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Motivation, Power and Leadership


Entry requirements

Only open to master’s students Psychology. Recommended bachelor course Social and Organisational Psychology.


This course focuses on how to manage people, 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 motivation, power, and leadership. Moreover, they will learn how to manage task performance in teams and improve satisfaction and commitment of individual members of these teams and organisations.
Using recent theoretical and empirical developments, we will discuss what kind of leadership behaviours are beneficial in particular situations.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students:

  • have specialised knowledge of social and organisational psychological theories regarding motivation, power and leadership in social contexts and organisations;

  • can (at basic level) make use of theories about motivation, power and leadership that are common in social and organisational psychology; and

  • have the skill to use theories about motivation, power and leadership and research findings to manage people in real-life situations.


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in: Psychology timetables




Students need to enroll for lectures.

Master’s course registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. Registering for exams

The exam is in English and needs to be answered in English. There will be an opportunity to look at the exam the weeks after the publication of the final grades.
Contact Fieke Harinck via email to participate in this opportunity.

Mode of instruction

7 lectures. Attendance is not mandatory but essential for thorough understanding.

Assessment method

Multiple-choice and open questions (respectively 70% and 30% of final grade). All literature as mentioned in the yearly-updated reading list on Blackboard, as well as everything that is discussed during the lectures can and will be part of the exam. Please note that the list below is exemplary, and this list is updated yearly to give students a state-of-the-art perspective on this field.

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

Exemplary reading list below (reading list 2019). This list is updated regularly and the final reading list will appear on Blackboard.

Lecture 1

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

  • Parks, C. D., Joireman, J., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2013). Cooperation, trust, and antagonism: How public goods are promoted. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(3), 119-165. doi: 10.1177/1529100612474436

  • Van Vugt, M., Hogan, R., & Kaiser, R. B. (2008). Leadership, followership, and evolution – Some lessons from the past. American Psychologist, 63(3), 182-196. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.63.3.182

  • Edelson, M. G., Polania, R., Ruff, C. C., Fehr, E., & Hare, T. A. (2018). Computational and neurobiological foundations of leadership decisions. Science, 361(6401), eaat0036. doi: 10.1126/science.aat0036

Lecture 2: Leadership:

  • Chemers, M. M. (2000). Leadership research and theory: A functional integration. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 4, 27- 43.

  • Hogg, M.A., Van Knippenberg, D. & Rast, D.E. III (2012) The social identity theory of leadership: Theoretical origins, research findings, and conceptual developments, European Review of Social Psychology, 23:1, 258-304, DOI: 10.1080/10463283.2012.741134

  • Judge, T. A., & Piccolo, R. F. (2004). Transformational and Transactional Leadership: A Meta-Analytic Test of Their Relative Validity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(5), 755–768.

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

Lecture 3: Power

  • Brauer, M. and Bourhis, R. Y. (2006), Social power. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 36: 601-616. doi:10.1002/ejsp.355
    Galinsky, A. D., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Magee, J. C. (2003). From power to action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 453-466.

  • 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

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

Lecture 4

  • Chen, X.-P., Pillutla, M. M., & Yao, X. (2009). Unintended consequences of cooperation inducing and maintaining mechanisms in public goods dilemmas: Sanctions and moral appeals. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 12(2), 241-255. doi: 10.1177/1368430208098783

  • Mulder, L. B., van Dijk, E., De Cremer, D., & Wilke, H. A. M. (2006). When sanctions fail to increase cooperation in social dilemmas: Considering the presence of an alternative option to defect. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(10), 1312-1324. doi: 10.1177/0146167206289978

  • Mooijman, M., Van Dijk, W. W., Ellemers, N., & van Dijk, E. (2015). Why leaders punish: A power perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109, 75-89. doi:10.1037/pspi0000021

  • Molenmaker, W. E., de Kwaadsteniet, E. W., & van Dijk, E. (2016). The impact of personal responsibility on the (un)willingness to punish non-cooperation and reward cooperation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 134, 1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2016.02.004

Lecture 5: Leaders are only human: Emotions and pitfalls

  • Fast, N.J. & Chen, S. (2009). When the boss feels inadequate. Power, incompetence and aggression. Psychological Science, 20, 1406 – 1413.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Lecture 6: Leadership and diversity plus some recent insights

  • 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. or

  • De Wit, F. R.C., Scheepers, D., Ellemers, N. , Sassenberg, K., and Scholl, A. (2017). Whether power holders construe their power as responsibility or opportunity influences their tendency to take advice from others. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 38, 923-49.

  • Greer, L. L., de Jong, B. A., Schouten, M. E., & Dannals, J. E. (2018). Why and when hierarchy impacts team effectiveness: A meta-analytic integration. Journal of Applied Psychology, 103(6), 591-613.

Contact information

Dr. Fieke Harinck
Dr. W. Molenmaker