The price of power at work?

August 19, 2008

Individuals with a more senior level of job authority have higher levels of interpersonal conflict according to new research out of the University of Toronto.

The study conducted by Scott Schieman, a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto and Sarah Reid, a PhD candidate, involved data from a 2005 sample of 1,785 working adults in the United States. This is the first study of a nationally representative sample that documents the link between power and conflict in the workplace across a broad cross-section of jobs and sectors.

"We show that a highly desired attribute of the job—authority—comes with some interpersonal costs, but those costs aren't distributed equally across key social groups," said Schieman.

The study found that:

-- Workers with higher levels of job authority report significantly higher levels of exposure to interpersonal conflict from all sources at work;

-- Men with authority report more conflict than similarly-positioned women;

-- Younger workers with power report the highest level of conflict with others in the workplace.

The study findings are published in the August edition of the journal Work and Occupations.

Source: University of Toronto

Explore further: Telecommuting works best in moderation, science shows

Related Stories

Telecommuting works best in moderation, science shows

September 24, 2015

Organizations are increasingly offering employees a variety of work-from-home options despite sometimes conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of telecommuting. A comprehensive new report reveals that telecommuting ...

New report examines regulation of federally funded research

September 22, 2015

Continuing expansion of federal research regulations and requirements is diminishing the effectiveness of the U.S. scientific enterprise and lowering the return on the federal investment in research by directing investigators' ...

Recommended for you

The dark side of Nobel prizewinning research

October 4, 2015

Think of the Nobel prizes and you think of groundbreaking research bettering mankind, but the awards have also honoured some quite unhumanitarian inventions such as chemical weapons, DDT and lobotomies.

How much for that Nobel prize in the window?

October 3, 2015

No need to make peace in the Middle East, resolve one of science's great mysteries or pen a masterpiece: the easiest way to get yourself a Nobel prize may be to buy one.

Search for Egypt's Nefertiti gains new momentum (Update)

September 29, 2015

The search for ancient Egypt's Queen Nefertiti in an alleged hidden chamber in King Tut's tomb gained new momentum as Egypt's Antiquities Minister said Tuesday he is now more convinced a queen's tomb may lay hidden behind ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.