Understanding the influence of power and empathic perspective-taking on collaborative natural resource management

Dara M. Wald, Elizabeth Segal, Erik Johnston, Ajay Vinze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Public engagement in collaborative natural resource management necessitates shared understanding and collaboration. Empathic perspective-taking is a critical facilitator of shared understanding and positive social interactions, such as collaboration. Yet there is currently little understanding about how to reliably generate empathic perspective-taking and collaboration, particularly in situations involving the unequal distribution of environmental resources or power. Here we examine how experiencing the loss or gain of social power influenced empathic perspective-taking and behavior within a computer-mediated scenario. Participants (n = 180) were randomly assigned to each condition: high resources, low resources, lose resources, gain resources. Contrary to our expectations, participants in the perspective-taking condition, specifically those who lost resources, also lost perspective taking and exhibited egoistic behavior. This finding suggests that resource control within the collaborative process is a key contextual variable that influences perspective-taking and collaborative behavior. Moreover, the observed relationship between perspective-taking and egoistic behavior within a collaborative resource sharing exercise suggests that when resource control or access is unequal, interventions to promote perspective-taking deserve careful consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Collaborative governance
  • Computer simulation
  • Decision-making
  • Empathy
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Public participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding the influence of power and empathic perspective-taking on collaborative natural resource management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this