Contextual effects of power differentials: Construct validation and concurrent validity of the Power Differential Scale

Henrique Duarte, Diniz Lopes


Power distance can produce contextual effects that surpass the cultural level of analysis, allowing predicting how the assimilation of these cultural values impacts individuals motivations to attain power positions and behaviors towards authorities. Power distance value can be conceived both at a micro and macro level of analysis. However existing measures used at a cultural level have been the object of several critics, and others applied at the individual level need further study in terms of their psychometric properties. This article presents the main psychometric properties of the Earley and Erez (1997) Power Differential Scale. This scale measures the acceptability of power and status differences both at micro and macro level. Two studies analyse the scale’s construct validity and its factorial invariance across groups of participants (study 1); and its predictive validity at an individual level (study 2). The results obtained support the proposed unidimensionality of the scale. Furthermore, it demonstrated predictive power by showing the role of power distance in the prediction of individual motivations to attain power and to respond to power situations using withdrawal or confrontational strategies. Future research is discussed, specifically the impact of power differential construct in individual attitudes and behavior.


Power Differential Scale, Power distance, Construct validity, Criterion-related validity



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Nº ERC: 107494 | ISSN (in print): 0870-8231 | ISSN (online): 1646-6020 | Copyright © ISPA - CRL, 2012 | Rua Jardim do Tabaco, 34, 1149-041 Lisboa | NIF: 501313672 | The portal and metadata are licensed under the license Creative Commons CC BY-NC