How Individual Power Use Affects Team Process and Performance: Implications for the Powerholder
Author(s)Mannix, Elizabeth; Wageman, Ruth
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Even within teams of peers, certain individuals have more power than others. Individual members may have essential skills and experience, networks outside the team, or status within the organization that give them more power than the average team member (French & Raven, 1959; Hollander, 1958). How these powerholders use their power may vary from team to team. For example, consider a task force whose purpose is to solve a problem in the organization’s ability to attract new members. One member of the team is especially expert in member-engagement practices and root cause analysis, upon which the team is dependent to complete its task well. This dependency gives her power (Emerson, 1964). She might use her power solely to influence the team’s task approach in the areas most relevant to her particular skill. Or she may use her special influence to dominate a range of team functions, from managing relations with senior leaders, to controlling the conflict-management processes within the group. Or she might exert no special influence at all, acting as an average team member in all domains. What consequences might her choices have for the effectiveness of this team?
Center for Public Leadership
Center for Public Leadership Working Paper Series;06-06
cpl, hks, kennedy school, leadership, power, misuse, team
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