Psychological Reports, 2006,99,67 1-674. O Psychological Reports 2006
PRELIMINARY ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE SCALE FOCUSED O N ARTIFACTS '
University of Valencia
Summary.-In this preliminary study, an Organizational Culture Scale was devel- oped to assess cultural artifacts according to Schein's typology (1985). It includes a set of cultural artifacts to measure the extent to which an organization is more or less traditional. A total of 249 managers from a range of different companies responded to the items. Preliminary analysis yielded a one-dimensional scale with 14 items with high internal consistency and homogeneity.
The concept of organizational culture has attracted broad scholarly in- terest and a number of questionnaires have been developed to measure it. For example, Ashkanasy, Broadfoot, and Falkus (2000) reviewed 18 scales published between 1975 and 1992. Interestingly, only three of these focused on measuring "patterns of behavior," according to Schein's typology (1985). The others considered a deeper level, that is, values and beliefs. However, none focus on artifacts, which are the first level of Schein's typology. This paper was intended to be an initial inquiry into this gap since, as Rousseau (1990) affirmed, the most visible leveIs of organizational culture can be ap- propriately studied quantitatively.
Schein (1985) distinguished three levels of culture: artifacts and crea- tions, values, and basic assumptions. He treated basic assumptions as the es- sence of culture and values and behaviors as observed manifestations of the cultural essence. As Schein affirmed (1999, p. 15) "The easiest level to ob- serve when you go into an organization is that of artifacts: what you see, hear, and feel as you hang around." Therefore, the definition of artifacts includes directly observable elements, e.g., dress codes, physical space, tech- nology, as well as other more subtle components, such as the way status is demonstrated by members, how decisions are made, communications, dis- agreements and conflicts, balance between work and family, etc. The essen- tial difference between values and basic assumptions is that both inform ob- servers of the meaning the artifacts have, understanding "why" people do what they do in an organization. For this reason, "survey responses can be viewed as cultural artifacts and as reflections of the organization's climate, but they do not say anything about the deeper values or shared assumptions
'Address correspondence to Professor Tomas Bonavia, Facultad de Psicologia, Departimento de Psicologia Social, Av. Blasco Ibaiiez, 21, 46010 Valencia, Spain or e-mail ([email protected] uv.es).
672 T. BONAVIA
that are operating" (Schein, 1999, p. 86). However, this does not mean that Schein found no utility in evaluating artifacts. In fact, after defining the busi- ness problem, they are the first necessary step toward deciphering the com- pany's culture.
To measure the most visible level of any organization culture, a scale was developed. It included a set of cultural artifacts to measure the extent to which an organization is traditional. The scale was conceived with the goal of obtaining two poles of the same continuum. Higher scores on the scale mean that the organization is traditional, while lower scores mean the in- verse (half the items are reverse-scored). With this purpose, a study of cul- tural artifacts deemed most relevant was undertaken: strategy; human rela- tionships; selection schemes; promotion and dismissal; training programs; motivation, evaluation, and incentives; absenteeism and rotation; communica- tion processes and conflict resolution; type of structure, rules, and technol- ogy; climate and environment.
Although the definition might be criticized, the most characteristic traits of any traditional culture are (see Table 1) short term perspectives; overesti- mating the economic goals; highly competitive and markedly individualistic; promotion based on personal friendships and family ties; creativeness and capacity for innovation by the employee unvalued; importance of customs and traditions; evaluation schemes and controls based on failure and not on success; avoidance of conflict at all costs; centralized, rigid, and bureaucratic structure; new technologies not encouraged; minimum use of marketing strat- egies; and no importance given to environmental conservation.
METHOD The sample was obtained using a variety of procedures, including com-
pany and management listings, personal contacts within organizations and institutions as well as key people such as consultants, executives, or manag- ers. The collection of information took four months. Four hundred and fifty questionnaires were given to a broad range of Spanish companies, 249 of which were returned from approximately 120 organizations, together with nine incomplete questionnaires that were eliminated from analysis. The return rate was between 55 % and 57 %. Of the respondents, 2 11 were men (84.7 % of the total sample) and 37 women (14.9%)) plus one individual who did not specify sex. The average age was 38.3 yr. (SD=8.5, range=25 to 63).
The initial scale of 24 items was rated on a 6-point Likert scale an- chored by 1: Totally disagree and 6: Totally agree. To develop a question- naire measuring a relatively specific construct (DeVellis, 1991) only those items with a corrected item-total correlation > .40 were retained for a prelimi- nary analysis of item reliability, internal consistency, and factor structure (see Table below). Ten items were eliminated from the analysis, so the final ver-
ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE SCALE 673
sion included 14 items. Total scores ranged from 14 to 84 (M = 41.8, SD = 12.2) with higher scores reflecting more traditional culture. Cronbach alpha was 26.
The intercorrelation matrix for 14 items was submitted to an explor- atory factor analysis using principal axis analysis with a varimax rotation (Boyle, Stankov, & Cattell, 1995). The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin ratio (KMO = .86) was high. The Bartlett test of sphericity was significant ( p < .0001). The exploratory factor analysis yielded three factors with eigenvalues greater than 1.0. The first factor accounted for 36.1 % of the variance whereas two other factors accounted for 9.2 % and 7.4 % of the variance, respectively (eigenval- ues of factors were 5.1, 1.3, and 1.0). An examination of the Scree plot (Cattell, 1966) indicated that structure was appropriately described as having one factor. Factor loadings and communalities for the one factor solution are presented in Table 1. All items loaded strongly on the factor (all factor load- ings > .45).
TABLE 1 ITEMS, CORRECTED ITEM-TOTAL CORRELATIONS (rTo,), AND FACTOR STRUCTURE FOR FINAL
14 ITEMS OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE SCALE OF ARTIFACTS (ENGLISH VERSION)
In this company: r,,, Factor h2 Loading
1. Generally, a long term vision of things is valued more." 2. The focus on problems takes into account mainly their effects on
economic factors, with little consideration of the impact on peo- ple.
3. Human relations are principally based on cooperation, consen- sus, and rou well-being (the contrary of competitiveness and individuaf weg-being)."
4. The most important bases for promotion are personal friendships and family ties.
5 . Creativeness and capacity for innovation are valued in employ- ees."
6. In this com any, it is often heard "it has aly:ys been done like that" or "tgis is the proper way of doing it.
7. The aims of systems of evaluation and control are to punish more than to reward.
8. Conflict is treated as a normal aspect of company life, from which valuable experience can be gained."
9. The structure is highly centralized, i.e., the majority of matters have to pass through very few hands.
10. The structure is flexible, i.e., it ada ts quickly and successfully to changes that may affect its survivah
11. The rules and regulations favor unnecessary bureaucracy that must be rigorously respected.
12. There is a constant concern to keep the technology up to date." 13. Marketing strategies such as segmentation and market research
are used.* 14. My company is really concerned about the conservation of nature
and takes measures to this respect."
674 T. BONAVIA
As a first approach, which needs to be confirmed with further research, these preliminary findings indicate the scale may be further developed for assessing traditional-culture artifacts. The common variance explained was only 36.1% and this result is considered a limitation of the scale. Moreover, construct validity must be examined and evidence presented for concurrent, predictive, as well as content validity. Social desirability can also be subject- ed to empirical inquiry. These lines of research are required for application of items in the real world. Such effort is clearly needed because "Culture becomes a powerful influence on members' perceiving, thinking, and feeling; and these predispositions, along with situational factors, will influence the members' behavior" (Schein, 1985, p. 320). As a consequence, conceiving organizations in a traditional way may be too narrow because culture influ- ences strategy, structure, and procedures of any organization with major im- plications.
ASHKANASY, N. M., BROADFOOT, L. E., &FALKUS, S. (2000) Questionnaire measures of organiza- tional culture. In N. M. Ashkanasy, C. P. M. Wilderon, & M. F. Peterson (Eds.), Hand- book of organizational culture C climate. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Pp. 131-145.
B o n ~ , G. J., STANKOV, L., &CATTELL, B. (1995) Measurement and statistical models in the study of ~ e r s o n a l i t ~ and intelligence. In D. H. Saklofske & M. Ziedner (Eds.), International handbook of personality and intelligence. New York: Plenum. Pp. 417-446.
CATTELL, R. B. (1966) The scree test for the number of factors. Multivariate Behavioral Re- search, 1, 245-276.
DEVELLIS, R. F. (1991) Scale development: theory and applications. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. R o u s s ~ ~ u , D. (1990) Assessing organizational culture: the case for multiple methods. In B.
Schneider (Ed.), Organizational climate and culture. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. Pp. 153-192.
SCHEIN, E. H. (1985) Organizational culture and leadership. London: Jossey Bass. SCHEIN, E. H. (1999) The colporate culture survival guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Accepted September 26, 2006
International Journal of Business Communication 2015, Vol. 52(4) 452 –478
© The Author(s) 2015 Reprints and permissions:
sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/2329488415598429
Women Doing Leadership: Leadership Styles and Organizational Culture
Robyn C. Walker1 and Jolanta Aritz1
Abstract Although women in the United States make up about half of the workforce, only 14.6% of executive officer positions in the Fortune 500 and 16.9% of Fortune 500 board of director seats in 2013 were held by women, numbers that have remained flat for the past decade. Decades after the so-called “feminist revolution,” women are still struggling to be seen as leaders within organizations even though many have put in place hiring and recruitment policies to help eliminate this problem. Our study examines this disparity by observing how leadership emerges and is negotiated in discourse among male and female participants in decision-making groups in a masculine organizational culture. First, it identifies whether female participants randomly assigned to mixed- gender groups emerge as leaders. Second, it analyzes the discourse of those competing for leadership positions in mixed groups to identify the effects of leadership style on leader attribution by others. Of the 22 mixed-gender groups (N = 110) that took part in our study, no woman emerged as the unanimously chosen leader, even though women were identified as leaders by transcript coders. This article uses a case study approach to analyze leadership emergence in two mixed groups in which women were recognized by some members as demonstrating leadership. It then looks at a third case that demonstrates how some discourse behaviors that have been recognized as leadership may not be viewed as such in a masculine organizational culture. Study results illustrate how organizational culture can define accepted ways of “doing” leadership and affect who is and who is not recognized as a leader, particularly in terms of gender.
Keywords turn-taking, leadership communication, gender and leadership, discourse analysis, interaction analysis
1University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Corresponding Author: Robyn C. Walker, University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, Trousdale Parkway, ACC 400, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA. Email: [email protected]
598429 JOBXXX10.1177/2329488415598429International Journal of Business CommunicationWalker and Aritz research-article2015
Walker and Aritz 453
Although women in the United States make up about half of the workforce, only 14.6% of executive officer positions in the Fortune 500 companies in 2013 were held by women, a number that has remained flat for the past decade (Soares, Bartkiewicz, & Mulligan-Ferry, 2013). That year, women held only 16.9% of Fortune 500 board of director seats, the same level as 2012 (Soares et al., 2013). Much has happened since the women’s movement that arose in the 1960s to better integrate women into the public sphere, but even after more than 50 years, they still lag behind men in leader- ship positions. This problem has been tackled by many organizations at the policy level, by putting in place programs to recruit and promote women, but as the numbers indicate, this approach has been far from successful.
Our study attempts to better understand this phenomenon by observing how leader- ship emerges and is negotiated in discourse among male and female participants in decision-making groups in a masculine organizational culture. It first identifies whether female participants randomly assigned to mixed-gender groups emerge as leaders. Second, it analyzes the discourse of those competing for leadership positions in mixed- gender groups to identify the effects of leadership style on leader attribution by others.
This study attempts to bring together research from two approaches to the study of leadership: what has been called the “psychological” approach and the discursive approach. It does so by first asking participants to identify the leaders of their group by identifying specific communicative traits they observed; we then look at the talk that is exhibited in the group interaction and how it creates certain leadership styles (Aritz & Walker, 2014). Ultimately, we are interested in looking at whether and how organiza- tional culture affects the type of leadership that is recognized in mixed groups of men and women and how leadership is negotiated within a masculine organizational culture.
Discourse Studies in Leadership and Gender
An increasing body of research is studying leadership by looking at language and approaching the phenomenon as an act of social constructionism (Alvesson & Kärreman, 2000; Fairhurst, 2007, 2009). From this perspective, leadership is viewed in the context of what leaders do and is thus discursive in nature. According to Robinson (2001), “leadership is exercised when ideas expressed in talk or actions are recognized by others as capable of progressing tasks or problems which are important to them” (p. 93). According to Fairhurst (2008), this definition enables us to under- stand leadership as a process of influence and meaning management that advances a talk or goal, an attribution made by followers or observers, and a process, in which influence may shift and distribute itself among several organizational members. “To wit, leadership is co-constructed, a product of sociohistorical and collective meaning- making, and negotiated on an ongoing basis through a complex interplay among lead- ership actors, be they designated or emergent leaders, managers, followers, or both” (Fairhurst & Grant, 2010, p. 210).
This perspective contrasts with the psychological approach to leadership, which is prevalent in management studies, particularly in the United States, where a psycho- logical lens and traditional empiricist methods still dominate (Alvesson & Sveningsson,
454 International Journal of Business Communication 52(4)
2003; Conger, 1998; Fairhurst, 2007; Knights & Wilmott, 1992). The concern of this approach is with the cognitive or social-cognitive origins of leadership and the percep- tions they generate with weight given to the mental over the behavioral (Fairhurst, 2007). From this perspective, leadership is seen as residing within the individual and is often associated with certain personality traits divorced from the organizational culture.
More and more researchers, though, are treating language as a methodological ques- tion and a window into cultural meanings. A linguistic focus is also enabling scholars to rethink traditional approaches to business issues and in doing so, to reveal more nuanced details about how such issues as leadership are “brought off” (Fairhurst, 2007).
Like leadership, gender is a social construct. Gender is different from biological sex. It is a social patterning that has been created over time and that has been passed down from generation to generation within a culture. It is learned behavior that we enact each day to “create” our gendered selves. We do so through our clothing and accessory choices, our mannerisms, our vocal qualities, the way we walk, and talk, and the things we say and do, all activities that can be broadly thought of as communication if we understand that communication is a symbol system that conveys meaning to others through the process of perception. The meanings associated with specific communica- tion displays over time have become coded as “male” or “female” and have thus created stereotypes that we rely on in order to make meaning of our environment.
Social constructionist theory contends that there are mainstream discourses of “gender difference” circulating in Western culture (e.g., Cameron, 2006; Sunderland, 2004), with the effect that the biological category of “men” is positioned to speak and behave in ways stereotypically coded as “masculine,” while “women” are positioned to speak and behave in ways coded as “feminine,” even though individuals can and do resist such stereotypical positioning.
Elements of Talk: Latching, Overlaps, and Questions
Discourse studies have thus focused on how features of talk are coded as feminine or masculine. For example, Coates (1996) found that women tend to construct talk jointly and that the group takes priority over the individual as women’s voices combine to construct a shared text. Utterances are often jointly constructed; in other words, speak- ers often cooperate to produce a chunk of talk. In addition, Coates observed that women friends often combine as speakers so that two or more voices may contribute to talk at the same time. This kind of overlapping speech is not seen as competitive, as a way of grabbing a turn, because the various contributions to talk are on the same theme.
Women’s talk is also characterized by the frequent use of questions whose main function is interactive rather than information seeking (i.e., the question, “there are limits aren’t there?” checks that a shared perspective obtains and does not expect an answer except perhaps for “yeah” or “mhm”; Coates, 1996).
While women’s voices combine and overlap, men take turns to hold court. Male friends prefer a one-at-a-time pattern of talking, with one speaker holding the floor for an extended period at any one time; overlapping speech is avoided and is viewed as
Walker and Aritz 455
contentious for seeking the floor. In terms of questions, men use them to seek informa- tion from each other, taking it in turns to play the expert. Table 1 below identifies widely cited characteristics of “male” and “female” talk.
Elements of Talk: Amount of Talk
In more formal situations, the majority of studies find that men talk more than women. This outcome has been attributed to status characteristics theory, which focuses on how status differences organize interaction (Capella, 1985; Slater, 1966; Stein & Heller, 1979). According to this theory, individuals involved in social interactions evaluate themselves relative to the other individuals involved and come to hold expec- tations as to how and how well they will perform in relation to every other participant in the interaction (Capella, 1985; Slater, 1966; Stein & Heller, 1979). These “self-other performance expectations” provide the structure of the interaction, which then deter- mines the subsequent interaction.
Research has shown that those with higher status participate more in task-oriented dyads or groups than those with lower status (Capella, 1985; Slater, 1966; Stein & Heller, 1979). Since men have traditionally held higher status than have women, one would expect men to talk more in task-oriented or instrumental situations.
Elements of Talk and Leadership Style
In our research on leadership styles (Aritz & Walker, 2014), we found that overlaps and questions were also used differently by different types of leaders (see Table 1). A directive leader uses questions to direct agreement on interaction participants, does not link his or her comments to the previous speaker’s statement, and makes abrupt topic shifts as well as uses minimal active listening techniques and tends to interrupt other speakers. Our research has indicated that those using the directive style often talk sig- nificantly more than others participating in the interaction. As such, the directive lead- ership style shares many of the common elements of what Coates has identified in masculine gendered talk.
Table 1. Widely Cited Characteristics of “Feminine” and “Masculine” Styles.
Indirect Direct Conciliatory Confrontational Facilitative Competitive Collaborative Autonomous Minor contribution (in public) Dominates speaking time publicly Supportive feedback Aggressive interruptions Person/process-oriented Task/outcome-oriented Affectively oriented Referentially oriented
Source. Adapted from Holmes and Stubbe (2003).
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In contrast, a cooperative leader uses questions to solicit information or participa- tion from others, acknowledges the position or statement of previous speakers, avoids abrupt topic shifts, uses active listening techniques, and uses cooperative overlaps to show her support of other’s ideas. Our research indicates that those using a coopera- tive leadership style significantly reduce the imbalance of talk between leader and followers. Because of this as well as the use of questions and cooperative overlaps of this type of leader, this style is more in line with Coates’s description of feminine talk.
A third leadership style, collaborative, is also known as “distributed leadership,” which is defined as a property that emerges in team situations in which influence is distributed across multiple team members (Carson, Tesluk, & Marrone, 2007). In this style, participants use questions to frame the interaction and to check for agreement among members, acknowledge some of the contribution of others but more commonly build on other’s statements producing smooth topic shifts, even though these contribu- tions may overlap with those of others.
