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When power makes others speechless: The negative impact of leader power on team performance

Author

Listed:
  • Leigh Plunkett Tost

    () (University of Washington)

  • Francesca Gino

    () (Harvard Business School, Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit)

  • Richard P. Larrick

    () (Duke University)

Abstract

We examine the impact of subjective power on leadership behavior and demonstrate that the psychological effect of power on leaders spills over to impact team effectiveness. Specifically, drawing from the approach/inhibition theory of power, power-devaluation theory, and organizational research on the antecedents of employee voice, we argue that a leader's experience of heightened power produces verbal dominance, which reduces perceptions of leader openness and team open communication. Consequently, there is a negative effect of leader power on team performance. Three studies find consistent support for this argument. The implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Leigh Plunkett Tost & Francesca Gino & Richard P. Larrick, 2011. "When power makes others speechless: The negative impact of leader power on team performance," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-087, Harvard Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:11-087
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dore, Ronald, 2000. "Stock Market Capitalism: Welfare Capitalism: Japan and Germany versus the Anglo-Saxons," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199240616.
    2. Dauvergne, Peter, 2013. "Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262018760, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Power; Leadership; Teams; Communication; Talking; Dominance; Team Performance; Learning;

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