The paper aims to examine whether power distance and management style predict social power choice and whether management style also acts as a mediator in a model linking all three variables.
The study was conducted within the Israeli Police Force using regular patrol and special patrol units. A total of 40 captains or officers and 151 policemen/women completed scales assessing power distance, captain's managerial style, and influence tactics chosen by them in conflict situations. The data were analyzed from two different perspectives: captains and policemen.
Harsh tactics were found to differ significantly by power distance whereas the parallel comparison for soft tactics was not significant. The mediation hypothesis tested separately on both samples was supported only for the subordinate group. Management style added significant variance for explaining the dependent variable and also mediated the relationship between power distance and harsh tactic choice.
Using alternative methods for the research design such as observational data or manipulating the independent variables with different scenarios would provide support for the robustness of the findings.
As power distance is increasing, the need to gain compliance in a task oriented situation increases the usage of harsh influence tactics. Conversely, for a similar power distance but in an interpersonal oriented situation, the supervisor may well decide to apply more soft tactics which are more likely to foster a free exchange of ideas and encourage compliance on the part of the patrolman.
Theoretically, the findings of a mediator effect aids in understanding power strategy choice. Specifically, managerial style is not independent of power distance but rather helps maintain the existing organizational culture. Methodologically, the use of two data sets, supervisors and subordinates, reduces bias attributed to common method variance.
Koslowsky, M., Baharav, H. and Schwarzwald, J. (2011), "Management style as a mediator of the power distance‐influence tactics relationship", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 264-277. https://doi.org/10.1108/10444061111152964
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