Organizational Culture and Communities of Practice
Workplace settings play a critical role in the construction and enactment of members’ social identities. Organizations are “minicultures” that provide “sources and sites of identification for individuals” (Aaltio & Mills, 2002; Jenkins, 1996). More specifi- cally, organizations contribute to the construction of member identities in at least two ways: They classify members into roles that have particular meanings and they develop discursive norms from which members draw to interact with others (Schnurr, 2009). Through these processes, organizations create leaders and subordinates.
Each organizational culture is different in the norms they provide to individuals to construct their roles. Hofstede (1980, 1998) describes masculine and feminine national cultures as representing the sex role pattern that is dominant in a given society and further suggests the masculinity-femininity dimension of a nation’s culture is reflected by organizations within that culture. Masculine cultures, such as Japan and Italy, emphasize the need for men to be successful breadwinners or be viewed as failures, and relatively few women occupy higher paying executive and top management posi- tions. In Hofstede’s typology, American culture is considered moderately high in masculinity.
In feminine cultures, such as Sweden and the Netherlands, it is the norm for both men and women to pursue higher paying careers, and both males and females receive cultural support for prioritizing family time over time spent on the job. The women in higher level positions in these cultures are not necessarily expected to be assertive or to display the qualities and behaviors that are considered traditionally masculine (Hofstede 1980). Lyness and Kropf (2005) found that nations characterized as having feminine cultures tend to have organizational cultures that support work and family balance.
American organizations typically are characterized by a competitive, masculine organizational culture, which aligns with our “masculine” national culture. This orga- nizational culture values respect for authority, competition, individualism, indepen- dence, and task orientation (Loden, 1985; Maier, 1999). Authoritarian management
Walker and Aritz 457
practices, respect for hierarchical structures, and adherence to chain-of-command are emphasized. Other values associated with a competitive organizational culture are assertive and aggressive behavior toward external or internal competitors and empha- sis on individual, extrinsic rewards.
Supportive, feminine organizational cultures value and respect participation, col- laboration, egalitarianism, and interpersonal relationships (Maier, 1999). There is less emphasis on hierarchical control; the supportive organizational culture focuses on group rather than individual rewards and places less emphasis on extrinsic rewards relative to intrinsic rewards (Loden, 1985). The cultural values associated with a sup- portive culture promote a balance of career and family roles, while competitive orga- nizational cultures value commitment to the organization and the expectation that an employee’s career should be given priority over other roles (Maier, 1999).
In contrast to organizational culture, discourse researchers have used the concept of communities of practice as a means of identifying the linguistic strategies members use to negotiate organizational identity. A community of practice is an aggregate of people who come together around mutual engagement in some common endeavor. Ways of doing things, ways of talking, beliefs, values, power relations—in short, prac- tices—emerge in the course of their joint activity around that endeavor (Eckert & McConnell-Ginet, 1992). A community of practice is different as a social construct from the traditional notion of community, primarily because it is defined simultane- ously by its membership and by the practice in which that membership engages. It is the practices of the community and members’ differentiated participation in them that structures the community.
Speakers develop linguistic patterns as they engage in activity in the various com- munities in which they participate. In actual practice, social meaning, social identity, community membership, forms of participation, the full range of community prac- tices, and the symbolic value of linguistic form are being constantly and mutually constructed (Eckert & McConnell-Ginet, 1992). The linguistic practices of any given community of practice are continually changing as a result of the many features that come into play through the interaction of its multiple members. In particular, organiza- tions “provide a repertoire of procedures, contracts, rules, processes, and policies” that are then incorporated by the various communities of practice “into their own practices in order to decide in specific situations what they mean in practice, when to comply with them and when to ignore them” (Wenger, 1998, p. 245). Leaders and other orga- nizational actors draw on this linguistic repertoire as well as the norms and values of their workplace culture to produce their discursive behaviors.
Workplace culture is thus a “communicative construction” that is “created and rec- reated as people interact over time” (Modaff & DeWine, 2002, p. 88). It is a system of shared meanings and values as reflected in the discursive and behavioral norms typi- cally displayed by members that distinguishes the group or organization from others. It should be noted that organizations may be made up of multiple subcultures that may “co-exist in harmony, conflict, or indifference to each other” (Frost, Moore, Louis, Lundberg, & Martin, 1991, p. 8). Workplace culture contributes significantly to the establishment of norms and expectations about leadership by defining what competent
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and effective leadership means (Hickman, 1998; Schein, 1992). The relationship between workplace culture and leadership, though, is complex in that leaders them- selves also play an important role in the creation, maintenance, and change of work- place culture (Neuhauser, Bender, & Stromberg, 2000; Parry & Proctor-Thomson, 2003; Schein, 1992).
Gender is also produced and reproduced in differential forms of participation in particular communities of practice. Women tend to be subordinate to men in the work- place; for example, women in the military have not traditionally engaged in combat, and in the academy, most theoretical disciplines are overwhelmingly male with women concentrated in descriptive and applied disciplines that “support” theorizing. The rela- tions among communities of practice when they come together in overarching com- munities of practice also produce gender arrangements.
Holmes (2006) has shown that effective leaders are able to draw expertly on a rep- ertoire of linguistic strategies stereotypically coded as masculine and feminine. The critical component, though, in determining their overall effectiveness is how actors are positioned by their community of practice. Like linguistic strategies, a community of practice can be either feminine, that is, supportive and team oriented, or masculine, competitive, and individualistic.
Mullany (2007) found numerous examples in her studies of management meetings whereby males use cooperative strategies and females use competitive strategies, depending on the community of practice in which they were situated. She argues that theorists should take greater account of the norms and conventions of different com- munities of practice, as well as institutional status, role, and corporate discourses, in order to achieve a more finely grained understanding of how different business com- munities “do leadership.”
This study thus takes up Mullany’s call by using a discursive lens to analyze the different communication patterns used in mixed-gender groups to negotiate leader- ship. It will identify the main leadership communication styles that emerged in small groups of business professionals and will then focus on the community of business professionals to see which styles were recognized as leadership attempts and which participants were identified as leaders by team members of these mixed groups.
Participants and Data Collection
All participants (N = 110) involved in the study were business professionals enrolled in an MBA program at a private university in Southern California with an average of 10 years of work experience. Participants were randomly assigned to groups of four to six persons each. This random division resulted in 22 mixed-gender teams.
The simulation used in the study, Subarctic Survival, asked each group to take the role of airplane crash survivors. Groups were then asked to discuss and ultimately agree on the ranking of items salvaged from the aircraft in terms of their critical func- tion for survival. Although some may argue that this simulation will more likely call men to a leadership role because it involves an outdoor survival situation, we did not deem this a problem since the situation matches the masculine organizational culture
Walker and Aritz 459
in which the participants were involved, an MBA program located within a business school where both male faculty and students dominate, and aggressive, individualistic behaviors are encouraged and rewarded. The meetings were 20 minutes in length and were held and videotaped in an experiential learning laboratory equipped with profes- sional facilities and technicians. The meetings were held in English, and the video- tapes were then transcribed.
In order for participants to identify the leader of each group, we developed a commu- nication style–oriented measure of leadership attribute preference using six global leader behaviors identified by the GLOBE Research Program—Charismatic/Value-based lead- ership, Team-Oriented leadership, Participative leadership, Autonomous leadership, Humane-Oriented leadership, and Self-Protective leadership (House et al., 2004).1 Based on the definition of these six global leader behaviors (Dorfman, Hanges, & Brodbeck, 2004), we derived five communication styles that we used to measure leadership. We col- lapsed two separate GLOBE categories, Team-Oriented and Participative leadership, into one category “Involved other in decision-making process” based on the communicative moves that the leadership style would exhibit. The five communication styles that were derived were (1) decisive and task oriented; (2) involved others in the decision-making process; (3) modest, compassionate, and supportive; (4) independent and self-reliant; (5) status conscious and procedural. Participants were asked to complete this measure after participating in the simulation, since it was believed that a trait-oriented approach to lead- ership (as opposed to a discursive one) would be easier for them to apply. We used the results to identify the perceived leader of each team.
We also reviewed the transcripts to identify the leaders using discourse methods involving number of turns, turn length, and use of questions. Using these characteris- tics, three persons reviewed the transcripts and identified each member as a leader, a nonleader, or a transitory leader. (A transitory leader exhibits leadership behaviors at various times during an interaction and may share leadership with others. As such, this style of leadership more generally conforms with our collaborative leadership style.) The results were then compared to ensure intercoder reliability.
Methodology for Transcript Analysis
Two methods of analysis were used to interpret the transcript data: turn-taking patterns and interaction analysis. Both methods focus on a turn as the main unit of analysis to observe how contribution changes when multicultural groups involved in decision making are subject to different leadership styles. Turn taking is defined as the ordering of moves that involves the interchange of talking by speakers (Johnstone, 2002).
First, we used turn taking to analyze conversational interaction and to examine dif- ferent leadership styles and group dynamics. Our specific method of analysis of turn taking is based on a model developed by Coates (1993) to analyze the management of naturally occurring interactions in which she describes cooperative and competitive conversation styles in gendered talk.
As alluded to earlier, Coates’s (1993) model of analysis focuses on the following areas: (1) The meaning of questions—are they direct in purpose or used indirectly to
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facilitate conversation? (2) Links between speaker turns—does the speaker acknowl- edge the contribution of the previous speaker or talk on the topic without acknowledg- ing that contribution? (3) Topic shifts—are they abrupt or do speakers build on each other’s contributions? (4) Listening—is the speaker using backchannels or latching? and (5) Simultaneous speech—do the speakers overlap by elaborating on the previous contribution or does the contribution of the second speaker contradict or disrupt that of the first speaker?
These interactional elements are used to analyze how their combination affects the emergence of leadership within groups of business professionals. We followed Schiffrin (1994) and used her transcription conventions (Schiffrin, 1987; see the appendix) based on an earlier version of transcript notations by Jefferson (1979) to transcribe our data. Since we did not focus on gaze or vocal qualities in our analysis, we felt that Schiffrin’s conventions better served our needs. We did not include non- verbal clues, such as gaze and gestures, in our analysis because our focus was on lan- guage and the unit of analysis was limited to a turn as a vehicle to construct leadership in talk. Nonverbal elements may provide additional insights into our understanding of leadership, but they fell beyond the scope of this study.
Second, we used an interaction analysis approach, which involves the categoriza- tion of discourse units according to a predefined set of codes (Bakeman & Gottman, 1986). It is a quantitative approach to discourse analysis that draws from message functions and language structures to assess the frequency and types of verbal interac- tion. More specifically, we tracked member contribution by looking at three variables: the number of turns taken, number of words spoken, and the average turn length. We calculated the number of turns taken by looking at how many times a participant spoke in any given meeting. Turn length was used as another variable to measure member contribution. We measured an average turn length by dividing the total number of words spoken by each speaker by the number of turns they took. We selected a quan- titative approach as a secondary method so as to more fully illuminate the findings from our qualitative analysis.
Findings and Analysis
In the 22 mixed-gender teams, no woman emerged as the unanimously chosen leader by team members. However, in two teams, women were selected by group members as showing leader attributes. This finding contrasts sharply with the results of the dis- course analysis and the identification by three coders who identified eight women emerging as leaders of their respective groups, while in another six groups, women shared leadership with other women or men as transitory leaders. Of the remaining eight groups that were involved in the study, male leaders were identified in five and as sharing leadership in three by transcript coders.
The discussion that follows provides an analysis of leadership emergence in the two teams where at least one participant identified a woman as leader as well as a third situation in which a female unsuccessfully attempted to “do” leadership in her group but was not identified as a leader by any of participants. The first case illustrates the
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Table 2. Contribution to Decision Making by Group Member, Case Study 1.
Speaker Total turns Total words Words per turn
S1 male, English 126 1,077 8.6 S2 male, English 120 970 8 S3 male, English 79 680 8.6 S4 female, English 101 1,398 13.8 S5 female, English 130 1,220 9
emergence of a more collaborative leadership style in which the two female partici- pants identified the same woman as the leader of the group, whereas three male par- ticipants did not identify the female member as a leader in their group. The second case shows the interaction process of a group in which a majority of members were female—four of five—and in which the leader designation was divided between two women and the sole male. The third case illustrates an example of an unsuccessful attempt by a female to assert a leadership role using a cooperative leadership approach in a situation in which one male talks relatively infrequently but when he does, he uses a more direct style of leadership talk.
In the first two cases, the discussion will start with the results of the survey data showing leader attribution results. This discussion will be followed with the interac- tional analysis to reveal who talked the most and the discursive analysis of the leader- ship style used by each participant identified as a leader in the group.
Case Study 1
The first mixed-gender group was composed of five participants, two females and three males. Speaker 4, a female (S4F), identified herself as the leader and also was selected as the leader by the second female, S5F. Both participants marked the com- munication styles “decisive and task oriented” (#1) and “involved others in decision- making process” (#2) as helping them identify the leader. Speaker 1, S1M, a male participant, was selected as the leader by another male, S2M, who identified him as a leader because of the same qualities of being “decisive and task-oriented style” (#1) and “involving others in decision-making process” (#2). Notably, in both of these cases, the participants were looking for the same qualities in a leader but selected dif- ferent persons, of different genders. S1M reported that there was no one leader and said that it was “leadership by consensus,” and a third male S3M was unable to select a clear leader, placing a question mark on the survey.
Table 2 displays the breakdown of the interaction analysis results by speaker in terms of amount of talk and turns taken.
As can be seen in Table 2, S4F, a female participant identified as a leader by herself and S5F, spoke the most words, while S5F, the second female, took the most turns. S1M, who was selected as the leader by another male, came in as the third highest in terms of both turns taken and words spoken, but was very close to another male
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participant S2M who identified S1M as a leader. The interaction analysis shows that despite the fact that different people were identified as leaders, the talk distribution among all participants in this group (number of turns taken and number of words spo- ken) was relatively comparable. The only person who was not contributing as much was a male participant S3M, who was not able to identify the leader and was not iden- tified as a leader himself by anyone else. Thus, his inability to identify a leader might be caused by a relative lack of engagement with the group itself.
We will now look at the communication styles used in this group that led partici- pants to identify the same leadership qualities and yet select different people as leaders.
Use of Questions. In this group, the questions in the very beginning are used to estab- lish the collaborative nature of interaction in the group. The first couple of questions used by several members in the group are used to frame the type of discussion that will follow. It frames the type of discussion as collaborative as the group members are more actively engaged in coconstructing the rules and the process for discussion.
10. S2M: Do we wanna go around and just give like [our top 5? ] 11. S1M: [ What’s the best], what’s the [least]= 12. S5F: [Sure.]
Links Between Turns. In this group, the recognition of previous contributions is minimal but is present and positive. This can be seen in the “Okay” in Line 90 and the “Yeah” of agreement by S4F in Lines 87 and 93 in this example:
87. S4F: [Yeah, and I] figure if you can’t drink the streams, you can use the mirror to help.
88. you melt the water and then [you] just drink the snow. 89. S2M: [Or ] 90. S1F: Okay. 91. S2F: Or I was gonna say, you can, you can melt the snow in the metal can
[from the 92. matches = 93. S4F: [Yeah, that’s
Topic Shifts. Speakers in this group tend to acknowledge and build on the previous speaker’s contribution and topic shifts are not abrupt but rather constructive. For example, in the same excerpt (given above), in Line 91, S2M elaborates on S1M’s idea and proposes a different variation that is introduced as an option by using a connector “or” that does not sound like an abrupt topic shift but more like a productive explora- tion of different alternatives.
Listening. The collaborative nature of the meeting can be seen in multiple backchan- nels that signal listening and agreement, even though they tend to be minimal. S3M
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and S2M use minimal positive acknowledgements of others’ contribution in the form of “Yeah” in Lines 110 and 113. S2M and S5F signal their agreement by using mini- mal responses, “true” in Line 118 and then “right” in Line 120. Lines 122 and 124 show multiple minimal responses, “right right” and then “okay,” that support the pre- vious speaker and validate that the group is moving in the preferred direction in its decision-making process.
108. S5F: Well I put [as] my, my highest, uh the umm, the matches cause like you’re, you’re
109. wet = 110. S3M: [Yeah]. 111. S5F: = [to the] waist, you’re heavily perspiring. You’re going to freeze to
death 112. because it’s = 113. S2M: [Yeah. ] 114. S5F: = it’s almost certainly below freezing at that point and so you need to
first, before 115. anything else get warm and dry. 116. S1M: I had [that,] I had that originally as matches. Actually I had, uh,
matches and 117. Bacardi = 118. S2M: [True]. 119. S1M: = because you can use Bacardi as fuel. 120. S5F: Right. 121. S1M: As lighter fluid. 122. S5F: Right. Right. 123. S2M: Okay.
Simultaneous Speech. In this group, there are frequent overlaps, but they are coopera- tive in the sense that they build on, expand, or productively question the previous speaker’s contribution. For example, S4F and S5F overlap in Lines 281 and 282 when they both elaborate on the same point that there must be wood if they choose to keep matches among their top-priority items. S1M and S2M overlap immediately following S4F and S5F in Lines 283 and 284 reinforcing the need to validate the assumption that there will be branches for them to use, “There’s gotta be . . . ” S4F uses an overlap in Line 285 to question this assumption but not as an abrupt interruption. Rather, she productively builds on the previous speakers’ contributions and introduces an element of doubt that is put out there for the group to discuss as they move forward with their decision making, “But will there be?”
277. S1M: You need . . . 278. S4F: z You need fuel. But, [what ] are we gonna do? Are we gonna burn a 279. tree =
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280. S1M: [XXX]. 281. S4F: down? [Are we gonna hope that there’s branches, right, right . . . ] 282. S5F: [There’s XXX dead wood on the ground ] [XXX XXX] 283. S1M: [We’re gonna XXX but there’s gotta be] 284. S2M: [There’s gotta be . . . ] 285. S4F: [But will there ] be?
In summary, this group’s method of decision making might be characterized as col- laborative in terms of leadership style in which participants use questions to frame the interaction and to check for agreement among members. They acknowledge some of the contribution of others but more commonly build on other’s statements producing smooth topic shifts, even though these contributions may overlap with those of others. Because of this fast-paced interaction aimed primarily at collaborating to produce a solution, few active listening techniques are used. In this interaction, the women’s approach to the discussion was very similar to that of the males in the group. Regardless of this similarity, though, the collaborative leadership style used by both female and male participants in this group resulted in a split identification of leadership among group members. Obviously, something else is at work then that is affecting leadership attribution.
