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OrganizationScience

Vol. 21, No. 2, MarchApril 2010, pp. 347361


issn1047-7039 eissn1526-5455 10 2102 0347
informs

doi 10.1287/orsc.1090.0452
2010 INFORMS
Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams:
The Moderating Role of Performance Feedback
Gerben S. Van der Vegt, Simon B. de Jong
Department of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior, University of Groningen, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
{g.s.van.der.vegt@rug.nl, sdejong@deloitte.nl}
J. Stuart Bunderson
John M. Olin School of Business, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63130,
bunderson@wustl.edu
Eric Molleman
Department of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior, University of Groningen, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands,
h.b.m.molleman@rug.nl
P
ast research suggests that power asymmetry within teams can have a stiing effect on team learning and performance.
We argue here that this effect is contingent on whether power advantages within a team are used to advance individual
or collective interests. This study considers the moderating role of one factor that can inuence the individual or collective
orientation of team membersthe type of performance feedback that a team receives. We propose that whereas individ-
ual feedback reinforces the negative effects of power asymmetry on team learning, group feedback fosters a collective
orientation within a team that transforms power differences into a stimulus for team learning. Analysis of multisource,
multimethod data obtained from 218 individuals in 46 teams provided support for these hypotheses. Results also suggested
that team learning mediated the relationship between power asymmetry and team performance. These ndings suggest that
power asymmetry can be a resource for and not just an obstacle to team learning in power-asymmetric teams.
Key words: power asymmetry; learning; teams; performance feedback; task dependence; eld study
History: Published online in Articles in Advance July 2, 2009.
A growing body of research evidence in the organi-
zation and management literatures suggests that work
teams can differ considerably in the extent to which
they pursue activities related to learning and continu-
ous improvement and that these differences have impor-
tant implications for team performance (Bunderson and
Sutcliffe 2002, 2003; Edmondson 1999, 2002; Gibson
and Vermeulen 2003; Schippers et al. 2003; Van der
Vegt and Bunderson 2005; see also Argote et al. 2001).
In todays market environment, where a rms success
is contingent on its ability to improve and adapt more
quickly than its competitors, teams with the capacity to
continually improve processes and approaches to operate
more quickly, efciently, and intelligently have become
a critical competitive advantage. Understanding the fac-
tors that promote or inhibit these interactive learning
processes within teams has therefore become an impor-
tant research agenda for management scholars (Argote
1999, Edmondson 1999).
One key factor that may be important for team
learning is the conguration of power within a team.
A number of researchers have suggested that power dif-
ferences within a team may stie team learning behav-
iors. For example, Brooks (1994) found that group
reection and process improvement did not occur when
even one team member had signicant power over oth-
ers. Similarly, Edmondson (2002) conducted a qual-
itative study of learning behavior in 12 teams and
found that power differences were negatively associ-
ated with team learning. Other research has suggested
that in teams where there is stratication or inequal-
ity in power relations, team members do not learn from
member differences (Bunderson 2003a, 2003b; Pitcher
and Smith 2001). And Eisenhardt and Bourgeois (1988)
found that power inequality heightens intragroup politics
and undermines team self-improvement. Together, these
studies suggest that power differences can signicantly
interfere with team learning and that real learning may
only occur in teams where members have equal levels
of power.
This conclusion is problematic for a number of rea-
sons. First, power differences exist in virtually all teams.
In classic formulations, power is dened as a function of
dependence (Emerson 1962). A has power over B (i.e.,
dyadic asymmetry in power exists) when B is depen-
dent on A for valued or needed resources (physical, emo-
tional, informational) (Blau 1964). In work teams, where
multiple individuals coordinate differentiated efforts to
347
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
348 Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS
complete some task, resource dependence among group
members is simply a fact of life. Furthermore, although
there may be cases where the power-dependence rela-
tions that exist between task group members will balance
out (i.e., As dependence on B is balanced by Bs depen-
dence on A such that neither has a power advantage), it
is unreasonable to assume that perfect balance among all
group members will be the normal or even a common
state of affairs. In most teams, asymmetries in power-
dependence relations will exist because of differences
in the formal or informal resources controlled by team
members as a function of different roles, tenures, or nat-
ural endowments (e.g., intelligence or charisma; Ragins
and Sundstrom 1989).
Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that power
differences do not inevitably stie team learning and
that they may even play a facilitating role. For exam-
ple, Edmondson (2002) found that the effect of power
differences on team learning depended on how these
differences were handled and, specically, on whether
high-power members adopted a participative approach
(see also Nembhard and Edmondson 2006). Van der
Vegt et al. (2006) also found that teams varied in the
extent to which high-power members helped lower-
power members and that these differences were associ-
ated with performance. Work by Larson and colleagues
(1998) suggests that high-power members can play a key
role in encouraging the discussion of unique member
information.
We therefore suggest that a negative main effects
model of the relationship between power differences and
team learning may be too simplistic and that the time
has come to articulate and investigate moderating factors
(Chen et al. 2001), i.e., factors that mitigate the nega-
tive effects of power differences or that transform power
differences into a resource for learning within teams.
This paper considers one such factorthe type of per-
formance feedback a team receives.
Performance feedback plays a critical role in virtu-
ally all theories of experiential learning (e.g., Ilgen et al.
1979, Nadler 1979) because it provides the mechanism
by which an actor assesses the efcacy of past efforts
and identies areas of needed improvement (Vroom
1964). Moreover, past research has suggested that the
type of feedback a group receives and, more specif-
ically, whether a group receives feedback about indi-
vidual and/or group performance, can affect a groups
orientation toward individual or collective improvement
(Hinsz et al. 1997). Building on this literature, we pro-
pose that performance feedback may inuence the rela-
tionship between power asymmetry and team learn-
ing by inuencing whether team members are oriented
toward individual or collective goals. More specically,
we will suggest that whereas individual performance
feedback reinforces the negative effects of power dif-
ferences, feedback on group performance transforms
power differences into an asset for both team learning
and performance improvement. We tested hypotheses
based on these general propositions in a sample of 218
employees from 46 work teams. Our results underscore
the importance of a collective orientation for a teams
ability to leverage member differences for team learn-
ing and improvement (as suggested by Van der Vegt and
Bunderson 2005).
Theory and Hypotheses
Power Asymmetry and Team Learning
We conceptualize team learning in this paper using a
group process lens (Edmondson et al. 2007). That is,
we dene team learning as activities by which team
members seek to acquire, share, rene, or combine
task-relevant knowledge through interaction with one
another (Van der Vegt and Bunderson 2005, p. 534).
Examples of team learning behaviors include experi-
menting with new approaches or ideas, reecting on
past actions and action-outcome relationships, seek-
ing different perspectives, and evaluating alternatives
(e.g., Edmondson 1999, 2002; Gibson and Vermeulen
2003; Schippers et al. 2007; West 1996). These team
learning behaviors are a specic class of interaction
processes in teams processes involving interactions
between team members that play a key role in transform-
ing input factors into performance outcomes (Hackman
and Morris 1975). We therefore view team learning
as conceptually distinct from the outcomes that might
result from an engagement in learning-related activi-
ties, outcomes such as more adaptive decisions and
actions, improved performance, or, perhaps in some
cases, decreased efciency resulting from a misallo-
cation of effort (see Bunderson and Sutcliffe 2003).
Past research has conrmed that team learning behav-
iors are distinct from other team interaction processes
(Drach-Zahavy and Somech 2001) and that variance in
this specic interaction process across teams explains
unique variance in team innovation and improvement
(Drach-Zahavy and Somech 2001, Edmondson 1999,
Van der Vegt and Bunderson 2005).
We conceptualize power asymmetry within a team
as imbalance in the dyadic power-dependence relations
between and among group members as they perform
their separate but interdependent tasks. So a given dyadic
task relation between two members is power-imbalanced
when member A depends more on member B than B
depends on A for resources (e.g., information, exper-
tise, materials) needed to perform his or her work (see
Emerson 1962, Blau 1964). The overall level of power
asymmetry within a team is a simple additive function
of these dyadic power-dependence imbalances. Power
asymmetry is therefore distinct from the construct of
power centralization. Although it is true that a team in
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS 349
which power is centralized will have at least some asym-
metric power relations, a team with asymmetric power
relations need not be at all centralized (e.g., each mem-
ber may be powerful in some relations but dependent in
others). Moreover, whereas power asymmetry will often
result from member differences in knowledge, skill, and
experience (i.e., expertise diversity; Van der Vegt and
Bunderson 2005), expertise diversity does not always
lead to power asymmetry, because members may be
expert in complementary domains, resulting in balanced
power relations.
