STAYING POWER: THE IMPACT OF TEAM EXPERIENCES ON EMPLOYEES’ FUTURE RESPONSES TO POWER AS LEADERS
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The ways that leaders use their power can have important impacts on their subordinates as well as their organizations, so it is important to discern how leaders develop the ways they understand (or construe) power. As people’s construals of power can develop through experiences that arise from their social contexts (e.g., Torelli & Shavitt, 2010; Belmi & Laurin, 2016), the structures of teams within the workplace can cause team members to have varied experiences, and may thus play a critical role in developing the ways that future leaders construe power. In this dissertation, I argue that the experiences that people have in teams as lower-level employees can influence the ways they understand power, which predict the behaviors they will later enact as leaders. I also integrate multiple streams of research on power construal and propose a framework to bridge multiple perspectives within this literature. In two pilot studies and two main studies, I find that team member experiences impact members’ power construals, and that power construals predict behaviors these members enact when they are later put in positions of leadership. I discuss contributions to the teams, power, and leadership literatures, and offer practical guidance for organizations and early-career employees.