Case Study 2
In this team, four participants were female and one was male. Two persons, a male and a female participant, identified S3F as the leader, two females, including S5F herself, identified S5F as the leader, and one participant S3F identified S1M, the male partici- pant, as the leader.
Reviewing the characteristics that members selected in identifying a leader, S5F was selected by herself for “involving others in decision making” and by another member as being “decisive and task oriented.” S3F was selected as the leader by the male member for being “status conscious and procedural”; the female who selected S3F as a leader did not identify the main characteristic that she used to determine the leader. S1M, the male team member, was identified as a leader by the fourth female for “involving others in decision making.” As these indicators show, not every member is looking for the same characteristic in a leader, and there is no pattern that emerges in terms of gendered preferences (see Table 3).
Looking at the results of the interaction analysis, S5F and S3F had very similar turn lengths (10.7 and 10.8 words per turn, respectively), but because S5F took more turns, 183 compared with 131 turns taken by S3F, she ended up with the largest number of words spoken, 1,962 compared with 1,414 by S3F. We can say, then, that if we look at the amount of talk as an indicator of leadership, S5F and S3F would likely be in the running. What amount of talk does not explain, however, is the selection of S1M by one participant as the group leader. He took only 82 turns and spoke only 740 words,
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half of what S3F and S5F did. This selection then may indicate a gender bias or that S3F saw something in his speech or manner that seemed more “leader-like” to her. This is particularly difficult to judge since she did not identify a specific leader characteristic.
We will now look at the leadership styles used by the three persons selected as the group leader to see whether this might influence leadership choice.
Use of Questions. S3F starts off by exhibiting the directive leadership style that corre- sponds to a masculine discourse style and is often marked by questions that are meant to direct and challenge members. For example, in Line 53 she uses a tag question to defend and reassert her decision.
53. S3F: Cause I would think, we gotta do something. Right? I mean we can’t just sit here. 54. and die. But on the other hand the way that they’re making it seem is that if we venture 55. out it’s almost sure death because you’ve got what ice, water that we can’t cross 56. S5F: I don’t know [about that]
In what follows, S3F uses a tag question in Lines 79 and 80 to further advance her decision to move rather than wait and in a way, challenges another option voiced by other team members.
77. S3F: That’s true. So they say that the streams and the lakes and all that stuff are 78. innumerable strands, lakes so we would have to cross over some of
these really cold 79. wide rivers or whatever it is. So I think that we could die [doing that] I really do. Don’t 80. you? 81. S2F: [Oh, sorry] 82. S1M: Yeah 83. S4F: Want us to use the rope [or one another thing canvas]
Table 3. Contribution to Decision Making by Group Member, Case Study 2.
Speaker Total turns Total words Words per turn
S1 male, English 82 740 9 S2 female, English 61 460 7.5 S3 female, English 131 1,414 10.8 S4 female, English 42 287 6.8 S5 female, English 183 1,962 10.7
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What is interesting about S3F is that her attempt at leadership is not accepted by other team members but is contested by explicit disagreement, when S5F in Line 56 says, “I don’t know about that,” or by continued discussion of the previously introduced topic without acknowledging S3F (Lines 81-83).
After a few more unsuccessful attempts at leadership using a directive style, S3F moderates and shifts to a more collaborative leadership style. Her questions become more group oriented, checking for agreement, consolidating multiple contributions, and framing interaction, as in Line 181, “So what have we so far? Compass, book, alarm clock.” Her links between turns become collaborative rather than competitive by acknowledging previous contributions as in Lines 158-159:
158. S3F: That’s fine, yeah, that’s fine. If we are going to stay, there are a couple of things that 159. we don’t need. Northstar navigation I have as 15. 160. S1M: [Agree] 161. S2F: [I do too]
S3F shows active listening by using backchannels, such as “yeah,” “o.k.” in Line 232:
231. S5F: I was just saying seems like the things we’re keeping [so far] 232. S3F: [Yeah] Um. Ok [so] 244. S4F: [It’s important] but we have other things that are more important.
S3F switches to using simultaneous speech not as an interruption but either as coop- erative overlaps or as a productive way to express a disagreement with the previous contribution as in Line 154; S3F questions the decision to rank the items without hav- ing agreed on the purpose of these items. This cooperative overlap prompts S5F to revisit the premise of decision making. This exchange is representative of the features of a collaborative leadership style.
151. S2F: Either way we have to rank them. 152. S1M: If we move we need more things basically because 153. S2F: But [we can’t 154. S3M: [But I’m just] saying we can’t rank them and then say oh this isn’t working 155. Out. Let’s go back to go 157. S5F: Let’s go back to staying and see what you guys are thinking.
S5F, on the other hand, uses a relatively uniform leadership style that includes ele- ments of the collaborative style but is also marked by significant contributions and that does not rely exclusively on other team members’ contributions to the decision-mak- ing process, as seen in Case Study 1. S5F often times changes the direction of the meeting but does so in a different way than the directive leadership style initially used
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by S3F. She is constructing her authority by offering significant contributions to the discussion that are not driven by a more self-centered need to control the outcome of the discussion by centering her claims in “I” statements, but instead, she offers solid grounds for her claims, providing a logical basis for her arguments and ultimately marking her as a leader in some participants’ eyes. For example, from Lines 60 to 65, S5F questions the rationale of staying but in a less challenging and directive way than S3F does at the beginning of the meeting, and, as a result of her assertiveness, keeps the floor and has other members of the team seriously entertain her observation:
58. S5F: I don’t know [about that] 59. S3F: [Can’t cross] 60. S5F: I’m not trying to be difficult. I’m just saying I don’t know about that. I
am concerned 61. about you won’t die there is plenty of water, water purification there’s
maple syrup 62. which is plenty of sugar to get you through the number of days we have
lots of 63. navigation but what we don’t know is when will people come by. If we’re just sitting 64. there you’re still going to have to use your syrup. Still going to have to get water and 65. use those other things 66. S4F: But you’ll use a lot less energy by just sitting there.
S5F uses questions to clarify statements made by other participants, as shown in Line 7 in the following excerpt:
5. S4F: [We just] say what we do individually [but as a] group z 6. S3F: [Right] 7. S5F: Why do you say two different things we have to do? 8. S2F: Because we also gotta decide if we are going to stay at the site [or go]
Or to check for agreement as shown in Line 74 below:
71. S3F: Ok. 72. S5F: I mean. 73. S3F: So you wanna vote? 74. S5F: Are you guys still all for staying? 75. S1M: Yeah
In all instances, the questions used by S5F are elicitations that help build an all-inclu- sive context for decision making. In contrast, S1M asked few questions; instead, his part in the discussion consisted almost entirely of responses to questions, many of which were aimed at the group as a whole. He often took the initiative to answer them before others had a chance as if he used them rhetorically rather than as actual questions to team members.
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Links Between Turns. S5F showed strategies for linking to previous speakers. The links were acknowledging previous contribution and building on it, even if it means offering an alternative view that the group does not agree with (e.g., S5F in Lines 24 below):
21. S1M: You need to know a lot more if you’re going to move. 22. S4F: That’s a lot. 23. S3F: So, one more time. 24. S5F: So I mean normally I would say staying is a good idea if you think that people are coming by. What we don’t know is how often people are coming by. Fifty miles
SF5 handles the disagreement in a constructive way, acknowledging previous con- tributions but not contesting or challenging them. Similarly, in Line 41 and then again in Line 43, S5F disagrees with S3F, but does so in a way that moves the joint decision making forward without directly challenging other participants:
40. S3F: Cause I would think, we gotta do something. Right? I mean we can’t just sit here and die. But on the other hand the way that they’re making it seem is that if we venture out it’s almost sure death because you’ve got what ice, water that we can’t cross 41. S5F: I don’t know [about that] 42. S3F: [Can’t cross] 43. S5F: I’m not trying to be difficult. I’m just saying I don’t know about that. I am concerned about you won’t die there is plenty of water, water purification there’s maple syrup which is plenty of sugar to get you through the number of days we have lots of navigation but what we don’t know is when will people come by. If we’re just sitting there you’re still going to have to use your syrup. Still going to have to get water and use those other things.
This way, S5F demonstrates a leadership style that is different from the directive one. We have labeled this style as assertive leadership. Rather than dominating the meet- ing, S5F stands strong for her position, finally conceding and becoming an active participant in the discussion that follows. For her, the priority is to make sure that her opinion is taken into full consideration before making the final decision. It is not about the group simply accepting her point of view (directive leadership style); it is about stating her point of view with supporting explanation as well as considering other perspectives to reach the best decision given all available information.
In contrast, S1M did not link to other’s contributions, but primarily made assertions about his preferences or opinion on the matter at hand, commonly in response to a question.
Topic Shifts. Topic shifts exhibited by both S3F and S5F are smooth and relevant to the discussion at hand. For example, in Line 70, S5F introduces a new topic, which is her concern over the group’s prioritized list items, but she does it in a way that enhanced the decision-making process by opening a discussion on alternative scenarios that were not previously considered by the group.
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67. S2F: And then also isn’t it going to be darker more because [of XXXX] 68. S5F: [It’s October] 69. S1M: Yeah 70. S5F: Alright my biggest concern is that no planes are going to come by and
we’ll be just sitting there and we don’t have food and things like that. If it’s a matter of I mean, I recognize the rest of the water and things like that. I don’t see 50 miles
or even 30 miles as being that difficult of a walk. Even with the terrain I mean it’s sev-
eral days it’s not weeks and weeks.
In contrast, S1M changes the topic by directly and emphatically stating his dis- agreement as in the following statement:
S1M: I’m not, I’m not buying it. I’m not dying dehydrated. I’m putting my foot down. I’m not dying dehydrated z
Listening. S3F uses a moderate amount of backchannels to signal listening and agree- ment, as show in Line 232 and Line 246 below:
231. S5F: I was just saying seems like the things we’re keeping [so far] 232. S3F: [Yeah] Um. Ok [so] 244. S4F: [It’s important] but we have other things that are more important. 245. S2F: [Yeah] 246. S5F: [Yeah] If you’re going to say that we have matches and an axe to get more wood. How many different things do we need to burn? We’re in a place that has abundant amounts of wood.
In contrast, S5F and to a much greater extent S1M use minimal backchannels in the form of “yeah.”
Simultaneous Speech. In this group, participants use simultaneous speech either as cooperative overlaps or productive way to express a disagreement with the previous contribution, for example, in Line 154, S3F questions the decision to rank the items without having agreed on the purpose of these items. This cooperative overlap prompts S5F to revisit the premise of decision making. It is representative of the features of cooperative leadership style.
151. S2F: Either way we have to rank them. 152. S1M: If we move we need more things basically because z 153. S2F: But [we can’t
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154. S3M: [But I’m just] saying we can’t rank them and then say oh this isn’t working 155. Out. Let’s go back to go 156. z 157. S5F: Let’s go back to staying and see what you guys are thinking.
In summary, the group interaction shows some aspects of the collaborative leader- ship style, particularly as used by S3F in acknowledging previous contributions, using smooth topic shifts, demonstrating active listening, and using cooperative overlaps. In contrast, S1M uses elements that might be more characteristic of the directive leader- ship style. S5F, on the other hand, is more assertive than S3F but differs from S1M. She uses elements of the directive style, which is characterized by minimal listening acknowledgment and few links between turns. However, she is more collaborative, especially in her use of questions. She uses them not to direct members (directive style) but to check for agreement and frame interaction. As we mentioned earlier, for her, the interaction is not about forcing her preferences on others but making sure her opinion and expertise are taken into full consideration before a final decision is made. We labeled this leadership style “assertive leader” and included this type in Table 4 to represent an expanded list of leadership styles.
Case Study 3
This example illustrates how choosing a leadership style that is not recognized or pre- ferred by the group may result in a failed attempt at leading. In the example below, S6, a female participant, attempts to establish herself as an active participant in the deci- sion-making process using discursive moves characteristic of the cooperative leader- ship style.
Simultaneous Speech. In the following example, S6F tries to take the floor by overlap- ping to acknowledge the contribution of the previous speaker and elaborating on the topic initiated by S4M.
S4M: Alright. See the thing is, I, I think it’s more important to survive first before you start moving, cause 50 miles, no matter how fast you walk will still take you like about, um, if you’re with all that stuff maybe 5, 6 days. So you have to make sure you can survive first cause no matter what you’re gonna have to stop and rest. [So] [I figured it would be more important to . . . ] S3F: [XX] S6F: [Yeah, especially it’s, uh . . . ] close to arctic. S4M: [Yeah.]
As can be seen in this interaction, the willingness to put forth an argument by S4M is similar to the exchanges of S3F and S5F in Case Study 2. S4M acknowledges S6F’s contribution with a brief “yeah” but does not apparently feel the need to build on it.
o f q
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Links Between Turns. S6F does not speak again until a few minutes later in the meeting, when she talks on the topic directly connected to what has been said before: “[I think, ] so it’s October, close to Arctic, cause I’ve been to Alaska in the August, uh, the, uh in August the day, there, the day is really long . . . ”
Just as in her first attempt, S6F uses a cooperative overlap and contributes addi- tional content by showing some expertise relevant to the situation with her statement, “I’ve been to Alaska in August.”
30. S3M: z Yeah, that’s true. [I was thinking of that] too. 31. S6F: [You have to ] z take it into consideration.
In her next turn, S6F receives validation from S3M in Line 30 (given above), at which point she overlaps again in Line 31.
Listening. S6F uses minimal responses in the form of yeah and mhm to signal listening.
Later on in the discussion, S5F challenges S6F by noting, “September is the fall, um, is the end of September is the equinox. So you’re getting about a 12 to 12 at, by October 5th.” S6F attempts to defend her statement “October, the day should be much longer than the night,” but after S5F continues to pursue her point, S6F finally con- cedes, “Oh, right.” At this point, S3M changes the topic, “Maybe, maybe we should determine what is most useless before what’s most important” and S6F overlaps again in agreement, “right.” She makes no further attempt to contribute in the meeting.
As shown, S6F uses some of discursive moves that are more characteristic of a cooperative leadership style. She acknowledges the contribution of the previous speaker and connects to and builds on the previous speaker’s topic on all occasions. But she did not use some of the more assertive methods of talk, such as questioning and changing the topic of discussion. This more stereotypically feminine style of lead- ership as enacted by S6F does not gain much traction in this particular group. The more directive style exhibited by S5M and S3M essentially serves to eventually silence S6F, even though she has demonstrated some expertise relevant to the discussion.
As this analysis shows, the results of our survey provide little evidence that men and women are looking for different characteristics in their choice of a leader; both tend to prefer task-oriented leaders and those that involve others, to varying degrees. Regardless, our survey results indicate that both genders tend to select males as the leader, even though both genders may exhibit these characteristics during group interactions. This finding indicates there is likely a gender bias in leadership perception, and this is sup- ported by our use of discourse analysis techniques to identify the leader in which our coders found that women were using some discourse techniques typically associated with a masculine style. Specifically, these involved taking more turns, producing more words, and using questions to move the task forward or illicit involvement from others.
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The results of this analysis found that women were leaders in the majority of groups, even though they were not generally recognized as such by their members, regardless of member gender.
In the three case studies that have been reviewed here, there does seem to be a pref- erence for a more aggressive style of leadership, the directive style, exhibited by the male participants. The two females in Case Study 1 tended to be more assertive and direct and less supportive in terms of recognizing others’ contributions. This led to a more collaborative approach to leadership within that group, even though only one member noted this style—consensus or collaboration—on his survey. In the second case study, a fourth style of leadership emerged, one in which a female member used some aspects of the cooperative style to recognize others but also put forth sustained arguments to support her position, while a second female began by using a more direc- tive style but then changed to a collaborative approach. The male in this group tended to favor the directive approach, even though he contributed much less than the two previously mentioned women. In this case, we can see at least two women adapting their discourse behaviors to better suit the group’s decision-making process. The women appeared to be more responsive to the group dynamic, or context, and thus at least intuitively recognized that leadership is coconstructed by other group members in the sense that they must accept or adapt to the discourse that is being produced. This observation illustrates how a trait approach to leadership oversimplifies the process of leadership production in the sense that it does not necessarily reside in a single indi- vidual but is negotiated among participants, depending on contextual factors.
The third case study shows a female using a cooperative style without success in a group in which two males are using the directive approach. Clearly in this case, the female participant did not adapt her preferred leadership style to that of the group. Her style of leadership, the cooperative one, apparently was not recognized as such, at least in this case, by members of this particular community of practice.
Conclusion and Implications
As this study shows, women participants were not generally recognized as leaders in decision-making groups, at least not in the traditionally masculine cultural setting of an MBA program in a business school where only 20% to 30% of the students are female.2 This study attempts to illuminate one possible cause of this stereotyping: The type of leadership style that women tend to exhibit may not be recognized by others as “doing” leadership by members of this particular type of organizational culture or community of practice. No women were unanimously selected as “the leader” by any group, but in the few groups in which some women were recognized as demonstrating leadership characteristics, the females used either a collaborative or assertive style of leadership talk. These results also suggest that regardless of whether women know how to demonstrate expected leadership behaviors, they may still be ignored or not recognized by others as a leader. The results of our survey show a clear bias toward men as leaders, regardless of whether women demonstrated leadership skills, at least in a masculine organizational culture.
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As such, it may do little good to teach or train women in leadership skills if they work in an organizational culture that values masculine leadership traits over others. As this study indicates, it is likely they will not be recognized as a leader regardless of their ability to lead. If true, organizations need to devote more resources to proactively developing organizational cultures that are more supportive and collaborative, that is, more feminine, if they hope to create environments where bias against women is reduced. In fact, a recent study by the Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor (2014) predicts that the new global workplace will require a new, more “feminine” leadership communication archetype because, according to the study, female leaders outperform male leaders on most important leader attributes. It predicts the end of the traditional macho leadership style era, strong, silent, imperious, domineering, and invariably arrogant—in favor of transparency, collaboration, genuine dialogue, clear values, and the alignment of words and deeds.