Past research suggests several compelling reasons why
we might expect power asymmetry to dampen team
learning efforts. Lower-power members may be con-
cerned about negative evaluations from those on whom
they depend for resources and may therefore become
tentative and inhibited in offering opinions and sharing
information (see Ridgeway 2001, Keltner et al. 2003). At
the same time, higher-power members may simply pay
less attention to lower-power members (Kipnis 1972,
Fiske 1993, de Jong et al. 2007) or may be unwill-
ing to acknowledge any dependence on the insights or
knowledge of lower-power members because they fear
that doing so will undermine their privileged power rela-
tion (Lee 1997). These well-documented reactions to
dyadic power differences would all seem to work against
the goal of open dialogue among group members about
how to improve processes and better coordinate member
efforts.
In contrast, we would argue that there are also
good reasons to expect that power asymmetry may not
always dampen team learning and that it can, in fact,
stimulate learning behaviors. Research by Chen et al.
(2001) suggests that although exchange-oriented individ-
uals may respond to power advantages in self-serving
ways and therefore reinforce the negative effects just
described, individuals with a communal orientation actu-
ally respond to power advantages by attending more
carefully to the needs and interests of dependent oth-
ers. They explain this effect by suggesting that the
effect of power on interpersonal behavior is contin-
gent on whether an individual associates power with
self- or other-interested goals. Those who associate
power with other-interested goals respond to power by
assuming greater responsibility for the needs and wel-
fare of dependent others; those who associate power
with self-interested goals respond by treating others in
instrumental ways (which often means ignoring them,
because they have little perceived instrumental value).
This argument is reminiscent of work by McClelland
(1975), who rst distinguished between the personalized
(self-interested, uninhibited) versus socialized (other-
interested, restrained) exercise of power.
We would suggest that when power advantages are
leveraged in other-interested ways, power asymmetry
within a group can become a powerful stimulus for
learning behavior. Specically, we suggest that power-
advantaged members who adopt a collective and devel-
opmental orientation in their interactions with dependent
others are able to focus attention, stimulate reec-
tion, and encourage information exchange in ways that
do not occur as naturally or easily in situations of
balanced power. This argument is supported by past
research examining the effects of power on groups and
dyads. For example, research by Larson and colleagues
(e.g., Larson et al. 1998) suggests that power-advantaged
group members who adopt a participative (i.e., other-
oriented) style encourage more open discussion and
integration of both shared and unshared information
during group discussion than would otherwise occur.
This is consistent with recent research by Nembhard and
Edmondson (2006), who found that higher-power group
members can prompt learning by inviting and showing
appreciation for the input of others. Developmental feed-
back and questions from power-advantaged members are
also more likely to focus attention or stimulate reec-
tion among dependent members, because individuals are
more attentive and committed to those on whom they are
dependent for valued resources (Rusbult and Van Lange
2003, Wieselquist et al. 1999). Moreover, past research
suggests that member differences within a group can
stimulate learning as different perspectives and prefer-
ences interact and recombine (Bantel and Jackson 1989,
Milliken and Martins 1996, Van der Vegt and Bunderson
2005). Power asymmetry signals substantive differences
between members on dimensions that are truly salient
to group members, because these differences affect both
task performance and social standing within the group.
These very differences could, therefore, be a stimulus
for learning if, once again, team members with a power
advantage help create an environment in which those
differences are not seen in threatening ways.
In other words, power asymmetry within teams can
either stie or stimulate team learning, depending on
how members respond to intra-team power differences
particularly when they nd themselves in positions of
higher power. If members leverage power advantages
to advance and defend their own interests and status
(an individualistic response pattern), power asymmetry
is likely to stie team learning. But if members leverage
power advantages to invite reection and the expression
and integration of insights from all members (a collec-
tivistic response pattern), power asymmetry may actually
stimulate team learning. This conclusion is consistent
with Blaus (1964) analysis of why a power-advantaged
(i.e., more knowledgeable) member would choose to
share knowledge with a more dependent colleague. Blau
argued that this choice will be based on the slope of
the power-advantaged members indifference curve, i.e,
her marginal rate of substitution of the rewards associ-
ated with assisting by the rewards associated with pur-
suing her own interests. And this slope, Blau continues,
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
350 Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS
is determined by the degree to which [she] is oriented
to colleagues as a reference group [i.e., a collectivistic
orientation] rather than to [her] instrumental tasks and
to the superiors who evaluate [her] performance [i.e., an
individualistic orientation] (Blau 1964, p. 173).
