By now I will boldly assume we’ve all witnessed the rise and fall of @amyjcuddy and her research on power posing. According to the New York Times, “…a replication of her 2010 study [on power posing]…had failed to yield the same results.” In other words, while Cuddy’s research indicated that power posing produced hormonal changes affiliated with a greater sense of power, her findings were not replicated by other researchers.
For many, Cuddy’s story represents a classic fall from grace. She’s been criticized and ridiculed by peers, and has quietly left her post at Harvard. The research is faulty. So she’s failed…right?
Well, that depends. Have you ever tried power posing before an interview, a talk, a big presentation? Did said pose give you a greater sense of efficacy, control, or influence? If you’ve tried it and it’s yielded you nothing, then maybe don’t waste your time again. And if it did give you a sense of power, then who really cares about the replicability of a study?
The real point here is that maybe there are no universal right and wrong answers — indisputable truths — when it comes to social sciences. We’re not talking FDA drug trials here – we’re talking human behavior and success.
At my company, we let research be context with our clients, but we focus on designing and delivering solutions that are grounded in the client’s reality. The question shouldn’t be ‘what does the research say we should do?’ but rather ‘what is our current opportunity as a team/organization, and what do we believe would move us forward?’
At the end of the day, it’s about results – specific and individual. Spending time in judgment of someone else’s work rarely delivers results. And if standing like a gorilla gets you results, I say go for it.