Business schools thus need to do a much better job of educating and training stu- dents and employees about the importance of developing organizational cultures that are more inclusive. In doing so, leadership needs to be treated, not simply as a collec- tion of traits, but perhaps more accurately as a set of communication practices that can be contested and that construct leadership jointly and temporally. This focus on com- munication makes the need to discuss organizational cultures using the framework of community of practice obvious. That is, understanding how organizational culture is created through talk means that business schools should educate students to better understand this concept as well as the elements and value of ways of speaking in creat- ing more inclusive organizations. To put this more bluntly, teaching women to enact masculine leadership behaviors will likely not aid in improving their numbers in man- agement. Instead, business schools need to focus on the value of changing organiza- tional cultures to become more supportive and inclusive and to understand the value of talk in creating those realities.
As this study indicates, discourse analysis can provide a more finer grained approach to study both the production of organizational cultures and leadership. For example, it is likely that students and employees hold unexamined stereotypes about the type of talk that may be recognized as “leadership” in certain organizational set- tings. Education on the elements of talk and their use in creating different styles of leadership may help open up the possibilities for what is considered leadership and in turn, better enable women, and others who do not fall within a certain stereotypical field, to be seen as leaders within organizations. Understanding that discourse also provides the building blocks of culture can enable managers to more proactively and confidently engage in creating more supportive, inclusive work environments.
A key step is to understand culture not as something an organization has but as something an organization is. In this latter view, “an organization is an expressive form, a manifestation of human consciousness. The social world is seen as constructed by people and reproduced by the network of symbols and meanings that people share and that make shared action possible” (Alvesson, 2013, p. 22). Exerting greater efforts to identify the types of leadership communication behaviors that are recognized in organizational cultures or particular communities of practice and then educating
Walker and Aritz 475
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
members to be more aware of and more accepting of various leadership styles and ways of talking “reality into being” may help resolve some of the “glass ceiling” issues faced by women that have been well documented elsewhere.
This article provides educators and managers with the tools to begin looking at how leadership manifests in discourse in very explicit and concrete ways and its reception (or not) by others. The outcome may provide significant potential for improving orga- nizational cultures and communities of practice in terms of the greater recognition that women and others might receive with a broader view of what leadership is and a resulting payoff in productivity and knowledge production and dissemination. But this change will not come easily. As Gordon (2010) and Reardon and Reardon (1999) have noted, efforts to change traditionally masculine cultures where masculine forms of power are unquestioned and entrenched are difficult, at best. Even so, this knowledge should be widely distributed so that women who strive to take leadership roles can make more informed choices about the organizations they choose to join.
Transcription Symbols Used From Schiffrin (1987)
. falling intonation followed by noticeable pause (as at end of declarative sentence) ? rising intonation followed by noticeable pause (as at end of interrogative sentence) , continuing intonation: may be a slight rise or fall in contour (less than “.” or “?”; may be followed by a pause (shorter than “.” or “?”) ! animated tone . . . noticeable pause or break in rhythm without falling intonation - self interruption with glottal stop : lengthened syllable Italics emphatic stress CAPS very emphatic stress = continuous speech [ ] overlap; starting point of overlap is marked by a left-hand bracket, and the ending point of overlap is marked by a right-hand bracket z symbol used when speech from B follows speech from A without perceptible pause
476 International Journal of Business Communication 52(4)
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Robyn C. Walker is an associate professor of Clinical Management Communication at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She teaches busi- ness communication courses and conducts research on small group communication, cross- cultural issues, leadership, and business discourse.
Jolanta Aritz is a professor of Clinical Management Communication at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She teaches business communication courses in the Marshall undergraduate and graduate programs and conducts research on small group communication, cross-cultural issues, leadership, and business discourse.
Psychological Reports, 1995, 76, 483-492. O Psychological Reports 1995
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE '
M. M. PETTY AND N. A. BEADLES I1 CHRISTOPHER M. LOWERY
University of Akzbama Georgia College
DEBORAH F. CHAPMAN DAVID W. CONNELL
University of Alabama The Southern Company
Summary.-Data on measures of organizational culture and organizational per- formance were collected at two different points in time from a sample of 12 or- ganizations of a firm in the electric utility industry. Pearson correlations indicated measures of organizational culture were signiEicantly related to objective measures of performance. Teamwork was strongly associated with organizational performance. If measures of organizational culture could be integrated into the reward system, manag- ers might pay more attention to improving organizational culture and thereby improve organizational performance.
The concept of organizational culture has been viewed as an important paradigm for organizational analysis by providmg a dynamic and interactive model of organizing Uelmek, Smircich, & Hirsch, 1983; Smircich, 1983). It is important to theorists in providing another way to understand organiza- tions. For practitioners of management, the relationship between culture and performance postulated by organizational analysts makes organizational cul- ture a significant consideration; however, among researchers there is some disagreement as to whether corporate culture actually has any effect upon organizational performance. While some have argued that it exerts a power- ful effect upon firms' performance (Barney, 1986; Deal & Kennedy, 1982; Denison, 1984; Goll & Sambharya, 1990; Peters & Waterman, 1982; Wiener, 1988), others argue that there is either no such lmk or that the rela- tionship has no measurable effect (Arogyaswamy & Byles, 1987; P. D. Rey- nolds, 1986; Saffold, 1988). The purpose of this paper was to investigate em- pirically the relationship between organizational culture and organizational performance.
Defining Culture Organizational culture is not a particularly easy concept to address. Part
of the difficulty lies in its definition for the concept is borrowed from the anthropological literature and the researchers who have applied it to organi- zations and a business context have defined culture differently and disagree
'Address correspondence to Christo her M. Lowery, Department of Management, Georgia College, Campus Box 01 1, ~ i l l e d ~ e v i f e , GA 3 1061.
484 M. M. PETTY, ET AL.
somewhat as to the precise nature of the construct. Ln their introduction to the Administrative Science Quarterly special issue on culture, Jehnek, et al. (1983) observed that the concept of culture is not well-developed and that it may be desirable to have a range of approaches rather than one fixed defini- tion. A survey of the literature indicates that there are several definitions for culture but these varied definitions of culture principally represent two broad categories, those which describe culture in an overt fashion and those which treat it as an underlying force. Although these appear to be the two primary approaches, some researchers have fashioned definitions by combin- ing these two views (Bowles, 1987; Uttal, 1983).
The first group views culture as how an organization sets strategy, develops goals, measures progress, and defines products and markets. Cul- ture is considered as a mechanism for governing rational behavior, a system of broad rules for appropriate action under specified contingencies (Carnerer & Vepsalainen, 1988). Those who hold this view tend to write for and from a practitioner's perspective and consequently often seem to regard culture as at least partially malleable and thus amenable to managerial intervention.
The second group focuses on underlying systems of unconscious - . assumptions and beliefs which are shared by members of an organization (Schein, 1989) and expressed via symbols, ceremonies, and myths (Ouchi, 1981). Most researchers who lean towards this view agree that an organiza- tion's value system is a key element to the definition of culture (Arogyas- wamy & Byles, 1987; Deal & Kennedy, 1982; Peters & Waterman, 1982; Wiener, 1988). Adherents often view culture as static, as resistant to change. Yet even here we find that authors who write for practicing managers ap- pear to view culture as more dynamic than their anthropological and chical peers. In this paper we seek to resolve some of the conflict between the two views by proposing that the two views of culture are not in confict but are rather complementary. The second is more static because it takes a long- term view of culture while the first is more short term. We view culture as essentially a long-term m hen omen on (the second view) and yet as one which, to be useful from an organizational development perspective, can be affected and observed within a shorter time. In this way, the two definitions are not mutually exclusive but are complementary.
Measuring Culture In addition to the Miculty in defining culture, problems also arise
when researchers attempt to measure organizational culture. Even though considerable attention has been directed toward culture as an important fea- ture of organizations, few attempts have been made to develop systematic measures of culture (P. D. Reynolds, 1986). This lack of effective measure- ment appears to be related to the nature of the definitions of culture, most of which permit only qualitative research. As a result, the methods of mea-
ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND PERFORMANCE 485
surement tend to be qualitative, descriptive, and categorical rather than quantitative. If culture is defined as underlying values which can only be expressed-and so assessed-via symbols, myths, and ceremonies, then the measurement must be qualitative. Usually those who favor quahtative over quantitative research contend that cultural processes reflect a social con- struction of reahty unique to the organization and so are impossible to assess with standardized measures (Cooke & Rousseau, 1988).
These quahtative methods tend to be either descriptive or categorical. The descriptive methods characterize organizational culture and its effects observationally; they idenufy whether explanatory traits are evident within organizations. In this vein, Shemood (1988) identified five characteristics of a "high-commitment" work culture, Barney (1986) described organizational culture by evaluating whether a strong set of core managerial values exist, and Camerer and Vepsalainen (1988) distinguished four dunensions of cul- ture. In each case the method employed was description by a primary ob- server.
The categorical methods are also based on observation with the bound- ary lines more clearly drawn. Deal and Kennedy (1982) were the first to categorize culture as "strong" versus "weak," a view which was further developed by Clark (1987). Saffold (1988) proposed an alternative categori- zation based on measures of cultural dispersion and potency. Wiener (1988) classified companies based on a four-cell matrix which dlvided organizations by the strength of the value system.
As for empirical research, several attempts have been made to assess organizational culture quantitatively. Denison (1984) constructed a question- naire to measure managerial style as employees' participation. P. D. Rey- nolds (1986) developed an instrument to capture aspects of organizational culture and the perceived work context of the individual, while Cooke and Rousseau (1988) proposed the Organizational Culture Inventory as a means of assessing culture in terms of behavioral norms and expectations. Lastly, Goll and Sambharya (1990) measured culture in terms of top management ideology. All of these attempts arise from concepts other than ethnography.
Much of the practitioner-oriented literature seemingly combines these two conceptual and methodological approaches. In proposing schemas of effective corporate cultures, the authors retell myths and stories which indi- cate the nature of the cultures of effective organizations. The focus of this literature is often on cultural change. In their recommendations for changing cultures, advising companies to change their corporate stories and myths is avoided; instead, top management is encouraged to become aware of the current culture and then change that culture by developing explicit state- ments of value, by building consensus, by the reinforcement of these values via managerial behavior and reward systems, and by the socialization of the members of the organization (MacMdan, 1983; Schein, 1989).
486 M. M. PETTY, ET AL
Thus, the use of culture as a concept in organizational change and development does not put the two perspectives regardmg culture into con- a c t with one another. Authors apparently unconsciously recognize the comple- mentary relationship of the perspectives. Since myths, stories, and rituals take time to develop and become representative of a particular culture, the culture of an organization may change before these manifestations become apparent. In fact, if cultural change is to occur, it must occur first and then be represented by the manifestations subsequent to that change. As a result, it can be argued that the two perspectives on the measurement of culture are at least partially complementary. Quahtative measures which focus on the elements of culture manifested in myth, story, and ritual can be seen as long-term measures. Quantitative measures, on the other hand, may allow researchers to assess whether attempts at changing culture are currently effective. These short-run measures may give those who are implementing the change some level of intermediate feedback on their progress.
Culture-Performance Relationship While, as recounted above, some attempts have been made to measure
organizational culture, this line of inquiry has also led to an investigation of the relationship of organizational culture to other organizational-level vari- ables. Organizational effecriveness, arguably the most important variable at this level, has been examined.
Qualitative analysis led Barney (1986) to state that a firm which has a valuable, rare, and imperfectly imitable culture enjoys a sustained competi- tive advantage. Camerer and Vepsalainen (1988) predcted that firms would be effective if their cultures solved the management problem of governing economic activity efficiently. Within Wiener's (1988) "shared values" frame- work, the functional-traditional cultural style was considered the most likely to contribute to the development of "proper" values and, consequently, to organizational effectiveness.
Denison (1984), using concrete performance indicators and a quantita- tive measurement methodology, reported that companies with a participative culture reaped a return on investment which averaged nearly twice that of firms with less efficient cultures. Denison's conclusion was that cultural and behavioral aspects of organizations were intimately linked to both short-term performance and long-term survival.
However, the existence of a positive link between culture and perform- ance has not gained unanimous acceptance. Accordmg to Saffold (1988), the link between culture and performance is not a straightforward one. P. D. Reynolds (1986) concluded that there was little evidence of an association between organizational performance and one particular element of organiza- tional culture, perceived work context. Also, Arogyaswamy and Byles (1987) concluded that organizational culture was not crucial to performance but was just one of many explanatory variables.
ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND PERFORMANCE 487
The purpose of the present study was to explore quantitatively the rela- tionship between organizational performance and culture. We hypothesized that measures of culture would be significantly and positively correlated with objectively measured organizational performance.
METHOD According to Albert (1987), the starting point in guiding employees' be-
havior and performance is a formal statement of management philosophy and key values, supported by actual managerial practice. It is not enough merely to identdy an organization's uniqueness; one must also communicate this effectively to employees (~lemens,. 1986). In an effort to develop an "effective" culture, the chief executive officer of the focal company in this study developed a statement of desirable values for the organization. This statement was termed a "Vision Statement" and was communicated to the employees via presentations and on-site publicity. It contained key words, e.g., integrity, trust, candor, quality, value, innovation, teamwork, dgnity, and service, and was framed to emphasize the values that the organization should uphold, values to which its members were to be committed.
A survey instrument was developed to measure the values held by workers within the firm and to assess whether the values enumerated in the Vision Statement were being accepted by the employees. The measures of culture were developed through a process involving the employees of the company. Groups of employees discussed the Vision Statement and were asked to indcate what behaviors they believed should be occurring in a work environment which was reflective of the Vision Statement.
Based on these discussions a 55-item survey was developed and re- viewed by company executives. The survey2 was administered to 3977 employees across the entire company. A factor analysis of these items using the principal components method (SAS, 1985) idenufied four scales which measured corporate culture; these were Teamwork, Trust and Credibhty, Performance and Common Goals, and Organizational Functioning. Esti- mates of internal consistency rehability were .94 for Teamwork, .92 for Trust and Credib~lit~, .88 for Performance and Common Goals, and .70 for Orga- nizational Functioning. Definitions of these scales are provided in Table 1. The survey was then administered to 832 employees in 12 organizations of the focal company, a firm in the electric u t h y industry with approximately 11,000 employees and operations in several states. The 12 organizations were service organizations within the firm. One year later, the same survey was administered to 884 employees in these 12 service organizations (these ad- ministrations were designated "Time I " and "Time 2").
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488 M. M. PETTY, ET AL
TABLE 1 THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF CULTURE
Teamwork: Items 1oadmg on this dimension indicate the extent to which people in a work group see cooperative behaviors occurring. Such behaviors include sharing in- formation, helping others wich their work, seeking ways to help the work group meet its goals, involving those affected by a course of action, sharing resources, making sacrifices for the good of the group, and being rewarded for working as a team.
Trust and Credibhty: This dimension involves the degree to which employees observe managers behaving in ways that encourage employees to believe what managers tell them, and the extent to which employees trust managers to meet their commitments. Such behaviors include having open, two-way communications with supervisors, feel- ing listened to, being treated fairly by managers relative to evaluations, promotions, and raises, being able to take initiative and to make errors without excessive fear of reprisal, and being encouraged to express opinions freely without apprehension.
Performance and Common Goals: This dimension reflects the extent to which employ- ees observe people in their work group behaving in ways consistent with a desire to improve productivity, reduce costs, and become more eficient and effective. Such be- haviors include seeing people finding ways to use materials previously discarded, clearly defining goals for their work group that are realistic and challenging, and hav- ing a sense of commonahty of goals.
Organizational Functioning: This dimension represents a collection of observed behav- iors that are indicative of frustrations or sources of interference with getting the work done. These observations include having incompatible goals, having to wait on others to complete their work, not having the parts/supplies when they are needed, finding the work of multiple groups are not well coordinated, or having to work with defec- rive or inappropriate equipment.
Responses to each item on a scale were scored using six points an- chored by 6 , "strongly agree," and 1, "strongly dsagree," for positively worded items and by 1, "strongly agree," and 6 , "strongly disagree," for negatively worded items. The four organizational culture scales were scored fo; each individual employee who completed the survey instrument. The scale scores were computed as the mean response of the item scores for each scale. Theoretically, the scale scores could range from a low of 1.0 to a high of 6.0.
Organizational performance data were collected for two fiscal years (Time 1 and Time 2) for all 12 service organizations. The organizational per- formance measure, developed previously by the focal company for evaluating the performance of its service organizations, was a summary of five objective measures of organizational performance (Operations, Customer Accounting, Support Services, Marketing, and Employee Safety and Health). Quantitative measures of these components were converted to a 0-to-lO scale, multiplied by a relative weight, and then summed to form the score for each category. The maximum score for each category was 1000. The scores for all five cate- gories were then summed to obtain over-all scores for each organization. In
ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND PERFORMANCE 489
the view of the focal organization, the use of the summary measure rather than the individual components was the appropriate method for measuring performance.
Note that a particular strength of this study lies in the fact that all measures were developed internally within the company. In particular, the measure of performance was an objective indcator of organizational effec- tiveness which was used by the company in evaluation, not simply one which the researchers thought appropriate. In the same vein, the measures of culture were also what the company deemed important. The culture mea- sures were organizationally specific, reflecting the view that each organiza- tion is in the best position to decide what is relevant in terms of culture (Barney, 1986).
Analysis involved correlational techniques. The data consisted of both performance measures and culture measures for 12 organizations at two points in time. Three different sets of correlations were computed: the static correlations for the 12 organizations at Times 1 and 2, and the lagged corre- lations between culture at Time 1 and performance at Time 2.
RESULTS The means and standard deviations of the variables are contained in Ta-
ble 2. In Table 3 are the Pearson correlations among the variables for the 12 organizations at Time 1 and Time 2, and the correlations between culture at Time 1 and performance at Time 2. As can be seen, summary performance was significantly, positively correlated with three of the four measures of cul- ture (Teamwork, Trust and Cre&bihty, and Performance and Common
Performance was not significantly associated with Organizational Functioning.
TABLE 2 MEANS AND STANDARD DEVLA~ONS AT TIME 1 AND TIME 2
Variable M SD
Time 1 Teamwork 4.32 0.15 Trust and Credibility 3 .a4 0.18 Organizational Functioning 3.70 0.13 PerformancdCommon Goals 4.58 0.11 Objective Performance 3889.58 311.80
Time 2 Teamwork 4.40 0.17 Trust and Credibility 3.92 0.20 Org~lnlzational Functioning 3.81 0.18 Pe~formancdCommon Goals 4.62 0.12 Objective Performance 4040.83 330.70
Of the values for the 12 organizations at Time 2 contained in Table 3 , only one was statistically significant. Summary performance was positively as- sociated only with Teamwork.