But what factors might inuence whether a team mem-
ber adopts an individualistic or collectivistic response to
power differences? The next section explores one possi-
ble factor that gures prominently in theories of experi-
ential learningthe nature of the feedback that members
receive about their performance.
The Moderating Effects of Performance Feedback
Feedback can be dened as information about the effects
of ones actions or efforts on some criterion of inter-
est (see Herold and Greller 1977, Taylor et al. 1984).
In its original cybernetic formulation (Wiener 1948),
the concept of feedback was used to describe the pro-
cess by which systems (human or machine) self-regulate.
Feedback about system performance allows a system to
reect, adapt, and self-correct until desired performance
standards are achieved. Feedback scholars have referred
to this function of feedback as a cueing function (see
Nadler 1979, Vroom 1964). In human systems, feedback
also serves a motivational function by reinforcing the
promise of a reward and by reinforcing behavior-reward
instrumentalities (Annett 1969; Ilgen et al. 1979, p. 361;
Vroom 1964). Given these key functions, feedback has
long played a central role in theories of learning, con-
tinuous improvement, and performance achievement.
Although different types of feedback can be distin-
guished (Nadler 1979), for the purpose of this study
we focus on the important distinction between feed-
back that provides information about the performance
of individuals within a group (individual feedback) and
feedback that provides information about the perfor-
mance of a group as a whole (group feedback) (see
Barr and Conlon 1994, Nadler 1979, Hinsz et al. 1997,
DeShon et al. 2004). Consider a group of salespeople
in which each team member covers a different district
within a broader region. In managing and motivating
these team members, team leaders might choose to pro-
vide (a) feedback to each salesperson about his or her
sales for the year (individual feedback),
1
(b) feedback
to the entire team about its aggregate sales (group feed-
back), or (c) both forms of feedback. Several studies
have examined the independent and combined effects
of individual and group feedback on performance in
groups. Although ndings from these studies have been
inconsistent, some important patterns have emerged. For
example, DeShon et al. (2004) found that the effects of
feedback on effort and performance were homologous
across group and individual levels such that group or
individual feedback increased attention and effort toward
group or individual goals, which led to higher group or
individual performance.
A possible explanation for the effects of group feed-
back on group attention and effort observed by DeShon
et al. (2004) and others (e.g., Barr and Conlon 1994) can
be found in the work of Hinsz et al. (1997). They suggest
that group feedback may change the self-attributional
focus from the individual to the group (p. 53). That is,
when feedback is received at the individual level of anal-
ysis, it directs attention toward the individual as the rele-
vant actor and therefore motivates the individual to think
about things that he or she could do to improve his or her
individual performance. But when feedback is received
at the group level of analysis, attention is directed toward
the group as the relevant actor and the individual as one
piece of that larger collective. As a result, individual
group members are motivated to think about things that
they can do as a group to improve performance, e.g., bet-
ter coordination, greater information sharing, etc. This
argument is consistent with a study by Zander and Wolfe
(1964), in which it was found that group feedback led
to more cooperation and less interpersonal strain within
a group than individual feedback did. This argument is
also consistent with the broader literature on social cat-
egorization, which has suggested that a shared group
identity increases intragroup cooperation and mitigates
intra-group conict, even when group members are very
different from one another (Brewer and Miller 1984,
Gaertner et al. 1996, Van der Vegt and Bunderson 2005).
