Study co-author Richard Petty of Ohio State University says the best way to get leaders to consider new ideas is to put them in a situation where they don't feel as powerful.
"Powerful people have confidence in what they are thinking, whether their thoughts are positive or negative toward an idea, that position is going to be hard to change," Petty says in a statement.
Petty and lead author Pablo Brinol, of the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain, say their research looks at an issue that has been largely ignored by social scientists.
In a series of experiments and role-playing exercises using college students, the researchers found when the students role-played as a boss, arguments presented to them made no difference.
The researchers conclude their findings cast doubt on the classic assertion that power corrupts people. Instead, they say, power makes people more likely to unquestionably believe their own thoughts and act on them.
The research is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.