490 M. M. PETTY, ET AL.
TABLE 3 PWON CORREIATIONS FOR VARIABLES AT TIMES 1 A N D 2 AND FOR
CULTURE AT TIME 1 AND PERFORMANCE AT TIME 2 (ns = 12)
Variable 1 2 3 4 5
Time 1 1. Teamwork 2. Trust and Credibility .80$ 3. Organizational Functioning .17 .3 6 4. Performance/Common Goals .61t .61t -.I7 5. Objective Performance .77$ .62t .33 .44*
Time 2 1. Teamwork 2. Trust and Credib~Lit~ .84$ 3. Organizational Functioning .56t 32% 4. Performance/Cornmon Goals .74$ .88$ .65t 5. Objective Performance .49* .28 .20 .18
Culture at Time 1 and Performance a t Time 2 1. Teamwork 2. Trust and Credibility 30% 3. Organizational Functioning .17 .36 4. Performance/Common Goals .61t .61t -.I7 5. Objective Performance . 6 l t .37 .3 1 .32
*p<.10. tp<.05. $p<.01.
Finally, the lagged correlations between culture at Time 1 and perfor- mance at Time 2 mdcate that teamwork was the only variable significantly associated with organizational performance and the correlation was positive.
DISCUSSION The results indicate that organizational performance is linked to organi-
zational culture. The strongest indication of the h k was evident in the cor- relation between teamwork and performance. While significant, positive cor- relations of three of the four culture measures with performance were noted at Time 1, only Teamwork was significantly associated with performance at Time 2. Also, of the culture measures from Time 1, teamwork alone was sig- nificantly related to performance at Time 2.
From these correlations it appears the major aspect of culture in some way related to performance is teamwork, for strong evidence was provided in all three analyses. Apparently, in this context, an organizational culture that emphasizes teamwork is more conducive to organizational effectiveness than one that does not foster cooperative behaviors. Such behaviors as help- ing others, sharing of information and resources, and worlung as a team seem to enhance performance in the aggregate for this organization. This, of course, may not be true for all organizations. As has been noted, the mea- sures of culture were organizationally specific and developed by the organi- zation as expressions of relevant cultural characteristics members hoped
ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND PERFORMANCE 491
would be effective in increasing organizational performance. Other organiza- tions may incorporate other cultural characteristics relevant to their particu- lar conditions and constraints.
While the relationship between culture and performance has certainly not been established beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is indication of a link. The longitudinal nature of our data allowed examination of the pattern of relationships over time. The stability of the correlations between team- work and organizational performance over one year provides evidence of the link between organizational culture and organizational effectiveness.
This work yields evidence that organizational performance may be influ- enced by its culture, so it may be appropriate for managers in the orga- nization to foster a culture that will facilitate effective organizational perform- ance. While the current analysis indicated that a culture which encourages teamwork and cooperation may be beneficial in an electric uthty, one irn- portant implication may be that short-term measures of cultural change may facihtate the identification of particular elements of culture which most sig- nificantly influence performance. As a consequence, managers can concen- trate efforts to achieve changes which maximize performance. However, the influence of some cultural factors may require longer than one year so man- agers must be careful to avoid abandoning too quickly values which may provide future benefit.
The management of culture is seen by some as difficult (P. C. Reynolds, 1986; Schein, 1989; Uttal, 1983) and yet by others as a necessary element of corporate strategy (Culp, 1988; Denison, 1984; Plant & Ryan, 1988). Part of the difficulty may lie in the nature of the measures employed to assess cul- ture. Qualitative measures are necessarily focused on long-term manifesta- tions of changes in employees' values. Consequently, if culture is defined solely in qualitative terms, evidence of change could be hfficult to observe. With quantitative measures the focus becomes short-term and changes which are more easily in evidence may be more clearly linked to organiza- tionally relevant outcomes.
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Accepted Janrrary 30, 139s.
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 19(2) 142 –151 © Baker College 2012 Reprints and permission: sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/1548051811433358 http://jlos.sagepub.com
Power in organizations can be interpreted as the potential influence that one individual exhibits over another (Emer- son, 1962; Pfeffer, 1992; Weber, 1947), and its study has intrigued scholars for decades. Sociological research focused on structural and authority/position-related expla- nations represented early attempts to explain hierarchical power (e.g., Emerson, 1962; Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978). However, much has remained to be understood about how individuals acquire power in organizations, when such power is not prescribed by hierarchical level or position that is formally designated (Brass & Burkhardt, 1993).With regard to leader–follower relationships, it is typical to think that leaders hold more power over their followers (Mintz- berg, 1983; Weber, 1947) because of the traditional hierar- chy of authority in bureaucratic organizational structures. However, there are certainly cases where the opposite is true (Mechanic, 1962; Pfeffer, 1992, 2010).
Differences in power between leaders and followers repre- sent significant issues for leader–follower attitudes, behavior, and work relationships, though little direct empirical research has been conducted to investigate the phenomenon (e.g., Ferris et al., 2009; Ragins & Dutton, 2007). This is rather surprising in light of the recent research attention focused on both the nature of work relationships and on shared leadership, power sharing between leaders and followers, and empowerment (e.g., Graen, 2009; Pearce & Conger, 2003). Power is an
important consideration because most researchers implicitly assume that leader–follower relationships are entered into, and maintained, by both parties volitionally (Rousseau & Schalk, 2000), which may not always be an accurate assumption. Furthermore, despite its recognized importance in the organi- zational sciences, power has remained under investigated in leader–follower relationships.
Therefore, the major objective of the present study is to examine the effects of power levels perceived by leaders and followers on central aspects of their work relationships (i.e., work relationship quality and job tension). As such, this investigation attempts to make contributions to the leader- ship, social power, and work relationships literatures.
Theoretical Foundations and Hypothesis Development A model of power in dyadic relationships is presented in Figure 1, which specifies that leader power affects work
433358 JLOs19210.1177/1548051811433358Martin ez et al.Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies © Baker College 2012
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1Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA 2Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA 3Florida Department of Children and Families, Tallahassee, FL, USA
Corresponding Author: Arthur D. Martinez, Illinois State University, 250 College of Business Building, Campus Box 5580, Normal, IL 61790-5580, USA Email: [email protected]
Power in Leader–Follower Work Relationships
Arthur D. Martinez1, Rachel E. Kane2, Gerald R. Ferris2, and C. Darren Brooks3
There is perhaps no more important dyadic relationship than that between a leader and a follower. Nonetheless, few studies examine the implications of both leader and follower power on important work outcomes. Therefore, using resource dependence and role theories, the authors examined the process by which leader power affects important work outcomes, namely, work relationship quality and job tension, through met relationship expectations. Additionally, the authors suggest that the leader power–met expectations relationship is conditional on follower power. A state agency was sampled to obtain and analyze 100 leader–follower work relationship dyads, whereby both dyadic partners were surveyed. Results indicated that leader power affected both leader–follower relationship quality and job tension through followers’ met relationship expectations. However, contrary to our hypothesis, the leader power–met expectations relationship was not conditional on follower power. Contributions of this study, strengths and limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.
leader–follower dyads, power, work relationships
Martinez et al. 143
relationship quality and employee well-being (i.e., job ten- sion) through followers’ met expectations of the leader– follower relationship. In addition, the model suggests that the effects of leader power on followers’ met expectations are moderated by the follower power, emphasizing the con- ditional nature of the relationship.
Leader Power There is perhaps no more important dyadic relationship than that between a leader and a follower (Ferris et al., 2009), and within such relationships, power and power dynamics are routinely at play and fundamentally inter- twined. Power stems from the notion of resource depen- dence, which maintains that the power of Person A over Person B is determined by the extent to which Person B is dependent on Person A for resources that are necessary for Person B to meet his/her needs, desires, and goals (Blau, 1964; Emerson, 1962, 1964).
The resource dependency perspective of power views social power as an attribute of social relations and structures not as an attribute of a person making up the relationship (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959). Within organizations, leaders (supervisors) are traditionally considered to hold more power over their followers (subordinates; Weber, 1947), and followers are assumed to be at least partly dependent on their leaders for both tangible resources (e.g., supplies) and intangible resources (e.g., self-verification, instrumental support; Farmer & Aguinis, 2005).
This common conceptualization of where power and dependence lie within the leader–follower relationship is likely spawned from individuals’ expectations concerning the roles characteristic of both leaders and followers. Early research on roles suggests that a portion of individual behavior can be explained by the roles one is perceived to hold and by one’s accompanying beliefs about such roles (Merton, 1957). Within the organizational context, role the- ory posits that leaders and followers engage early on in a role-making process; within such a role-making process,
both dyad members develop beliefs concerning the capabili- ties of the other dyad member, as well as about the outcomes expected from the relationship (Graen & Scandura, 1987; Tsui, 1984; Young & Perrewé, 2000). Furthermore, followers are considered members of their leader’s “role set,” which suggests that they interact, share interests with, and hold expectations of their leader (Katz & Kahn, 1978).
Although there are a wide range of qualities, attitudes, and behaviors likely to define the typical and ideal role of a leader, we suggest that followers should expect their leaders to be in possession of, among many things, power. We hypothesize that the notion of leaders being in possession of power coincides with many followers’ beliefs about the requirements and characteristics of a successful leader. This is to say that not only is power typically associated with those individuals in a hierarchical position to lead, but it is also likely considered a component necessary for the leader to be capable of fulfilling the dependencies of followers, be they tangible or intangible. Furthermore, power imbalances and power differential are traditional of, and to be expected of, relationships that span hierarchical levels. As such, based on role theory, we suggest that leader power is posi- tively related to follower met expectations. Therefore, the following hypothesis is posited:
Hypothesis 1: Leader power is positively related to follower met relationship expectations.
Leader Power Effects Moderated by Follower Power Although early research on power focused intently on the bases of power (French & Raven, 1959), positional and structural determinants of power (e.g., Pfeffer, 1981), and/ or personal characteristics that are influential in acquiring power (e.g., political will; Mintzberg, 1983), very little research has examined the interplay of both leader and fol- lower power simultaneously. Nonetheless, we believe that considerations of leader power and their effect on follow- ers’ met expectations are incomplete without considering the power standing of the follower.
In this support of this notion, research on mentoring sug- gests that a protégés’ met expectations of their relationship with their mentors have little to do with the amount of sup- port received from the mentor and more to do with the extent to which sufficient support is provided based on what the protégés expect and require (Young & Perrewé, 2000). Thus, we suggest that follower power acts to decouple the relationship between leader power and met relationship expectations. More specifically, we suggest that powerful followers expect and need of less support from their leaders than do nonpowerful followers, as they are capable of pro- curing some of their own resources, be they tangible or not.
Furthermore, although the resource dependence perspec- tive of power maintains that followers (i.e., subordinates)
Follower Leader Power
Leader Follower Power
Follower Job Tension
Figure 1. Model of leader–follower work relationships
144 Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 19(2)
are dependent on their leaders (i.e., supervisors) for tangible and intangible resources (Farmer & Aguinis, 2005), followers who are themselves powerful are less likely to be dependent on their leaders for the fulfillment of both physical and psy- chological resources. In other words, followers who possess their own power are able to, in a sense, break their depen- dence on their leader. Finally, a substantial body of research suggests that outcomes of work relationships (e.g., relation- ship quality, satisfaction) depend on the characteristics of both dyad members, not just one or the other (e.g., Kane, Martinez, Treadway, & Ferris, in press; Tsui, Xin, & Egan, 1995).
In mutually powerless dyads, relationship benefits and costs will be low because there will be few valued goods to exchange and little reason to make offers (Blau, 1964). When both persons are powerful, relationship benefits will be high as plenty of valued social rewards will be available for exchange (Blau, 1964). Also in mutually powerful dyads, costs will tend to be moderate because the other’s high demands may be tempered with one’s own power to resist them (Emerson, 1962).
Taken together, we suggest that the positive relationship between leader power and follower met relationship expec- tations is conditional on follower power. More formally, we hypothesize the following:
Hypothesis 2: Follower power will moderate the positive relationship between leader power and follower met expectations, such that for higher (lower) power followers, the positive relationship between leader power and follower met expecta- tions will be stronger (weaker).
Met Relationship Expectations and Work Relationship Quality Work relationship research in the organizational sciences is heavily influenced by leader–member exchange (LMX) theory (Ferris et al., 2009; Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). LMX theory postulates that dyadic relationship quality is based on mutual respect for each other’s capabilities, mutual trust, and reciprocal obligations. Capabilities are potential exchange goods that become actual exchange goods when they are respected and valued by others. Likewise, trust and obligations are social exchange goods themselves, much like credit. Hence, work relationship quality is determined by the exchange of social goods, such as valued capabili- ties, trust, and obligations.
Borrowing from the mentoring literature, research has found that mentors who engage in prototypical mentoring behavior inspire greater perceptions of relationship effec- tiveness as well as increased trust from their protégés through met relationship expectations (Young & Perrewé, 2000). Therefore, the following hypothesis is put forward:
Hypothesis 3: Follower met relationship expectations are positively related to follower work relationship quality perceptions.
Met Relationship Expectations and Job Tension Of both practical and theoretical import, researchers have frequently examined both antecedents and outcomes of job tension (Meurs & Perrewé, 2011). Job tension is defined as stress arising from work-related experiences (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, & Snoek, 1964) and is commonly measured with the job tension scale developed by House and Rizzo (1972). Not surprisingly, research suggests that as compared with low levels of tension, high levels of tension result in more dysfunctional organizational outcomes (e.g., job dissatis- faction, intent to turnover; Cropanzano, Howes, Grandey, & Toth, 1997; House & Rizzo, 1972). Research has also found that sources of job tension include a variety of role stressors, including work overload, role conflict, and role ambiguity (e.g., Frone, 1990; O’Driscoll & Beehr, 1994). Taken together, research provides general support for a “less is more” view of job tension.
Meta-analytic research on met expectations, although somewhat concentrated within the mentoring and realis- tic job preview literatures, suggests that met expectations is positively associated with job performance, job sur- vival, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction (Wanous, Poland, Premack, & Davis, 1992). Similarly, more recent research has found that any form of unmet expectations results in dysfunctional organizational out- comes (e.g., job dissatisfaction; Irving & Montes, 2009). As such, a lack of discrepancy between what one expects and what one experiences has consistently resulted in more positive (and less negative) attitudinal and behav- ioral workplace outcomes.
As an extension of the workplace outcomes examined in relation to met expectations, we hypothesize that followers’ met relationship expectations concerning their leader’s power should be negatively associated with job tension. We argue that those followers who perceive their leader to be in possession of power are in a sense reassured that their leader is capable of fulfilling the traditional role of leader. In addi- tion, such power in the hands of a leader was argued above to allow the leader to fulfill the follower’s resource depen- dencies. Consequently, the leader’s ability to fulfill both tangible and intangible needs of a follower should reduce the amount of stress a follower experiences arising from work experiences in general, and from their leader–follower dyadic relationship, in particular. Hence, the following hypothesis is proposed:
Hypothesis 4: Follower met relationship expectations are negatively related to follower job tension.
Martinez et al. 145
Method Participants and Procedure A total of 360 leader–follower dyads from a large south- eastern state government agency were invited to participate in the online survey study. Furthermore, 180 supervisors were selected to answer questions about two of their subor- dinates. The agency provided a list of all leaders/supervi- sors from selected departments (i.e., departments within a particular city) who supervised at least two followers/sub- ordinates, and all of those leaders/supervisors were invited to participate. A review of the job titles of participants indicated that most of the management staff consisted of frontline supervisors, and a much smaller set were the middle managers who supervised the frontline managers.
The employees being supervised were administrative, computer programming, or social service staff. Leaders had to supervise at least two employees to be considered in the study, and the span of control typically ranged from 2 to 12 direct reports. For each leader/supervisor, only two of his or her followers/subordinates were chosen at random in order to minimize nonindependence concerns. Both leaders and followers were asked to provide their names on the surveys in order to match their responses for subsequent analyses. Confidentiality was maintained by deleting respondent names after matching.
Leaders completed surveys for 218 of their followers, resulting in a 60.6% leader response rate, and 150 followers completed surveys, resulting in a 41.7% follower response rate. After combining leader and follower responses, there were a total of 100 useable dyads, resulting in a net response rate of 27.8%. Within dyads, 68% of the followers and 52% of the leaders were female. The average follower’s age was 49.5 years, and the average leader’s age was approximately the same (i.e., 50.2 years). Also, 71.0% of the followers and 62.7% of the leaders self-identified as White, 0.0% of the followers and 20.3% of the leaders self-identified as Hispanic, 23.0% of the followers and 4.2% of the leaders self-identified as Black, 4.0% of the followers and 0.9% of the leaders self-identified as Asian, and 2.0% of the follow- ers and 11.9% of the leaders self-identified as Other. The average job tenure was 5.9 years for followers and 5.4 years for leaders, and the average dyad tenure was 2.8 years.
Measures Follower power. Leaders answered four questions, loosely
adapted from Nesler and colleagues (Nesler, Aguinis, Quig- ley, Lee, & Tedeschi, 1999), to measure follower power. Two items were adapted from the “Resistance and Control Power” scale: “My subordinate can get what he/she wants from me” and “My subordinate can get me to do things I don’t want to do.” The other two items were adapted from Nesler et al.’s (1999) “Global Power” scale: “My subordinate can
influence me to evaluate his/her work performance favor- ably” and “My subordinate can influence me with regard to the types of projects I assign him/her.” A factor analysis using a principal component analysis extraction method was employed. A resulting one-factor model was selected based on retaining factors with eigenvalues greater than one. The one-factor model explained 62.5% of the variable variance. Cronbach’s α of .80 was obtained for the resulting four-item measure.
Leader power. Followers answered four questions, loosely adapted from Nesler et al. (1999), to measure leader power. Two items were adapted from the “Resistance and Control Power” scale: “My supervisor can get what he/she wants from me” and “My supervisor can get me to do things I don’t want to do.” The other two items were adapted from Nesler et al.’s (1999) “Global Power” scale: “My supervisor can influence me to work harder at my job” and “My super- visor can influence the type of projects I become involved in.” A factor analysis using a principal component analysis extraction method was employed. A resulting one-factor model was selected based on retaining factors with eigen- values greater than one. The one-factor model explained 52.4% of the variable variance. Cronbach’s α of .68 was obtained for the resulting four-item measure.