In other words, past research on group and individ-
ual performance feedback would suggest that feedback
about group performance promotes a collective improve-
ment orientation within a group (i.e., how are we doing;
what can we do to improve our performance), whereas
individual performance feedback promotes an individ-
ual improvement orientation (i.e., how am I doing; what
can I do to improve my performance). Given our ear-
lier argument, this would imply that members of groups
in which feedback is received about group performance
will be more likely to use their power advantages in
ways designed to help the group improve. Power advan-
tages then become very useful for learning, because
power-advantaged members can direct attention to areas
of needed improvement, invite and encourage the shar-
ing of diverse perspectives, and initiate or facilitate dis-
cussions about how to manage member differences and
interdependencies (Larson et al. 1998, Nembhard and
Edmondson 2006). In contrast, members of groups in
which feedback is received about individual performance
will be more likely to use their power advantages to
leverage or improve their own performance (cf. De Jong
et al. 2007). Power advantages then become an obsta-
cle to reective learning, as power-advantaged members
focus on improving their own status or resource position,
regardless of how this involves or affects their depen-
dent colleagueswho are likely to respond by becom-
ing more defensive, guarded, and inhibited (Keltner
et al. 2003).
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS 351
When power asymmetry is low, however, group mem-
bers do not have power advantages with which to either
advance their own interests or assist others. As a result,
we would not expect power-balanced groups that receive
group feedback to necessarily be more engaged learners
than power-balanced groups that receive individual feed-
back. In fact, when power relationships are balanced,
it may be difcult for group members to learn from
feedback about group performance, because there are
no power-advantaged members to feel responsible for
initiating a learning-oriented response. Power-balanced
groups may therefore benet more from individual feed-
back, because individual feedback at least implies clear
accountability (Goncalo and Duguid 2008).
Together, these arguments suggest that power asym-
metry will be positively related to team learning in
groups that receive group performance feedback but neg-
atively related to team learning in groups that receive
individual performance feedback. Stated formally:
Hypothesis 1. Group performance feedback moder-
ates the relationship between power asymmetry within
a team and team learning; power asymmetry is posi-
tively related to team learning when group performance
feedback is high.
Hypothesis 2. Individual performance feedback mod-
erates the relationship between power asymmetry within
a team and team learning; power asymmetry is nega-
tively related to team learning when individual perfor-
mance feedback is high.
These hypotheses treat individual and group perfor-
mance feedback separately. But what about cases in
which groups receive both individual and group feed-
back? We suggest that the combination of high indi-
vidual and high group feedback creates an ambiguous
feedback situation in which it is not obvious to members
whether power advantages should be used for individ-
ual or collective interests; both goals are equally possi-
ble (see DeShon et al. 2004, Mitchell and Silver 1990,
Saavedra et al. 1993). In such a situation, we would
expect that whether a given member adopts an individu-
alistic or collectivistic response to power advantage will
be inuenced by other factors, including, for example,
the stability of power relations or personality differences
(Keltner et al. 2003). It is not our purpose here to the-
orize about how these other variables might affect the
relationship between power asymmetry and team learn-
ing in ambiguous feedback situations. Rather, we sug-
gest only that in cases of ambiguous performance feed-
back, we would not expect to observe any consistent
effects of power asymmetry on team learning and may,
in fact, observe no relationship. We can therefore offer
no hypothesis on this issue.
Power Asymmetry, Learning, and
Team Performance
Finally, we would expect that the above effects of power
asymmetry on team learning behavior will have impor-
tant implications for team performance. The argument
for a relationship between team learning behaviors and
team performance rests on the assumption that adap-
tation and continuous improvement are critical perfor-
mance capabilities in all teams, regardless of what they
do or how much innovation is required in their context.
Teams that engage in learning behaviors are more likely
to learn from their mistakes, integrate new information
about their environment, benet from member expe-
rience, effectively utilize member diversity, and better
coordinate their efforts. Consistent with this reason-
ing, positive relationships between team learning behav-
iors and supervisor ratings of team effectiveness have
been reported in the pharmaceutical and medical prod-
ucts industry (156 teams; Gibson and Vermeulen 2003),
the oil and gas industry (57 teams; Van der Vegt and
Bunderson 2005), and the furniture manufacturing in-
dustry (51 teams; Edmondson 1999). Furthermore,
Bunderson and Sutcliffe (2003) found that learning
behaviors in 44 management teams were signicantly
associated with business unit performance (unit prof-
itability), although the relationship was curvilinear
(teams could engage in too much learning behavior) and
moderated by past performance (team learning was more
benecial for lower-performing teams). On the whole,
these results provide robust support for learning behav-
iors as an important performance capability in teams.
