Article | Academy of Management Journal | October 2013

When Power Makes Others Speechless: The Negative Impact of Leader Power on Team Performance

by Leigh Plunkett Tost, Francesca Gino and Richard P. Larrick

Abstract

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

Keywords: Power; leadership; Team Performance; Groups and Teams; Performance; Leadership Style; Power and Influence;

Citation:

Tost, Leigh Plunkett, Francesca Gino, and Richard P. Larrick. "When Power Makes Others Speechless: The Negative Impact of Leader Power on Team Performance." Academy of Management Journal 56, no. 5 (October 2013): 1465–1486.