New Study Reveals That Power-Hunger Is Not Always Negative

A drive to acquire power can itself be driven by a desire to do good.

It’s the motivation behind the desire for power that matters.

Some managers will think twice about hiring a job candidate who is motivated by power. Will they quit if they don’t get promoted in the first year? Do they have the skills to lead effectively or will they abuse their power? What companies may not realize – or will realize too late – is that while many managers have the expertise to take charge, some lack the personality to lead. However, recent research from PsychTests reveals that for many employees who are driven by power, it is not their sole or most important motivator – they are also driven by a number of “noble” factors.

Analyzing 738 people who took their Career Motivation Test, PsychTests’ researchers split the participants into two groups: Those who are highly motivated to be in a position of power at work and those who are not. What researchers discovered is that power-seekers are driven by many other motivators, including the following:

(Note: Scores range on a scale from 0 to 100; the higher the score, the stronger the motivator).


Employees with this motivator do not shy away from challenges. They have no qualms about shouldering a great deal of responsibility at work. They want to take ownership of how a project turns out, whether it’s a success or a failure.

Score for power-seekers: 76

Score for power-avoiders: 25


Employees with this motivator want to leave a legacy behind, be it a new idea, theory, or invention. These are people who live and breathe their work, and who are determined to accomplish great things.

Score for power-seekers: 74

Score for power-avoiders: 33


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