Power interaction term. The interaction term was calcu- lated via multiplying the follower power and leader power variables within a dyad. To address multicollinearity issues, the power variables were centered before multiplying, and the centered variables where used in subsequent analyses.
Follower met relationship expectations. Follower met rela- tionship expectations was operationalized with a three-item measure. Two items were modified from Young and Per- rewé’s (2000) Met Expectations Scale: “So far, I have received what I expected to receive from the relationship” and “In retrospect, I didn’t get what I expected from the relationship (reverse-scored).” A third item, not originally included in Young and Perrewé’s (2000) operationalization, was included in efforts to supplement the existing measure. This item read: “Overall, my expectations about my rela- tionship with my supervisor are being: (1) unmet, (2) par- tially met, (3) met, (4) somewhat exceeded, or (5) exceeded.”
We felt it was necessary to include this item as a supple- ment to the original two-item scale in case respondents felt expectations were exceeded, not just met. Furthermore, including an additional item in attitudinal measures that reflects an overall or composite assessment of the construct is not uncommon. A factor analysis using a principal com- ponent analysis extraction method was employed. A result- ing one-factor model was selected based on retaining factors with eigenvalues greater than one. The one-factor model explained 79.3% of the variable variance. Cronbach’s α of .85 was obtained for the three-item measure.
Follower-assessed work relationship quality. Follower- assessed work relationship quality was measured using the
146 Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 19(2)
popular seven-item LMX instrument (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). Sample items included “Regardless of how much for- mal authority he/she has built into his/her position, what are the chances that your supervisor would use his/her power to help you solve problems in your work?” and “Again, regard- less of the amount of formal authority your supervisor has, what are the chances that he/she would ‘bail you out,’ at his/ her expense? A factor analysis using a principal component analysis extraction method was employed. A resulting one- factor model was selected based on retaining factors with eigenvalues greater than one. The one-factor model explained 63.4% of the variable variance. Cronbach’s α of .90 was obtained for the seven-item measure.
Follower job tension. The widely used seven-item Likert- type instrument developed by House and Rizzo (1972) was used to measure views of follower job tension. Sample items included “I have felt fidgety or nervous as a result of my job,” “I work under a great deal of tension,” and “My job tends to directly affect my health.” A factor analysis using a principal component analysis extraction method was employed. A resulting one-factor model was selected based on retaining factors with eigenvalues greater than one. The one-factor model explained 64.8% of the variable variance. Cronbach’s α of .91 was obtained for the seven- item measure.
Control variables. Followers were asked three questions regarding gender, job tenure, and dyad tenure, which were used as control variables in subsequent analyses. Gender is related to LMX and job tension. For example, Duchon, Green, and Taber (1986) found that gender predicted in- group/out-group status. Also, Pretty, McCarthy, and Catano (1992) concluded that men and women differ with regard to predictors and processes of burnout. Controlling for gender addresses concerns regarding it as an alternative explana- tion. Gender was coded with Male as 1 and Female as 2.
Tenure is an important consideration because, over time, employees may tend to self-select into and out of work rela- tionships that are compatible or incompatible with their val- ues (e.g., Schneider, Goldstein, & Smith, 1995). As tenure increases, it seems plausible that employees will tend to settle into relationships with relatively more favorable lev- els of relationship quality, met expectations, and job ten- sion. Hence, there may be more variation in relationship quality, met expectations, and job tension with lower ten- ure. Both follower job tenure and dyad tenure (i.e., tenure with leader) were controlled and measured with five rela- tively meaningful divisions for comparison (1 = less than 1 year; 2 = 1-3 years; 3 = 3-5 years; 4 = 5-10 years; and 5 = more than 10 years).
Data Analysis Model testing. The model presented in Figure 1 was tested
via path analyses using LISREL 8.71 software. Model
parameter estimates were derived from maximum likeli- hood estimation procedures. Both leader power and fol- lower power variables were centered to minimize multicollinearity issues caused by their interaction term. Hence, the hypothesized moderation effect was tested via an interaction term. The sample size (N = 100) was rather small, so model fit was evaluated using the standardized root mean square residual (SRMR) and comparative fit index (CFI) two-index strategy (Hu & Bentler, 1999).
Recommended thresholds for the SRMR and CFI two- index strategy are about .08 and .95, respectively (Hu & Bentler, 1999). Hence, SRMR should be less than .08 and CFI should be greater than .95. Model fit was also evaluated using root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) because this is another fit index robust to small sample sizes (Fan, Thompson, & Wang, 1999). RMSEA values less than .06 typically indicate good model fit (Hu & Bentler, 1999). Finally, Tucker–Lewis index (TLI) also was used as it has been found to be relatively independent of sample size, and the TLI should be greater than .95 to indicate a good fit (Hu & Bentler, 1999; Marsh, Balla, & McDonald, 1988).
Results Descriptive Statistics and Correlations
Descriptive statistics and intercorrelations are provided in Table 1. Leader power correlated significantly with met relationship expectations (r = .40, p < .01). Follower power was not correlated with met expectations. The met relation- ship expectations variable correlated significantly with both work relationship quality and job tension, (r = .74, p < .01) and (r = −.39, p < .01), respectively. Finally, no control variable correlated significantly with work relationship quality or job tension.
Tests of Hypotheses A path analysis was conducted to test the model presented in Figure 1. Again, to minimize multicollinearity issues, the leader and follower power variables were mean-centered and then multiplied to derive the interaction term. The model fit indices suggested that the model reproduced the variance–covariance matrix fairly well. The χ2 was 11.84, with 10 degrees of freedom, and the p value was .30, imply- ing that there was no significant difference between the actual and reproduced matrices. The SRMR was .05, and the CFI was .98. Also, RMSEA was .05, and the TLI was .93. In total, the fit indices suggested adequate model fit.
This study provided strong support for Hypothesis 1 as the path between leader power and met relationship expec- tations (β = .39, t = 4.18) was moderately large, statistically significant, and in the hypothesized direction. The interac- tion hypothesis (i.e., Hypothesis 2) was not supported, as
Martinez et al. 147
the path between the interaction term and met relationship expectations (β = .08, t = 0.79) was small and statistically nonsignificant. The path between met relationship expecta- tions and work relationship quality (β = .75, t = 11.27) was very large, providing strong support for Hypothesis 3. Finally, the path between met expectations and job tension (β = −.38, t = 4.01) was moderately large and in the hypoth- esized direction. Hence, Hypothesis 4 also was supported.
Discussion Contributions of the Study
Recognizing the lack of research examining the power standings of both leader and follower and the implications of such on work outcomes, the purpose of this study was to examine the process by which leader power affects impor- tant attitudinal outcomes (i.e., work relationship quality and job tension) through met relationship expectations, as well to examine what impact follower power has on the relation- ship between leader power and met relationship expecta- tions. Overall, the results supported the general thesis that leader power affects work relationship quality and job ten- sion (i.e., employee well-being) through follower met rela- tionship expectations. Thus, the research suggested that the effect of leader power on met expectations has important implications for follower well-being.
It was argued that followers expect their leaders to be in possession of power, as this is not only characteristic of the role of a leader, but it is also characteristic of the traditional power differentials of hierarchical leader–follower dyads. Furthermore, past research on mentoring linked mentoring behavior to greater perceptions of relationship effectiveness through met expectations (Young & Perrewé, 2000) pro- vided the basis for the hypothesized relationship between met expectations and greater perceptions of work relation- ship quality. Finally, past research linking unmet expecta- tions to a number of negative attitudinal workplace outcomes (e.g., job dissatisfaction; Irving & Montes, 2009)
underpinned our assertion that met expectations would result in decreased job tension.
Results, however, did not lend support for our assertion that the leader power–met expectations relationship would be conditional on follower power, although it was argued that follower power acts to decouple the relationship between leader power and met expectations. More specifi- cally, we suggested that powerful followers are likely to expect and need less support from their leaders than do non- powerful followers, as powerful followers are capable of procuring necessary resources, be they tangible or not, by themselves. Results did not confirm this notion.
Strengths and Limitations A major strength of the study was the incorporation of other-reports for the focal independent variables. Specifically, followers assessed their leaders’ power, and leaders assessed their followers’ power. Other-reports helped minimize issues associated with common method biases (Podsakoff, Mackenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003). The predominant limitation of the study was the lack of statistical power. The rather small sample size of 100 dyads was insufficient to find paths with smaller effect sizes as statistically significant. Also, the small sample size limited the ability to use stronger data analyses methods, such as confirmatory factor analyses and structural equation mod- eling. Another limitation was that the study relied solely on reflective responses to questionnaires administered once.
A potential problem of common method variance is pres- ent in these data, which needs to be acknowledged. All vari- ables in the model tested (i.e., leader power, met expectations, work relationship quality, and job tension) except follower power (i.e., which was assessed by leaders) were measured from the follower’s perspective. That being said, inspection of the pattern of correlations in Table 1 does not appear to reflect a spuriously inflating mechanism that could be resulting from method bias, so it does not appear to be a serious problem in the present study.
Table 1. Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations
M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1. Follower Power 2.43 0.79 .80 2. Leader Power 4.03 0.56 .01 .68 3. Met Expectations 3.71 0.81 .12 .40* .85 4. LMX 3.86 0.73 .11 .38* .74* .90 5. Job Tension 2.63 0.92 .06 −.10 −.39* −.33* .91 6. Gender 1.68 0.47 .02 −.15 .17 .03 −.09 (n.a.) 7. Job Tenure 3.25 1.57 .03 −.07 .07 .14 −.13 .08 (n.a.)
8. Dyad Tenure 2.42 1.31 −.14 .07 −.01 .14 .01 .11 .41*
NOTE: LMX = leader–member exchange. N = 100. Cronbach α values are in boldface in the diagonal. *Correlation significant at .01 level (2-tailed).
148 Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 19(2)
Another limitation concerns the met relationship expec- tations construct. Although it was the only measure of its kind that we could identify, we must acknowledge that a three-item measure, with largely unknown psychometric properties, is far from ideal. Future research should focus on the development of a better measure of met relationship expectations, which reflects the rigorous development and construct validation reported by Hinkin (1995, 1998). Finally, there is potential dependency in the data that needs to be acknowledged as a potential concern. Because180 supervisors were selected to answer questions about two of their subordinates, there is a possibility that leaders did not evaluate followers power independently but rather reflected cross-person rating bias. However, as we noted above in the description of the sample and procedures: “For each leader/ supervisor, only two of his or her followers/subordinates were chosen at random in order to minimize non-indepen- dence concerns.” That being said, we admit this could raise some concern (see Gooty & Yammarino, 2011, for a recent review of such issues with particular reference to dyads).
Directions for Future Research The power variables in the leader–follower dyad are prob- ably related to several other important outcome variables. For example, how does power relate to performance vari- ables, such as in-role performance, organizational citizen- ship behaviors directed at individuals, and organizational citizenship behaviors directed at the organization (e.g., Williams & Anderson, 1991)? This study can be extended to other domains (e.g., behaviors, attitudes, and feelings), and met expectations might be considered an instrumental mediator. Of course, other mediators and moderators can be investigated as well. Future research might also consider testing a potential “negotiation, acquiescence, and capitula- tion hypothesis,” that is, specifically, that the conditions of negotiation and acquiescence by followers in interactions with leaders might be more beneficial than capitulation to leader demands. This notion starts to get at more specific focus on the precise nature of the work relationships that are developed and endure between leaders and followers as a function of their power.
As such, future research might investigate particular work relationship dimensions. Recent research on the nature of dyadic relationships has argued for a focus on the underlying dimensions of work relationships, such as trust, respect, time, distance, and affect (Ferris et al., 2009). Particularly relevant to the present study is the relationship dimension of distance, which Ferris et al. (2009) referred to as
the quality of closeness or separation in space and time, and it can be reflected in the two concepts of physical distance and psychological distance. In work relationships, physical distance might be reflected in how closely two people work in terms of physical
location. Psychological distance refers to the close- ness or separation of the perceptions, attitudes, and feelings of two people, usually measured through the use of a Euclidean distance measure, or a profile similarity or matching process. (pp. 1391-1392)
Napier and Ferris (1993) argued that “functional dis- tance” is most important for work relationship effectiveness and that there is not necessarily a linear relationship between distance and effective work relationships. Instead, they characterized functional distance as the optimal degree of psychological distance that provides leaders with perspec- tive and allows them to be more objective in their evalua- tion and treatment of followers. Antonakis and Atwater (2002) discussed leader distance, referring to it as perceived social distance, physical distance, and perceived interaction frequency of leaders with their followers. Leader distance is important because it reflects the perspective from which leaders perceive, interpret, and process information and eval- uate member outcomes, and also it appears that it could reso- nate with leader and follower power. It might be interesting to extend the present results to investigate the “distance” dimension of work relationships and see to what extent leader and follower power are associated with an optimal level of functional distance in the work relationship.
Power is an important aspect of the context of the leader– follower relationship. In future studies, other contextual factors such as the nature of work, leader–follower relation- ship expectations, and individual power relation prefer- ences could be more explicitly considered within the underlying social context of organizations. For example, future studies could investigate variables such as the organi- zation’s decision-making framework that formally defines the power relationship among supervisors and subordinates, the organizational and subunit cultural norms, and the power relation norms that may serve as important contex- tual factors potentially affecting leader and follower power and their work relationships.
Finally, future research might consider the investigation of follower-assessed work relationship quality and some of the factors that might affect such relationship perceptions. For example, scholars might measure follower attractive- ness to the leader and the degree to which personal qualities influence the power/dependence relationship (e.g., percep- tions about leader ambition, energy, focus, etc., may play a role in the leader–follower work relationship). These repre- sent just a few ideas for future research on the impact of leader and follower power, which is an area of inquiry of which we have only begun to scratch the surface of fully comprehending.
Practical Implications The social context in which power dynamics occurs is an important factor that frames organizational decisions,
Martinez et al. 149
actions, and behaviors of leaders and followers in the course of their daily interactions. The shift in the economy to a more knowledge-based workforce raises the impor- tance for practitioners to develop an informed understand- ing of the dynamic power relationship between followers and leaders and its subsequent impact on employee atti- tudes, behavior, and organizational performance.
When considering the impact of context on the exchange of social power, practitioners also must recognize that orga- nizational structures, routines, and culture influence the context of how such power dynamics occur. Specifically, practitioners must evaluate the influence of their organiza- tion on the nature of how work is done and decisions are made. For example, in the current study, differences in leader and follower power were perceived positively by fol- lowers. This may be the result of regulatory policy or legis- lative mandate that creates a culture that encourages such differential levels. As a result, followers may understand how the system of work and adopt a strategy that allows them to work effectively within the system.
Consequently, organizations might employ power dynamics in strategic interventions that support follower performance and optimize organizational productivity, all within the context of their operational environment. In more structured contexts, potential interventions might include leader training in employee engagement activities, resulting in followers being able to more fully use their knowledge, skills, and abilities within a more hierarchically based orga- nization. Conversely, in a less traditionally structured envi- ronment, educating leaders on ways to minimize power differences with followers would be preferable. Such efforts might consider increased efforts at the implementation of shared leadership or participative management processes.
Conclusion Results indicated that leader power affected both leader– follower relationship quality and job tension through fol- lowers’ met relationship expectations. However, contrary to our hypothesis, the leader power–met expectations relation- ship was not conditional on follower power. In other words, leader power appears to be a central factor in leader–fol- lower work relationships because it shapes follower expec- tations, and whether or not these relationship expectations are met affects important follower well-being outcomes. Nonetheless, as organizational begin to flatten, future research should not ignore the possibility that follower power could alter the relationship between leader power and work outcomes.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Funding The authors received no financial support for the research, author- ship, and/or publication of this article.
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Arthur D. Martinez is Assistant Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. He received his
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Ph.D. in Management from Florida State University. His research investigates social power in organizational contexts.
Rachel E. Kane is a Ph.D. candidate in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at Florida State University. Her current research interests include antecedents and boundary conditions of political skill, organizational politics perceptions, and leadership. She is also interested in advanced data analysis methods such as structural equations modeling.
C. Darren Brooks is the Human Resource Shared Services Director at the Florida Department of Children and Families; in addition, he is an Adjunct Professor of Management and Visiting
Instructor of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems at Florida State University. He received his Ph.D. in Instructional Systems from Florida State University. His research investigates social influences and learning factors that affect performance in organizational contexts, adaptive learning systems, and human performance technology.
Gerald R. Ferris is the Francis Eppes Professor of Management and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. He received a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ferris has research interests in the areas of social influence and effectiveness processes in orga- nizations, and the role of reputation in organizations.
ANNALS, AAPSS, 639, January, 2012 49
This article summarizes literatures on power, status, and influence in sociology’s group processes tradition and applies them to issues of diversity in organizations. Power—defined as the ability to impose one’s will even against resistance from others—results primarily from position in a social structure. Influence—defined as compelling behavior change without threat of punish- ment or promise of reward—results largely from the respect and esteem in which one is held by others. Research identifies status as a foundation of influence differences in groups and indicates that members of disadvantaged status groups, such as women and minorities, will have decreased influence and face chal- lenges in acquiring and using power. The literature also suggests solutions to these challenges, including self- presentation strategies of group motivation and institu- tional arrangements that support women and minority group members in powerful leadership positions.
Keywords: power; status; influence; leadership; man- agement; diversity
Reflecting the changing demographics of American society, organizations in the United States are becoming increasingly diverse places to work. Women, for the first time in his- tory, make up half of the U.S. workforce, up from about 35 percent of the workforce 40 years ago (U.S. Department of Labor 2009). If demographic trends continue, nonwhites will make up half the U.S. workforce by 2050 (Toossi 2006). At the same time, this increasing diver- sity is not extending to high-level management positions. In fact, women and minority group members lost ground overall in representation in Fortune 500 corporate boards between 2004
ANN THE ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACAD- EMYPOWER, INFLUENCE, AND DIVERSITY IN ORGANIZATIONS
Jeffrey W. Lucas is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Maryland. He carries out basic exper- imental research on group processes, particularly sta- tus, power, and leadership.
Amy R. Baxter is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland. Her current research is experimental work focusing on factors that contribute to the wage and promotion gap between women and men.
Power, Influence, and
Diversity in Organizations
By JEFFREY W. LUCAS
and AMY R. BAxTER
50 THE ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY
and 2010 (Lang et al. 2011). Despite composing only about one-third of the U.S. workforce, white men hold more than 75 percent of board seats and 95 percent of board chair positions in Fortune 500 corporations (Lang et al. 2011).
