Immorality of success: When legitimization does not work
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Based on the idea that Polish society actively delegitimizes the economical and political order we predicted that persons successful in business or politics would be perceived as less moral than failing ones. Participants (N=210 students) read vignettes describing businessmen or politicians who succeeded or failed in their activity and then rated their competence, morality, likeability, and respectability. Although successful persons were perceived as more competent and respectable, they were also seen as less moral and likeable than the failing ones. The latter results were interpreted as a symptom of system delegitimization. We conclude that some social systems are not being legitimized because they are widely believed to be not fair and in an acute need of change.
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