Accounting for subordinate perceptions of supervisor power: An identity-dependence model

Farmer, S., & Aguinis, H.
Journal of Applied Psychology Vol. 90 Issue 6, pp. 1069-1083.

We present a model that explains how subordinates perceive the power of their supervisors and the causal mechanisms by which these perceptions translate into subordinate outcomes. Drawing on
identity and resource dependence theories, we propose that supervisors have power over their subordinates when they control resources needed for the subordinates’ enactment and maintenance of current and desired identities. The joint effect of perceptions of supervisor power and supervisor intentions to provide such resources leads to four conditions ranging from highly functional to highly dysfunctional: confirmation, hope, apathy, and progressive withdrawal. Each of these conditions is associated with specific outcomes such as the quality of the supervisor-subordinate relationship, turnover, and changes in the type and centrality of various subordinate identities.