An experimental study of the behavior of supervisors given high and low power over their subordinates.
Kegeles, S. Stephen
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An experimental study of the behavior of supervisors given high and low power over their subordinates This study permitted an exploration under specific conditions of the behavior of persons with high power. The definition of power used here was first formulated by Hymovitch, as: the ability of any person in an interpersonal relationship to reward or punish the other person in the relationship in some particular way in some particular situation. Focal points for the theory were two constructs, (1) the power-ratio, within any two person relationship, defined as: the power of one person over a second as compared in some way to the power of the second over the fist, and (2) the maximal-needed power, defined as:a state where an individual higher in the power-ratio perceives that all of his needs, over which the person lower has control, are being satisfied by the person lower in the power-ratio. Theoretical considerations seemed to indicate that persons who varied in distance from the maximal-needed power would accordingly vary in their behavior toward subordinates. An experiment was designed to test formulations about the behavior of persons with high power. In the experimental situation, subjects met in fifteen groups of four and were told they were to work on a problem involving the assessment of persons from autobiographical sketches. They were told that one of them was to be selected on a chance basis as supervisor, the other three would serve as subordinates. They were further instructed that in some of these experiments the supervisor would have high power to recommend rewards for subordinates, while in other experiments he would have low power. In each group, the four subjects were then separated for the remainder of the experiment, and each received instructions that telling them they had high power to recommend rewards for the subordinates; the other two were told they had low power. Each subject then received notes apparently written by each of his subordinates but actually prepared in advance by the experimenter. The notes he received were a hostile notes, a praise note and a neutral note, each coupled with equally inaccurate evaluations of the characters described in the autographical sketches. The supervisor (i.e., each subject) according to instructions, compared these evaluations with "correct" evaluations, and then answered each supposed subordinate. After the experiment, each subject was asked through a questionaire to recommend each subordinate for financial rewards to which he felt the subordinate was entitled. The size of the reward varied between zero and ten dollars. Several weeks after the experimental session, subjects were requested to fill out an autocratic-democratic ideology scale. The data for the experiment were tabulated from (1) a codification of the analysis of notes communicated by all subjects and (2) an analysis of the questionaire. [Truncated]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University N.B.: page 73 appear to be missing from the physical thesis. We believe that this is a page numbering error on the author's part, and no actual content is missing.