Tug-of-War: Why and when teams get embroiled in power struggles Defended on Thursday, 12 April 2018

Many organizational teams get tormented by performance-detracting power struggles. In this dissertation, I aim to unravel  why and when power struggles emerge within organizational teams. I draw on individual-level research on power and integrate this with the diverse literatures on group threats and team (power) structures to theorize that power may be sought after as a protection-tool when members feel threatened and are motivated by the team structure to cope with this threat in individualistic manners. Accordingly, I developed an overarching framework in which I propose that the combination of a threatening team environment with an individualistic team structure encourages intra-team power struggles. I tested and found support for this overarching framework with three studies that examined the combined effects of team threats (i.e., inter-team conflict in chapter 2, team uncertainty in chapter 3, and organizational change in teams in chapter 4) and internal team structures (i.e., intra-team power structures in chapter 2 and 4 and intra-team outcome interdependence in chapter 3). The research in my dissertation has both important theoretical as well as practical implications.


Power struggles, Intrateam competition, Intergroup conflict, Hierarchy, Team uncertainty, Team threats, Team interdependence, Organizational change

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