A consequence of inequalities in access to corporate leadership positions is that it is harder for persons in certain social groups to exercise their will in organi- zations. In this way, the experiences of women, persons of color, and members of other disadvantaged groups in organizations are shaped in significant ways by processes of power and influence. This article summarizes bodies of theory and research on power, status, and influence—particularly as the concepts are treated in sociology’s group processes tradition—and discusses their relevance to issues of management and diversity in organizations.
Power, status, and influence are concepts with multiple treatments, both col- loquially and in academic literatures. Meanings and uses of the concept power, for example, vary considerably across academic disciplines and subdisciplines. The philosopher Bertrand Russell identified power as the most important ele- ment in the development of any society and its study as the central aim of all social sciences (Russell 1938). Summarizing the literature on a concept of such breadth presents obvious challenges. The concepts of status and influence have similarly varied meanings and treatments. It would be impossible to survey the full range of treatments of power, status, and influence, and we make no effort to do so. Rather, we draw from basic research that has defined the concepts in nar- row and consistent ways.
In colloquial language, power and influence are often viewed as more or less the same thing: the ability to affect the behavior of others in some intended way. Alternatively, power and influence are sometimes seen as two parts of the same process—power as a capacity to change behavior and influence as the practice of using power to effect behavior change (French and Raven 1959). According to Wrong (1979), power and influence are used synonymously because of the absence of a verb form for the term power. We do not argue that these treat- ments of the concepts are incorrect. Rather, we focus on research that identifies the concepts more narrowly and as clearly distinct. Power, as defined in the group processes perspective, is the ability to get what one wants even in the face of resistance (Markovsky, Willer, and Patton 1987; Weber 1978). Influence is the ability to get what one wants even in the absence of fear of punishment or prom- ise of reward (Rashotte and Webster 2005). The theory and research we review is consistent with these treatments of the concepts. For other treatments, see Kelly (1994) on power and Manz (1986) on influence.
We first define and discuss the concept of influence. Group processes treat- ments of influence address it primarily as an outcome of status, another concept narrowly defined in the tradition. We discuss theory and research on status in groups, work that has clear relevance to issues of diversity in organizations. We then discuss theory and research on power in networks. We close with a discus- sion of how the concepts relate to each other and what the power and influence literatures together can tell us about managing diversity in work organizations.
POWER, INFLUENCE, AND DIVERSITY IN ORGANIZATIONS 51
Influence in Groups
Power, as typically conceived, is a capacity (Salancik and Pfeffer 1977). It is the ability to get things done if one chooses. When power is used to get people to do things, power is often defined as influence (Dahl 1957). Group processes research, in contrast, treats influence as clearly distinct from power use. Influence occurs when people perform actions because they have been convinced they are the right actions to take, not because someone with power told them to do them (Sell et al. 2004). Consider a supervisor who directs subordinates to fill boxes in a factory. The subordinates do what the supervisor says because she has power over them. In contrast, consider a minister who asks members of her congrega- tion to volunteer to fill boxes for a charity drive. If the members of the congrega- tion volunteer to fill the boxes, they have been influenced. The minister has little or no power to direct the behavior of the members of the congregation, but they do what she wants without promise of reward or fear of punishment. They have been convinced that the activity is the right thing to do.
As we discuss, power is principally the result of a position in a social structure (Emerson 1972). The factory supervisor has power because her position gives her the ability to discipline subordinates who do not comply and reward subordinates who are especially compliant. Influence results less from social structure than from status (the respect and esteem in which a person is held by others) (Wagner and Berger 1993). Below we discuss the most well-developed and widely studied theoretical account of status processes in groups.
Expectation states and status characteristics theories
Status is a position in a group based on esteem or respect (Berger, Cohen, and Zelditch 1972; Berger et al. 1977). Although status has a number of outcomes, influence is perhaps its most fundamental. Those with higher status in groups have more influence over group decisions than do those with lower status. Expectation states and status characteristics theory, which resides in sociology’s group processes tradition, explains the processes by which groups set up and maintain status hier- archies (Berger, Wagner, and Zelditch 1985; Berger and Webster 2006).
Dating to the 1950s, research currently finds that, initially, status-undifferentiated task groups organize themselves into hierarchies of prestige (Bales 1950). The most complete theoretical account of these processes is the expectation states program of Berger and colleagues. Status characteristics theory (SCT) (Berger et al. 1977; Berger, Wagner, and Zelditch 1985) links characteristics of an individual such as gender and race to that person’s rank in a status hierarchy based on the esteem in which the person is held by self and others. The theory proposes that members of a task group form expectations about each other’s competence to contribute to group goals based on each person’s status characteristics. Individuals expected to contribute more are more highly valued by the group and held in higher esteem (Webster and Driskell 1978).
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Two scope conditions limit the domain of SCT—task orientation and collective orientation (Berger et al. 1977). Task orientation means that the group is formed for the purpose of solving some problem. Collective orientation means that group members consider it necessary to take into account the input of every group member in solving the problem or performing the task. For all groups that meet its scope conditions, the theory makes predictions about the process through which observable status characteristics lead to behavioral inequalities. Many groups in organizational settings satisfy these scope conditions—a group choos- ing which candidate to hire for an open position, a committee determining an incentive system, a team deciding which direction to go on a project, and so on. Additionally, research has extended the scope of the theory to include individual performances when individuals anticipate that those performances will have implications for future group interaction (Lovaglia et al. 1998).
Research on status processes in groups has produced several consistent find- ings. According to SCT, group members (often outside their conscious aware- ness) develop expectations for their own performances and those of other group members. In the theory, these expectations develop based on status characteris- tics, which are characteristics around which expectations and beliefs come to be organized (Berger et al. 1977). Examples of status characteristics include race, gender, education, and task expertise (Webster and Hysom 1998). Individuals in categories of status characteristics that produce higher expectations for perfor- mance than those of other group members are held in higher esteem and have higher positions in the group’s status order (Bienenstock and Bianchi 2004). One consequence of the status order is that high-status group members are expected to make more competent contributions to the group. In this way, the status order of the group becomes self-fulfilling, with the contributions of high-status mem- bers evaluated as more competent regardless of their objective merit (Walker and Simpson 2000).
SCT specifies two types of status characteristics. For both, one category is considered to be more socially desirable and highly valued than another (Simpson and Walker 2002). A status characteristic is specific if it carries expectations for competence in a narrow range of situations. Computer programming skills is a specific characteristic because it leads to expectations for competence only in limited settings. A characteristic is diffuse if it carries with it expectations for competence in a wide variety of situations. Age, gender, race, and social class are examples of diffuse characteristics. In the theory, both types of status character- istics contribute to determining group members’ relative status by altering expec- tations for competence that members hold for one another (Berger et al. 1977). Diffuse status characteristics, however, have a distinct moral component, with high status on the characteristics being viewed as broadly superior to low status on the characteristics (Berger, Rosenholtz, and Zelditch 1980).
In SCT, status characteristics produce rank in a status hierarchy through a chain of four logically connected assumptions (Webster and Foschi 1988). First, the theory assumes that any characteristic will become salient (i.e., stand out) to
POWER, INFLUENCE, AND DIVERSITY IN ORGANIZATIONS 53
group members if it is known or believed to be related to the task or if it differ- entiates among the members of the group. Second, the burden-of-proof assump- tion states that all salient characteristics will be treated as relevant (i.e., used to develop performance expectations) by group members unless specifically disas- sociated from the task. Therefore, in a mixed-sex group in which gender operates as a status characteristic, the theory assumes that gender will be treated as rele- vant by group members unless it is specifically demonstrated that gender is not indicative of ability to perform the group’s task. In other words, the burden of proof lies with showing group members that a characteristic is not relevant to the group’s task (Berger et al. 1977).
The theory’s third assumption is the formation of aggregated expectation states. In simple terms, this assumption holds that when group members are confronted with more than one relevant characteristic, they act as if they com- bine the expectations associated with each characteristic in developing an overall performance expectation. The fourth assumption in the link between status char- acteristics and a group’s status order is the basic expectation assumption. According to this assumption, a member’s rank in the group’s status hierarchy will be a direct function of the group’s expectations for that member’s performance. With this assumption, the status order of the group will be determined by the aggregated expectation states that each group member has for herself and other group members.
Dozens of studies over the past four decades have supported the principles of SCT (for a review, see Kalkhoff and Thye 2006). Research in the theory is primar- ily carried out in a standard experimental setting. The setting involves partici- pants at computer terminals being told information about partners on computers in different rooms. The participants and partners then complete a task together in which the partner has opportunities to influence the participant. Partners in these studies are often fictitious, with experimental conditions determining the partner’s characteristics. Partner influence is treated as an indicator of status. If, for example, participants with male partners were influenced more than partici- pants with female partners, it would provide evidence that gender acts as a status characteristic that advantages men.
Status orders in groups, then, reflect status characteristics of group members, such as gender and race. Research has identified a number of outcomes of status processes, including that high-status group members perform more in the group (e.g., talk more during group interactions), have more opportunities to perform (e.g., have their opinions solicited more often), and have their performances evaluated more highly (e.g., get more positive feedback on their suggestions) than low-status group members (Berger, Rosenholtz, and Zelditch 1980). The principal behavioral outcome of status is influence; those of higher status play a bigger role in determining decisions in the group and its members than do those of lower status (Berger et al. 1977).
A key element of status is that it is relative. Corporate CEOs, for example, do not have high status in and of themselves, but only in relation to persons in other,
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less prestigious positions. It is this relational aspect of status that makes it a group process. Furthermore, the processes by which individuals set up and maintain status hierarchies in groups are largely nonconscious (Berger, Wagner, and Zelditch 1985). Individuals tend not to consciously choose to defer to men more than women, for example, but they do so in a large number of settings (Ridgeway 1993). And status orders tend to be self-reinforcing; high-status group members are evaluated more highly because they are high-status. The self-reinforcing nature of status orders, combined with the fact that status processes tend to operate below conscious awareness, makes status hierarchies very resistant to change. For exam- ple, research has found that status orders in an organization’s work groups tend to match the status characteristics of group members even when those groups have been in place for extended periods of time (B. Cohen and Zhou 1991).
Gender, race, and status
Substantial evidence indicates that gender and race operate as status charac- teristics in American society. Despite our society becoming increasingly diverse by race and ethnicity, contributions from European Americans are still valued more highly than those from members of other racial and ethnic groups (Lovaglia et al. 1998). And despite girls and women now outperforming boys and men on nearly all indicators at every level of education (Freeman 2004), men remain higher status than women (Ridgeway and Correll 2000). Based on the indicators of status discussed above—opportunities to perform, performances, performance evaluations, and influence—the contributions of men and European Americans are overvalued, whereas contributions from women and minority group members tend to be devalued or ignored.
Gender is a diffuse characteristic because it carries expectations for perfor- mance in a wide range of situations (Ridgeway 2004; Wagner and Berger 1997). Studies repeatedly indicate that gender acts as a status characteristic in the United States, with men expected to perform better than women on many impor- tant tasks (Berger, Rosenholtz, and Zelditch 1980; Carli 1991; Pugh and Wahrman 1983). Research shows that men have more influence than women on tasks that would appear to be gender-neutral and that men tend to receive higher evalua- tions for their performances than do women, despite the objective merit of those performances (Eagley, Makhijani, and Klonsky 1992).
Status research additionally finds that women tend to resist taking leadership positions and that when women do attain leadership based on their own merits, their positions are often not seen as legitimate (Ridgeway and Berger 1986). For example, in an experimental study in which a confederate took leadership of a group by acting in a competent and assertive manner, group members responded more negatively to female than to male leaders (Butler and Geis 1990). This study and others indicate that women are not viewed as legitimate occupants of leadership positions (Johnson, Clay-Warner, and Funk 1996; Lucas 2003). Reflecting these differences—although more women graduate from college now
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than men, and although women make up roughly half of the U.S. workforce— only about 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women (CNN Money 2010).
Similar to gender, race is a diffuse status characteristic. In the United States, contributions from European Americans are valued more highly than those from members of other racial (and ethnic) groups (Berger, Rosenholtz, and Zelditch 1980; Webster and Driskell 1978). For example, employers often rate black workers and applicants lower than white workers and applicants in various ways (Bobo and Fox 2003). In one experimental study, members of racial minorities, in comparison to whites, had to demonstrate higher levels of competence before participants deemed them to have the ability to successfully carry out a task (Biernat and Kobrynowicz 1997). And survey research finds that, controlling for factors other than race, people of color receive lower ratings as leaders than whites (Knight et al. 2003). In organizational hiring, perceptions of qualifications interact with race in ways that disadvantage applicants of color (Moss and Tilly 1996). In all of these ways, race/ethnicity is a status characteristic that advantages European Americans relative to persons in other racial and ethnic groups.
Much of the research in the status characteristics and expectation states tradi- tion has attended to issues of overcoming status disadvantages. The goal of this work is to identify how to create situations in which the contributions of all group members, irrespective of standing on status characteristics, receive proper recog- nition. We discuss this work below.
Overcoming status disadvantage
As can be seen from the discussion on status processes above, women and minority group members (as well as others in low-status categories of status char- acteristics) face disadvantages that can limit advancement in organizations. Even in the presence of efforts to avoid discrimination in selections for management positions, for example, status processes can lead to candidates from majority groups being more qualified for promotions (Lovaglia et al. 2006). Because of the self-reinforcing nature of status processes, we should expect men and European Americans, when being considered for promotions, to have higher performance evaluations from supervisors, higher ratings from coworkers, and histories of more influence in comparison to otherwise similarly qualified women and non– European Americans. Status research has indicated strategies, resulting both from efforts of a person in a disadvantaged social category and from more struc- tural approaches, that can successfully overcome status inequality.
According to the principle of aggregated expectations in SCT, individuals act as though they combine the expectations associated with all of each person’s sta- tus characteristics when developing performance expectations for self and others (Berger, Rosenholtz, and Zelditch 1980). Note that some status characteristics are largely or wholly out of a person’s control, whereas others can be changed. To gain status, individuals can change their standings on status characteristics within their control. Increasing educational credentials, for example, typically leads to
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influence beyond any directly job-related benefits of the acquired knowledge. The career value of an MBA degree over that of a bachelor’s degree far exceeds the two-year investment required to complete it. In 2001, after accounting for tuition and lost compensation while a student, the cash-in-hand value of an MBA was $550,000 (Davies and Cline 2005). Appearance is another important status characteristic, with more attractive people accorded higher status than less attractive people (Umberson and Hughes 1987). How people dress also alters expectations for their performance in groups, ultimately affecting how much influence they have (Bunderson 2003).
Research has identified one self-presentation strategy that is particularly effec- tive for increasing influence in groups, a strategy especially useful for women and minority group members (Ridgeway 1982). Individuals typically assume that high-status group members are more oriented toward the interests of the group than are low-status group members, whom people are more likely to assume are more selfishly motivated (Wagner and Berger 1997). This is one reason why high- status persons tend to be leaders in groups; people assume that high-status per- sons have the interests of the group in mind (Lucas and Lovaglia 2006). Research shows that presenting one’s contributions as motivated by the interests of the group works to increase status for persons in disadvantaged status categories (Ridgeway 1982; Shackelford, Wood, and Worchel 1996). In other words, women and minority group members can increase their standing in groups by making it clear that their recommendations and performances are carried out with the best interests of the group in mind.
There are additional structural changes that can counteract status processes that disadvantage women and minority group members. Cohen and colleagues, in a series of studies in educational settings, found that racial and ethnic minorities attained status as high as majority group members when all group members were trained to recognize the expertise and contributions of minority group members (e.g., E. Cohen and Lotan 1995). This research suggests that fostering an environ- ment in which individuals are encouraged to give proper recognition to perfor- mances from all group members can work toward reducing status inequalities.
Other research shows that changing institutional arrangements in an organiza- tion can successfully alter influence patterns that disadvantage individuals with low states of diffuse status characteristics. Institutional theory proposes that legitimacy concerns drive much organizational action and that organizations adopt practices that are taken for granted or institutionalized in their environments (Troyer and Silver 1999). Lucas (2003) found that when a group structure with women in lead- ership positions was institutionalized, women as leaders were as influential as men as leaders. This indicates that strong institutional support for arrangements in which women and minority group members hold leadership positions can go a long way toward reducing the resistance they face when in such positions.
Theory and research on status in groups demonstrate how status processes work to disadvantage persons in social categories accorded low status. In particular, men and European Americans are more influential in U.S. culture and have their
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contributions valued more highly than women and minority group members. One consequence of these differences is inequality in access to powerful positions.
Power and Social Structure
As discussed above, influence stems largely from the respect and esteem in which a person is held by others. Power, in contrast, results primarily from a posi- tion in a social structure (D. Willer, Lovaglia, and Markovsky 1997). In theory and research in the group processes tradition, power is treated principally as a feature of social networks (Cook et al. 1983). Like status, power is relative in that one can have it only in relation to others. For this reason, power is treated as a feature of an interconnected group of people, typically a group in which resources are con- tested (D. Willer 1999).
Power in networks
In traditional treatments of the term, power was studied as an attribute of individual people (Gibb 1969). In particular, the goal of research on power was to determine what traits, resources, or attributes confer power (Wolfinger 1960). An early insight in group processes approaches to power was the understanding that power rests in relationships between people, not in people themselves (Emerson 1962). For this reason, power is treated as a feature of network organization.
Power is the ability to get what one wants even when others resist (Lovaglia 1999). Treatments of power in disciplines other than group processes often focus on typologies of power. For example, social psychologists often draw from French and Raven’s (1959) classic five bases of power: expert power, legitimate power, referent power, coercive power, and reward power. Group processes work focuses more narrowly on the capacity to get what one wants; in French and Raven’s parlance, power in the group processes perspective is a capacity to engage in coercive power. This narrow treatment of power has facilitated research on the concept and led to a number of insights, most important of which is that power results from a position in a social structure. Unlike status, which is grounded in feelings of respect (and is very similar to French and Raven’s refer- ent power), power is a result of one’s structural position. Typically, formal rules, such as those that give authority to supervisors in an organization, grant power to control the behavior of others.
