, Volume 13, Issue 11-12, pp 625-639

Sex and situational influences on the use of power: A follow-up study

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This study, which is patterned after an earlier study of male students by Goodstadt and Kipnis [1970], investigated the influence of sex and self-confidence of the subject and kind of worker problem encountered (motivation vs. ability) on the use of supervisory powers by male and female students in a simulated production situation. Contrary to previous research and sex-role stereotypes, males and females were not found to differ in power use or in self-ratings of self-confidence. Neither sex of the subject nor level of self-confidence was found to influence choice of power. Rather, type of worker problem influenced the use of power, with ability problems evoking the use of expert and coercive powers and motivation problems evoking the use of reward powers.

Support for the preparation of this manuscript was partially provided by the Business Research Division, School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder. The author thanks Barbara Parker for her scholarly review of the literature in conducting the study.