(When) Can Authority Foster Co-Ordination Without Reducing Motivation?



We propose and empirically test if authoritative intervention can help resolve organizational problems without reducing subordinate motivation. We suggest that when authority is task-related, legitimized by competence, and deployed to resolve co-ordination problems, organizational agents experiencing the exercise of such power will not detach from the collective goals – as prior research would suggest. We test our hypothesis using Wikipedia data spanning the years 2002 to 2014. Analyzing 17,836 talk/article page pairs belonging to 8 Wikiprojects, we can show that contributors welcome restrictions of talk pages by administrators as acts of co-ordination without detaching from the organization overall.