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Title:One or Many? An Experimental Study of Power and Personality in Autocratic and Democratic Groups
Author(s):Harms, Peter D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Roberts, Brent W.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:The present study proposed a new model of leadership whereby leaders with a positive psychological mindset were hypothesized to engage in more effective leadership behaviors which in turn foster greater group productivity and subordinate satisfaction. The current study employs a multi-trait, multi-method test of the interactive effects of decision-making structures and personality on the psychological mindset of leaders in an experimental group setting. Two hundred and sixty-seven students were randomly assigned to 55 work groups who were engaged in a simply production task. Leaders of these groups were randomly determined beforehand and groups were randomly divided into autocratic and democratic decision-making structures. Participants were screened beforehand for their power orientation using self-report questionnaires, semi-projective tests, and implicit association tasks. In study, I found that while autocratic leaders reported experiencing more power than democratic leaders, they were no more likely to report enjoying the task. While it was hypothesized that having a pro-power orientation would result in experiencing more positive psychological experience for leaders, this hypothesis was only partially supported by the results of this study. Higher levels of fit between decision-making structures and personality did not result in higher levels of positive psychological mindset for leaders. Beyond these findings, leaders with a more positive psychological mindset were more likely to engage in transformational leadership behaviors. Further, the groups of leaders with more positive psychological mindsets were more productive, but not more satisfied. Transformational leadership mediated the relationship between the positive psychological mindset of leaders and group productivity. Overall, these results generally support a model of leadership that takes into account not only situational and personological factors, but also the psychological states that may drive effective leadership behaviors.
Issue Date:2008
Description:84 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3314786
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2008

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