One size doesn’t fit all: the influence of supervisors’ power tactics and subordinates’ need for cognitive closure on burnout and stress

Jocelyn J. Bélanger, Antonio Pierro, Barbara Barbieri, Nicola A. De Carlo, Alessandra Falco, Arie W. Kruglanski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The present research investigated the notion of fit between supervisors’ power tactics and subordinates’ need for cognitive closure (NFCC) on subordinates’ burnout and stress. Subordinates who tend to avoid ambiguity (high NFCC) were expected to experience relatively less burnout (Study 1) and stress (Study 2) if their supervisors utilize harsh (controlling and unequivocal) power tactics and more burnout and stress if their supervisors utilize soft (autonomy-supportive and equivocal) power tactics. In contrast, it was expected that subordinates who avoid firm and binding conclusions (low NFCC) would experience relatively less burnout and stress if their supervisors use soft power tactics and more burnout and stress if they use harsh power tactics. Two studies conducted in diverse organizational settings supported these hypotheses. Collectively, these results support the conclusion that soft (vs. harsh) power tactics are not always associated with better (vs. worse) organizational outcomes. Theoretical and practical implications for organizations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-300
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 3 2016

Keywords

  • burnout
  • need for cognitive closure
  • power
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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