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Should leaders continue to strike confident poses?

A strong body posture, such as standing with legs apart and putting hands on the hips, has often been known to be a typical stance for a confident boss.

But if new research from the University of Zurich is anything to go by, these poses of power might be less powerful than originally thought.

"Researchers around Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School concluded in a study in 2010 that power poses held for a short time influenced the hormones and the willingness to take on financial risks for the subjects participating in the study," a press release from the university stated.

"Scientists of the University of Zurich now refute these findings with a large study: power poses affect neither the masculine hormone testosterone, the stress hormone cortisol, nor the subjects’ actual behaviour."

In the study, 102 men and 98 women, most of them students from Zurich, were randomly assigned to take on bodily poses with “much power” or “little power”.

Afterwards, the participants completed a task involving their willingness to take on financial risk where they could choose between a fixed monetary sum and a risky lottery game, the same conditions as in the 2010 study at Harvard.

The study concluded there was no influence on hormone production and willingness to take on risk among the various different body poses.

“Our study is much more meaningful than the original study, as we have much more data,” stated Roberto Weber, professor at the University of Zurich and co-author of the new study.

“The greater number of subjects in our study makes it much less probable that our results are due to coincidence.


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