Antecedents of leaders' power sharing: The roles of power instability and distrust

Sanne Feenstra, Jennifer Jordan, Frank Walter, Janka I. Stoker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Although previous research has identified various beneficial consequences of power sharing, less research has examined antecedents of leaders’ power sharing. To address this gap, across five studies, the present research identifies important social and psychological barriers to leaders’ power sharing. Studies 1a, 1b, and 2 demonstrate that the instability of a leader’s power position undermines his or her power sharing. Study 3 then demonstrates that distrust acts as a key psychological mechanism that can explain this relationship. Then, in Study 4, we distinguish between two dimensions of distrust and examine the moderating role of subordinates’ seniority. We show that subordinates’ seniority moderates the indirect association between power instability and power sharing, via benevolence and ability distrust, such that this indirect relationship is more pronounced for relatively senior (compared to junior) subordinates. Overall, our findings provide valuable insights into when, why, and with whom leaders are more or less willing to share their power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-128
Number of pages14
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume157
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2020

Keywords

  • Power instability
  • Power sharing
  • Benevolence distrust
  • Ability distrust
  • Subordinates' seniority
  • Leadership
  • EMPOWERING LEADERSHIP
  • ORGANIZATIONAL-CHANGE
  • INTEGRATIVE MODEL
  • TRUST
  • SELF
  • THREAT
  • RISK
  • PARANOIA
  • BEHAVIOR
  • PARTICIPATION

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