This study aims to examine supervisors’ power preference (harsh/soft) for gaining compliance from subordinates in conflict situations using the updated Power Interaction Model (Koslowsky and Schwarzwald, 2009. The model assumes that the relationship between antecedents and power preference is mediated by cost/benefit considerations.
Four considerations were examined as mediators: acquiescence, relations, worker growth and conformity. A sample of 120 bank managers was given one of several conflict scenarios differing on severity (low/high) and subordinate worker’s performance ability (low/average/high). In addition, mangers’ leadership style and organizational commitment were assessed.
For the two manipulated variables, conflict (high significance, low significance) and worker performance (high, average, low), an interaction effect was tested with follow-up univariate analysis yielding significance only for harsh tactics. Structural equations modeling, used for comparing the fit generated for different mediators, indicated that acquiescence was the most salient mediator and provided adequate fit for the model predicting power tactics preference.
Although it is difficult to exclude cultural effects when applying the Interpersonal Power Interaction Model (IPIM) in a specific country, it should be noted that, as far as factor structure is concerned, a similar pattern was obtained for Israeli and American participants in previous research (Raven et al., 1998). Additionally, in the present study, the outcome measure was not observed but rather elicited through scenarios. The participant responses were derived from self-report questionnaires and are prone to percept–percept bias and common method variance.
For the first time, in a study where antecedent variables were manipulated, findings supported the revised IPIM. Power choice was demonstrated as a result of a sequential process with mediators serving as links between various organizational, situational and personal antecedents and outcomes.
The study is based on the dissertation of the first author.
Tal, A., Schwarzwald, J. and Koslowsky, M. (2015), "Power preference of bank managers in conflicts with subordinates", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 126-144. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-01-2013-0005Download as .RIS
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