Wanting to Be Boss and Wanting to Be Subordinate: Effects on Performance Motivation

Authors

  • Marianne Schmid Mast,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Work and Organizational Psychology
      University of Neuchâtel
      Neuchâtel, Switzerland
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    • The authors thank Gwen Coutu, Kevin Elgee, Sara Eltzroth, Yota Gikas, Jessica LeDuc, Joey Pasquino, Maranda Reynolds, Holly Salach, and Sarah Witherell for their help in running participants. We also thank Mary Ellis and Jillian Andrade for their help in coding data.

  • Judith A. Hall,

    1. Northeastern University
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  • Petra C. Schmid

    1. University of Neuchâtel
      Neuchâtel, Switzerland
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Marianne Schmid Mast, Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Neuchâtel, Rue de la Maladière 23, CH-2000, Neuchâtel, Switzerland. E-mail: marianne.schmid@unine.ch

Abstract

Does dyad members' motivation to take on a high or low power position influence the dyad's performance motivation when assigned to hierarchical roles? Participants in 69 dyads (33 all-women, 36 all-men) indicated whether they preferred the high-power role (owner of an art gallery) or the low power role (assistant to the owner). Power roles were then randomly assigned. The dyad's interaction during task solving was videotaped. Uninvolved coders rated performance motivation as the degree of quality of the superior's and the subordinate's task contributions and effort put into the task. Performance motivation was better if the boss preferred the high power to the low power role, irrespective of the subordinate's role preference. Leadership effectiveness is thus affected by the superior's power motivation.

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