When Regulatory Strategies Turn Maladaptive: An Analysis

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Apfelbaum, E. P. & Sommers, S. R. (2009). Liberating effects of losing executive control: When regulatory strategies turn maladaptive. Psychological Science, 20(2), 139-145. In some cases, when people have managed to scrabble their way to the top of an organization, they are wont to depart and leave their position of power and control even when they become less capable or qualified to do so. The research to date indicates that executives that keep "their eye on the prize" tend to outperform their counterparts that do not, but maladaptive strategies leading to decreased capacity can prevent even the most well-intentioned executives from achieving their goals. In this study, the researchers were primarily interested in determining how executive capacity affects interactions with others. The authors note that executive control is generally assumed to contribute to maximal functioning by encouraging the actions that are needed to overcome or change maladaptive practices, but when executives are mistaken concerning the utility of their regulatory strategies, there may be a concomitant reduction in their ability to apply such executive control in meaningful ways. Although every organizational setting is unique, these researchers emphasize that the effects of these types of misjudgments can have especially severe outcomes for interpersonal interactions and relationships. Executives with significant deficits in their functioning can also experience diminished

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