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Motivation, Power and Leadership


Admission requirements

Master students with prerequisite course Social and Organisational Psychology or comparable course to be assessed by the study adviser.


This course focuses on the interplay between individuals, groups, and organisations with special attention to the roles of leaders and managers. Performance of groups and organizations is dependent on the fit between the needs, motives, values and skills of people and the structural and operational characteristics of groups and organisations. Leaders use their bases of power and select influence tactics to get things done by their followers or subordinates.

Students will review classical studies and they will acquire cutting edge knowledge of advances in theories about leadership, motivation, and power. Moreover, they will learn how to manage task performance and improve satisfaction and commitment of individual members of these groups and organisations. Using recent theoretical and empirical developments, we will discuss what kind of leadership behaviours are beneficial in particular situations.

After this course you should be able to answer the following practical questions:

  • What kind of strategies can organizations and leaders use to motivate followers?

  • How does gender influence the effectiveness of a leader?

  • How does power impact people?

  • Can emotional displays help leaders to obtain their goals?

  • Is leader personality predictive of effective leadership?

Course objectives

The student:

  • Has specialized knowledge of social and organisational psychological theories about behaviour in social contexts and organisations.

  • Can at basic level make use of theories that are common in social and organisational psychology.

  • Has the skill to use theories and research findings in real-life situations.


Motivation, Power and Leadership (2011-2012):

Mode of instruction

Seven weekly lectures and seminars.

Assessment method

Written exam.

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

Reading list (articles available via Blackboard)

Lecture 2: Leadership, power, and motivation theories

  • Ellemers, N, De Gilder, D, & Haslam, S. (2004). Motivating individuals and groups at work: A social identity perspective on leadership and group performance. The Academy of Management Review, 29(3), 459-478.

  • Gagne, M, & Deci, E. (2005). Self-determination theory and work motivation. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(4), 331-362.

Lecture 3: The dark side of power

  • Einarsen, S., Schanke Aasland, M., & Skogstad, A. (2007). Destructive leadership behavior: A definition and conceptual model. Leadership Quarterly, 18, 207-216.

  • Fast, N.J. & Chen, S. (2009). When the boss feels inadequate. Power, incompetence and aggression. Psychological Science.

  • Georgesen, J., & Harris, M. J. (2006). Holding on to power: Effects of powerholders’ positional instability and expectancies on interactions with subordinates. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 451-468.

  • Kunstman, J, & Maner, J. (2011). Sexual overperception: Power, mating motives, and biases in social judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 282-294

Lecture 4: Mood and emotions in leadership

  • Lewis, K. M. (2000). When leaders display emotions: How followers respond to negative emotional expression of male and female leaders. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21, 121 –234.

  • Van Kleef, G, Homan, A, Beersma, B, et al. (2009). Searing sentiment or cold calculation? the effects of leader emotional displays on team performance depend on follower epistemic motivation. Academy of Management Journal, 52(3), 562-580.

  • Van Kleef, G, Homan, A, Beersma, B, et al. (2010). On angry leaders and agreeable followers: How leaders’ emotions and followers’ personalities shape motivation and team performance. Psychological Science, 21(12), 1827-1834.

Lecture 5: Diversity and the demands of leadership

  • Homan, A., Hollenbeck, J.R., Humphrey, S.E., Van Knippenberg, D., Ilgen, D.R., & Van Kleef, G. (2008). Facing differences with an open mind: Openness to experience, salience of intragroup differences, and performance of diverse work groups. Academy of Management Journal, 51, 1204-1222.

  • Somech, A. (2006). The effects of leadership style and team processes on performance and innovation in functionally heterogeneous teams. Journal of Management, 32, 132-157.

Lecture 6: Leadership Development

  • Van Beek, M. & Grachev, M. (2010). Building strategic leadership competencies: the case of Unilever. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 5, 317-332.
    Lecture 7: Power

  • Galinsky, A. D., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Magee, J. C. (2003). From power to action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 453-466.

  • Keltner, D, Gruenfeld, D.H., Anderson, C. (2003). Power, approach, and inhibition. Psychological Review, 110, 265-284.

  • Greer, L. L., & Van Kleef, G.A. (2010). Equality versus Differentiation: The Effects of Power Dispersion on Group Interaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 1032-1044. doi: 10.1037/a0020373


Master’s introduction and enrolment day

Make a reservation in your agenda so you will not miss any information that you will need during your master’s programme MSc in Psychology. Please consult the Agenda master meetings

Exam registration

Registration for the (re)exam is not automatic. Students, who haven’t registered, cannot participate in the (re)exam

Contact information

Dr. Fieke Harinck
Room 2A-33
Tel.: 5275344