So, Rule-breakers Are Right After all

Breaking rules, such as arriving late to work, taking another person’s cup of coffee without asking, dropping cigarette ashes on the floor, putting feet on the table during meeting and bending company’s rules are relatively good after all. Researchers say all these give other the impression that you are more powerful.

In a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, on the ideal and simple steps to appear more powerful. Authors noted that rule-breakers were seen as more in-control and powerful compared with those who avoided violating norms. When you violate a norm, it implies that you have the power to act according to your own will in spite of situational constraints, which fuels perceptions of power.

According to the authors, certain behaviors are believed to be associated with power. Thus, describing other ways to seem powerful:

“…people associate power with less smiling, more gazing, more other-touching, more gesturing, more interruptions, and a louder voice.

Thus, when people perceive others around them, they may use such cues to infer their level of power.

Only the powerful have the competency to break or bend rules, and doing this makes other people to perceive them as powerful, the authors write:

As individuals thus gain power, their behavior becomes even more liberated, possibly leading to more norm violations, and thus evoking a self-reinforcing process.

[hr gap=”2″]

18 Rules for Living

[hr gap=”2″]

This vicious cycle of norm violations and power affordance may play a role in the emergence and perpetuation of a multitude of undesirable social and organizational behaviors such as fraud, sexual harassment, and violence.”

Gerben A. Van Kleef et al. Breaking the Rules to Rise to Power: How Norm Violators Gain Power in the Eyes of Others – Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top