charest, Black, Lacroix, Madoff les ont amenés à frauder, mentir, voler?

Voici un extrait de Youtube de “La femme qui ne se voyait plus aller” ( Micheline Charest):

YouTube Preview Image

On dit dans le langage courant que le pouvoir corrompt. Kisinger, lui,  disait que ” le pouvoir est l’ultime aphrodisiaque”.  Certaines études montrent que certains comportements tels qu’extravagance, soif du pouvoir, folie des grandeurs, prendre des risques, jeux, narcissisme sont associés aux fraudeurs, mais peut-on généraliser?  Beaucoup de gens , que l’on peut connaître ou qui font la une des journeaux, semblent avoir ces comportements ou traits de caractère,  mais ils ne sont pas des fraudeurs pour autant.

Dans une étude universitaire récente publiée par La chaire d’information financière et organisationnelle,  en  2009: ” La fraude commises par les dirigeants: tour d’horizon et leçons”, les auteurs Michel Magnan et Denis Cormier, mentionnent :

  • Un contexte organisationnel propice ie opportunité de poser le geste, absence de contrôle , un contexte où l’autorité fait foi de tout;
  • Incitatifs et pressions orientés vers la performance;
  • Conseil d’administration dont toutes les informations viennent de la haute direction avec peu d’expérience et/ou connaissances du domaine;
  • Personnalité ouverte à la fraude;
  • Un discours qui cache cupidité et avidité;
  • Arrogance et orgueil démesurés.

Il serait intéressant d’aller voir du côté de la socio-psychologie et de  la psychologie du pouvoir,  les variables ou les raisons qui font qu’ un individu , dans une situation de pouvoir, “dérappe” à un monent donné et se retrouve dans une spirale de gestes frauduleux et mensongers .

Those in positions of power can be observed to act in a manner that is peculiar and often has no connection to reality. Dr. Guenfeld notes that, because there is no consequence to the way they act, powerful people can make serious mistakes that have a negative effect on their organization. Her research shows that the psychology of a powerful leader includes making decisions without any consultation with others, an intense drive to act, and a lack of interest in others.

The results and effects of power can often be beneficial but a good leader will take into account the potential risks associated with any particular action. And it always makes sense for organizations to impose a system of checks and balances so power is less likely to be abused thereby preventing disasters that might otherwise occur.

Source: Dr. Guenfled

Un autre article datant de 2006 sur le sujet : ” Power is not only an aphrodisiac, it does weird things to some of us”  du San Franciso Chronicle:

Why is it said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely? What is it about the psychology of power that leads people to behave differently — and too often, badly?

Those are some of the questions intriguing a group of social scientists, many of them at Stanford University and UC Berkeley. In the past few years, their research has zeroed in on what an intoxicating elixir power can be.

And one thing has become clear: The phrase “drunk with power” is often a dead-on description. These new studies show that power acts to lower inhibitions, much the same as alcohol does.

“It explains why powerful people act with great daring and sometimes behave rather like gorillas,” said psychologist Cameron Anderson, assistant professor at UC Berkeley who has studied power dynamics.

Some evidence also suggests a physiological component: that powerful people experience an adrenaline rush, not unlike that of someone in an emergency who is suddenly able to lift an automobile. Research on monkeys indicates that their levels of serotonin change when they move into the dominant alpha position.

“Disinhibition is the very root of power,” said Stanford Professor Deborah Gruenfeld, a social psychologist who focuses on the study of power. “For most people, what we think of as ‘power plays’ aren’t calculated and Machiavellian — they happen at the subconscious level. Many of those internal regulators that hold most of us back from bold or bad behavior diminish or disappear. When people feel powerful, they stop trying to ‘control themselves.’ ”

The point, Kramer would argue, is not just that power reveals but also that it changes people. Such transformation explains why so many powerful people, imbued with talent, luck and leadership skills, tumble in flames like Icarus. The only way to truly harness power is first to understand what it does to you — in other words, the consequences of lowered inhibitions.

“The bottom line is that people in power act in more cavalier ways,” Anderson said. “They really do believe that they’re not going to get caught, and they start to see themselves as above the law. And we know how that turns out …”

So what is required to remain uncorrupted — to handle power with grace?

The experts say that to remain grounded, it takes a deliberate effort, a sense of humor about yourself and a willingness to become more, not less, reflective. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama says he gains more insights into the needs of constituents by flying in coach. High-flying investor Warren Buffet still lives in Omaha in a house that cost $31,000, and continues to play bridge with his same cadre of friends. Presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were masters at a self-deprecating wit that served them well.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity,” said Abraham Lincoln, “but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”