There are a number of features of social structure that might confer power, and much of the group processes research has focused on identifying what char- acteristics of networks give power to some positions versus others. A line of research in this tradition involves studies that connect experimental participants in networks in which they compete for resources (Markovsky, Willer, and Patton 1987; Lawler, Thye, and Yoon 2008; Molm, Collett, and Schaefer 2007). Some
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argue that central locations in networks are an important basis of power; from this perspective, positions acquire power when others must go through them to acquire resources (e.g., Pfeffer 1992). Ultimately, experimental research on power in networks has identified that it is the ability to exclude actors from resources they desire, as opposed to centrality or some other feature of network organization, that primarily confers power in networks (Markovsky, Willer, and Patton 1987). If a person controls access to resources, that person will have power. Such power can be seen in human resources departments that have power beyond what their positions in the organizational structure alone indicate. They control resources that are valuable to persons in the organization.
Research over the past few decades has produced several important insights on power. One such insight is that to have power is to use power (Emerson 1972). Even if those with power would choose not to use it, they sometimes must. Organizational structures, for example, grant managers power to determine bonus distributions to subordinates, and the managers must use the power in determining allocations. In the same way, supervisors must submit performance evaluations of subordinates, discipline subordinates who underperform, and so on. Additionally, those with power need not intend to use that power for it nev- ertheless to have dramatic effects (Bonacich 2002). For example, consider a manager who intends to foster a collaborative atmosphere by giving equal bonuses to subordinates. Despite the manager’s intentions, subordinates might well undermine the collaborative environment by undercutting each other to win favor with the manager.
Power and influence, then, are distinct in group processes approaches. One way the distinction is discussed is that power changes behavior without changing attitudes, whereas influence is a change in attitudes that produces a change in behavior. According to Zelditch (1992), the distinction between power and influ- ence is that power involves sanctions, whereas influence persuades an actor to carry out actions because she believes such actions are in her own best interests. Similarly, Parsons (1963) sees power as involving positive and negative sanctions in contrast to influence, which has an effect on the attitudes and opinions of oth- ers. In this way, influence has advantages that power use does not. Also, whereas group members, at a minimum, act as though they agree on the status order (which leads to influence) in a group (Ridgeway and Smith-Lovin 1989), posi- tions of power are usually highly contested. An outcome that power and influence share is getting what one wants. Power leads to other outcomes as well, and we discuss these below.
Outcomes of power
The use of power has two primary outcomes. One is that those with power get their way, typically including the accumulation of valued resources. The second is that those without power come to resent those who use power (Walker et al. 2000). This resentment occurs whether people are threatened with punishment for
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undesirable behavior or promised rewards for desirable behavior (D. Willer, Lovaglia, and Markovsky 1997). Both rewards and punishments compel people to do things they would not do if the rewards or punishments were not in place. Using power to compel action is also inefficient, requiring a great deal of energy on the part of the power holder to always have rewards and punishments in place to gain compliance. From a leadership perspective, if leaders initiate action only through the use of power, then followers will stop carrying out actions that the leader desires as soon as the incentives are removed. A consequence of creating resent- ment is that it leads to a loss of status (D. Willer, Lovaglia, and Markovsky 1997).
Power also has a number of effects on those who hold it. One is that the more powerful are more likely to take action than the less powerful (Guinote 2007). One experimental study had participants first write about an experience in which they felt powerful or powerless (Galinsky, Gruenfeld, and Magee 2003). This activity had the effect of “priming” power for those who wrote about experiences of being powerful. When participants subsequently started a study task, they discovered that they were very close to an annoying tabletop fan. The research found that twice as many participants in the high-power group moved the fan compared to participants in the low-power group (about 80 percent compared to about 40 percent). Individuals with more power are also more likely to take risks (Anderson and Galinsky 2006). Another “priming” study, for example, found that participants in the high-power group were about three times as likely as those in the low-power group to be the first to offer help to a stranger in distress (Galinsky, Jordan, and Sivanathan 2008).
Power, then, tends to lead to an orientation toward action, including risky action. It also appears to lead persons to be less likely to consider the nuances of situations. For example, the more powerful are less likely to consider the perspectives of oth- ers (Galinsky et al. 2006). Power also makes individuals more likely to objectify others (Georgesen and Harris 2000). And power tends to make people greedier and less likely to distribute rewards to others (Anderson and Berdahl 2002).
In addition to differences in how powerful people act toward others and in varied situations, power also affects how people view themselves. Power makes people more confident and aware of their own points of view (Brinol et al. 2007; Weick and Guinote 2008). They become more focused on potential rewards, par- ticularly for themselves, that situations might produce (Keltner, Gruenfeld, and Anderson 2003). High-powered people also rely less on group norms and more on their individual motives to govern their behavior, and their actions tend to be more variable than those of low-power group members (Brauer 2005). Power is also found to make people more likely to engage in moral hypocrisy, applying strict moral standards to others but not practicing them themselves (Lammers and Stapel 2009).
In sum, those in power generally accumulate valued resources and gain compli- ance from others. However, leading with power breeds resentment and is inefficient. Powerful people are also more oriented toward taking action, particularly action that benefits them, and they are less likely to consider the perspectives of others.
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Additionally, powerful people are in tune with their own perspectives but neverthe- less more likely to engage in moral hypocrisy than are less powerful people.
Gender, race, and power
Just as U.S. organizations exist in a culture in which women and minority group members are accorded lower status than others, persons in disadvantaged groups in our society face challenges in both reaching powerful positions and exercising power once in those positions. In particular, status processes influence who gets access to powerful positions and how the use of power is interpreted by others.
Selections and elections to powerful positions in the United States happen based on perceptions of competence. When making a promotion decision in a work organization, for example, the selection is made based on who will be most able to competently carry out the job. As can be seen from the discussion of sta- tus processes in groups, such competency expectations are developed largely based on status characteristics. Thus, those in disadvantaged status categories, such as women and minority group members, are less likely to have access to powerful positions than are those in advantaged status categories.
Once in positions of power, those with low states of diffuse status characteristics are often seen as illegitimate occupants of their positions. For example, people tend to resist directives from women and minority group members in positions of authority (Eagly, Makhijani, and Klonsky 1992). A consequence of this resistance is that their power comes into question. When power is viewed as legitimate, those with power need not carry out any actions to demonstrate that they are powerful (Brass and Burkhardt 1993). When power is viewed as illegitimate, however, those with power feel threatened (Rodríguez-Bailón, Moya, and Yzerbyt 2000). The result is often that women and minority group members in positions of authority feel that they must use their power to show that they have it (Bruins, Ellemers, and De Gilder 1999). Such behaviors likely gain compliance, but because power use creates resentment, they also pose problems. By using their power this way, women and minority group members likely lose further status.
Power, Status, and Diversity
We have summarized the literature on the concepts of power, status, and influ- ence as they are treated in sociology’s group processes tradition. We now discuss how the concepts interrelate, paying particular attention to implications for diversity. Although the group processes tradition treats power and status as dis- tinct, each can be used in strategic ways to increase the other.
Relationships between power and status
Curiously, power and status tend to vary together. Positions high in power (corporate CEOs, for example) are also typically high in status, and positions low
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in power (mailroom clerks, for example) are also typically low in status. This is counterintuitive when considering that the use of power, because of the resent- ment it produces, decreases status (Lovaglia et al. 2005). Why is it then that power and status tend to align? In part it is because power activity is often hid- den, and people in organizations often do not understand well the power struc- tures of those organizations (Walker et al. 2000). Additionally, those with power typically operate restraint when using that power. In a classic treatment, Emerson (1962) famously noted that to use power is to lose it. Although having power also sometimes requires its use, those with power can retain positions of high status if they use the power with restraint.
Warren Buffett has managed to maintain a position of extraordinarily high status while at the same time accumulating one of the largest fortunes in the world (Shell 2008). Buffett likely accomplished this in part through his reputation for using his power with restraint. Buffett is notorious for his resistance to mar- keting his name as a brand; he maintains a modest lifestyle and holds to a man- agement principle that those under him should be allowed to operate with as much freedom as possible (Schroeder 2009). Donald Trump, in contrast, attaches his moniker to seemingly everything he can, makes ostentatious claims about his wealth, and is perhaps most closely associated with his trademark phrase “You’re fired!” Such strategies have almost certainly increased Trump’s power, but they seem to have cost him social status. Parodies of Trump abound, and many treated his entries into the national political scene as a joke (Hertzberg 2011). In addition to maintaining status through restraint in the use of power, there are a number of ways that power can be used to gain status.
The foundation of status differences is expectations that people have for com- petent contributions to social groups. The foundation of power differences, in contrast, is positions in social structures rather than respect or personal ability. Those with power accumulate resources, however, and if we consistently see one person accumulating more resources than others, we are likely to assume that that person is more competent than those others (Stewart and Moore 1992). Thus, one way power translates to status is that people assume those using power are competent because they see the powerful persons accumulating valued resources or otherwise getting their way.
Another way that power can be used to gain status is to use the resources that come with power to “purchase” status. Adjusting for inflation, John D. Rockefeller is considered the wealthiest person in history (CNN Money 2006). Rockefeller used his power as head of Standard Oil to ruthless effect, gaining near complete control of the oil industry in the United States. Once he was powerful, however, Rockefeller cultivated a reputation for being generous with the proceeds of his activities. Late in life, Rockefeller was widely known to keep his pockets filled with coins, giving out dimes to adults and nickels to children he encountered in his daily life (Fox 2006). These gifts reflected a minuscule portion of his wealth, which was over $1 billion at his death, but the activity seems to have worked to increase his status.
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A third way that power can translate into status is through strategic image con- trol. For example, one way to sidestep the resentment that the use of power pro- duces is to use power on a marginalized out-group while maintaining or gaining influence over the majority in-group (R. Willer, Troyer, and Lovaglia 2005). Also, in contrast to those with high status, who are typically viewed as having the inter- ests of the group in mind, those with power are often presumed by others to be self-interested and greedy (Lovaglia, Willer, and Troyer 2003). By engaging in strategic philanthropy, powerful persons can counter expectations of greed and in fact enhance their status with others who admire their perceived restraint and compassion. The status positions of Buffett and Rockefeller, for example, likely benefited from the substantial portions of their fortunes they gave away.
Power, then, can be used in various ways to gain status. It is easier, however, to use status to gain power. Power is a natural outgrowth of status. Status arises principally out of expectations for competence. The reason that status naturally leads to power is that selections or elections to powerful positions are typically made based on perceptions of competence. As mentioned above, persons who are perceived to be the most competent candidates hold leadership positions in organizations. Thus, those who are higher in status, persons who may or may not be the most competent candidates, are typically rewarded with powerful posi- tions. In this way, status processes make it more difficult for persons in disadvan- taged status groups to attain powerful positions in organizations.
Status also leads to power because we perceive resources held by high-status others to be more valuable than resources held by low-status others. In a series of experiments, Thye (2000) found that participants were willing to give more of their own resources in exchange for resources that high-status partners held than for resources held by low-status partners. At the time of this writing, a short social note handwritten by Albert Einstein, a person much higher in status than he was in power, is listed on eBay for a price of $25,000. Einstein’s status gives value to items he possessed. People will trade money for autographs from high-status individuals, giving a resource they value a great deal for a resource relatively insignificant to the high-status person. Status, then, naturally leads to power.
Power, influence, and leadership
Leadership, like power, status, and influence, is a concept that has been subject to a limitless number of treatments. At its most basic level, however, we can say that leadership is about getting people to do things. If people are carrying out actions they would otherwise perform in any case, then there is no need for a leader. Because power and influence are fundamental ways to get people to do things, theory and research on the concepts have clear relevance to issues of leadership.
As discussed, a key feature of power is that it produces public compliance with- out private acceptance. In other words, power use changes behavior but not atti- tudes. Research finds that when leaders use power to reward and punish, it creates
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both resentment and resistance to the leader’s directives (D. Willer, Lovaglia, and Markovsky 1997). In contrast, people willingly follow high-status leaders out of respect and honor. They are influenced, changing both behavior and attitudes.
Unlike positions of power that are often fiercely contested, high status once attained is relatively easy to maintain. This is because of the self-fulfilling nature of status orders; high-status persons receive higher evaluations because they are high-status and in turn maintain their positions. The advantage of leaders com- pelling behavior with influence rather than power is that because it changes attitudes, influence aligns the personal goals of followers with organizational goals (Parsons 1963; Zelditch 1992). With power, a leader communicates which behaviors followers should carry out. With influence, in contrast, a leader can convey a vision of the group’s mission and then encourage followers to use their abilities to further that mission.
Leadership research finds that effective leaders have power but use it spar- ingly (Rashotte 2006). Instead, they rely on the benefits of leading with influ- ence. A limitation to this approach is that persons in groups accorded low social status do not have the reserves of influence from which to draw in compelling behavior. For this reason, we should expect persons in disadvantaged social groups to encounter difficulties when in leadership positions. Research supports this expectation. Despite typically utilizing leadership styles that can have advan- tages over those more characteristic of men, women often receive unfair evalu- ations of their leadership and are given less authority on the job (Eagly and Carli 2003) Other studies find that black leaders are rated more negatively than white leaders, suggesting that they are not seen as legitimate in their leadership posi- tions (Knight et al. 2003). Research also indicates that women suffer a penalty from negative reactions to their success at stereotypically male tasks (Heilman et al. 2004).
Research does indicate methods whereby persons in low-status social catego- ries can increase their influence. We have discussed two, presenting contribu- tions as group motivated and increasing standing on other status characteristics, such as education. Additionally, those who build consistent records of success gain status and influence. And being assertive increases status and influence (Lee and Ofshe 1981). Assertiveness may backfire (see, for example, Butler and Geis 1990), but when the alternative is having contributions ignored, as is often the case for women and minority group members, being assertive will tend to result in higher influence than will a more passive approach.
Power, status, and social identity
Power and status are fundamental ways by which people organize themselves in groups. Dividing into groups is perhaps the most fundamental organizing fea- ture of people. Research finds that people tend to view themselves and others in terms of group memberships and that such categorizations have powerful effects on impressions we develop (Tajfel 1981).
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According to social identity theory, we have as many social identities as groups to which we see ourselves belonging. When social identities become salient, they tell us who we are, how we should behave, and how we should treat others. We perceive members of our in-groups in in-group stereotypical ways and as similar to ourselves. We perceive members of out-groups in out-group stereotypical and discriminatory ways. Furthermore, we are motivated to view members of our in- groups in favorable ways. As a result, we engage in strategies to protect our in- groups (Tajfel 1986).
Work on social identities has implications for issues of diversity in organiza- tions. One implication is that in-group membership confers influence much like status does. Research finds that persons perceived to be in-group members have more influence than persons perceived to be out-group members and also that group membership combines with status characteristics in affecting performance expectations (Kalkhoff and Barnum 2000).
A key to understanding social identity processes is understanding which mem- berships are most salient to people when they are evaluating themselves and others. If membership in categories of diffuse status characteristics such as gen- der and race are most salient, we would expect these characteristics to powerfully drive evaluations and behavior. If membership in the organization is the most salient identity, we might expect it to have the effect of lessening impacts of dif- fuse status characteristics. Research on social identities indicates that this is likely not the case.
When the salience of a group membership is high, members of the group become especially socially attracted to other members whom they see as proto- typical representations of the group (Hogg and Terry 2000). By this process, members least resembling the prototype become marginalized. Like status pro- cesses, these stereotype-producing processes emerge without conscious thought but nevertheless become embedded over time (Bargh and Chartrand 1999). They result in minority group members facing devaluation and discrimination because they are not seen as prototypical group members. Additionally, groups favor as leaders individuals whom they see as best representing prototypes of their groups (Hogg 2001).
In-group membership, like high status in groups, brings with it substantial benefits. According to social identity theory, group members look more favorably upon and distribute more rewards to those whom they perceive to be in-group members. Additionally, prototypical group members have more opportunities to perform and tend to receive higher performance evaluations from superiors (Rowe 1981). And in-group members gain status as other group members defer to them at higher rates (DiTomaso, Post, and Parks-Yancy 2007).
Research on social identities indicates that these processes of identification and categorization interact in important ways with processes of power and status, although these connections are little researched. In particular, proto- typical or majority group members are advantaged in ways similar to high-sta- tus members in groups, receiving higher evaluations for their performances,
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gaining higher rates of deference, and being more likely to be selected to leadership positions than individuals not viewed as prototypical representa- tions of the group.
Diverse workforces provide substantial benefits to organizations. Studies gen- erally find that increased diversity on any number of dimensions, including race and gender, is associated with innovation, creativity, and performance in organi- zations (Horwitz and Horwitz 2007; Somech and Drach-Zahavy 2011). For these reasons and others, the effective management of organizations requires efforts to increase diversity. At the same time, processes of influence and power pose chal- lenges for managing a diverse workplace.
Research on status processes in groups shows them to be a major determining factor in access to powerful positions, and the same research shows how status characteristics shape expectations of people in various social groups, albeit in often nonconscious ways. We focused primarily on gender and race as status characteristics, but status research has identified others as well, including age, height, beauty, wealth, education, and occupation. Different status characteris- tics lead to different performance expectations, which in turn lead to differences in influence.
Organizations in the United States are becoming more diverse. Major efforts are of course in place to manage diversity in organizations, but they may not adequately account for processes that make status orders so stable and resistant to change. For example, efforts to increase diverse representation in powerful leadership positions will be limited in their effectiveness if status processes that disadvantage members of certain social groups remain. Persons in low-status social groups are evaluated as less effective when in powerful positions, have their power viewed as illegitimate, have to use their power more to show that they have it, and suffer status loss from the use of power.
Power, the ability to exercise one’s will even against resistance from others, derives from a position in a social structure. In particular, it rests on the ability to exclude others from resources they desire. Research indicates a number of out- comes of power, including being more likely to take action, being more self- interested, being more risky, and being less likely to take others’ perspectives. The use of power also leads to resentment among those who have had power used against them. As a result, there are significant advantages to using influence rather than power to compel behavior. As discussed, however, members of some groups are more likely to have influence from which to draw.
The group processes literature, particularly research on status in groups, indi- cates viable solutions to these challenges of diversity. Members of disadvantaged status groups can increase their influence by moving to more highly valued cat- egories on status characteristics within their control, acting assertively, and
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presenting their contributions as motivated by the best interests of the group. Management in organizations can also adopt strategies to train group members to value contributions from all group members and institutionalize environments in which members of status-disadvantaged groups hold leadership positions. Additionally, research on power, status, and influence in groups, which to date has been primarily concerned with understanding the formation and conse- quences of hierarchy processes in groups, would benefit from greater attention to applying knowledge gained on the processes to the challenges of managing diversity in organizations.
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