To and Fro: The Costs and Benefits of Power Fluctuation Throughout the Day Academic Article uri icon


  • Power is a ubiquitous element of organizational relationships. Historically in the organizational and social sciences, power has most commonly been evaluated statically. Although this approach has been beneficial thus far, it may be inconsistent with the realities that most individuals face in organizations. Rather, we suggest that individuals' sense of power changes, even within a given day. Thus, we introduce the concept of power fluctuation to better explain the phenomenon that one's sense of power varies over time. We position power fluctuation as a form of micro role transition and draw from the social distance theory of power to posit that such fluctuation throughout the day has both positive and negative consequences. Specifically, we suggest that daily power fluctuation (day-to-day, within-person variance in power fluctuation) as well as general power fluctuation (person-to-person, between-person variance in power fluctuation) increase perspective taking and contribution to team performance, but those benefits come at an emotional cost (i.e., frustration and emotional exhaustion). The results of our multilevel experience sampling study of 845 matched-responses from 103 employee-coworker dyads largely support our predictions of the manifestation and consequences of power fluctuation. The implications of power fluctuation for theory and practice are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

author list (cited authors)

  • Sabey, T. B., Rodell, J. B., & Matta, F. K.

publication date

  • January 1, 2020 11:11 AM