It follows that by inuencing team learning, the com-
bination of power asymmetry and different types of per-
formance feedback can have important implications for
team performance. Specically, we would expect that
power asymmetry will be positively related to team per-
formance when group performance feedback is high and
that this effect will be mediated by team learning behav-
ior. Similarly, we would expect that power asymmetry
will be negatively related to team performance when
individual performance feedback is high and that this
effect will also be mediated by team learning behaviors.
In other words, we would argue that power asymmetry
can have either positive or negative implications for team
performance, depending on the type of feedback that a
group receives; we would also argue that this effect is
caused by the contingent effect of power asymmetry on
team learning under different types of performance feed-
back. Stated formally:
Hypothesis 3. Team learning behavior mediates the
relationship between power asymmetry combined with
group performance feedback and team performance;
power asymmetry is positively related to team perfor-
mance when group feedback is high, because this com-
bination results in higher team learning behavior.
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
352 Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS
Hypothesis 4. Team learning behavior mediates the
relationship between power asymmetry combined with
individual performance feedback and team perfor-
mance; power asymmetry is negatively related to
team performance when individual feedback is high,
because this combination results in lower team learning
behavior.
Method
Sample and Procedure
The above hypotheses are explicitly concerned with
team-level relationships and were therefore tested at the
team level of analysis using data obtained from 268
employees in 46 teams. These teams worked in a vari-
ety of settings, ranging from the banking sector to the
medical sector and consisted of at least three team mem-
bers (M=5.83, SD = 3.68). In most of these teams
at least some hierarchical differences and/or differences
in degree of specialization between team members were
present. For example, teams from the banking sector
included a product advisor and an assistant; the med-
ical teams consisted of different types of nurses with
different specializations and/or different levels of author-
ity within the team; and the technical, management, and
consultancy teams consisted of both senior team mem-
bers and more junior professionals. We reasoned that
these intrateam differences, which are characteristic of
the types of member differences that exist in many work
teams, should result in considerable power-dependence
asymmetries within these teams.
We approached teams via personal contacts with and
a presentation to managers about the research project
during a postgraduate MBA course. When a manager
agreed to participate, she or he informed the team and
provided the researchers with information including the
names of team members. Two different types of ques-
tionnaires were subsequently sent to the team: a supervi-
sor questionnaire and a team member questionnaire. The
supervisor questionnaire was primarily used to collect
team performance data, whereas the team member ques-
tionnaire was used to collect power asymmetry, feed-
back, and learning data.
2
We approached 50 supervisors
and received 46 usable supervisor questionnaires (92%),
and 218 team members (of a possible 268) returned their
questionnaire (81%). Of these respondents, 146 were
female (67%) and the mean age of the respondents was
36.9 years (SD=10.4). Twenty percent of these respon-
dents had a high school degree, 44% a vocational degree,
29% a bachelor degree, and 7% a masters degree or
higher. Educational background also varied within our
sample: 31% of the respondents had a degree related
to economics, 21% had a degree related to the medical
eld, 12% had a degree related to engineering, and 10%
had a degree related to business. Degrees in other elds
(e.g., law, linguistics, social, or natural sciences) were
held by less than 10% of the sample.
Measures
Power Asymmetry. This variable was measured using
a peer-rating approach. Consistent with our conceptual-
ization of power asymmetry, we used the following two
items to measure the task dependence of a team mem-
ber (A) on another team member (B) based on Van der
Vegt et al. (1998): How dependent are you on B for
materials, means, information, etc. in order to carry out
your work adequately? and How dependent is B on
you for materials, means, information, etc. in order to
carry out his or her work adequately? (1 =not depen-
dent, 7 =completely dependent). In all items, B was
replaced by the name of a specic fellow team member
(from the list provided by team supervisors).
Because we measured As dependence on B as well
as Bs dependence on A from both their perspectives,
we were able to examine the relationship between As
perception of his or her dependence on B and Bs per-
ception of As dependence on him or her. This correla-
tion was 0.31 ( - 0.001). The magnitude of this cor-
relation is in line with prior research involving dyads
(e.g., Kenny and Acitelli 2001; see p. 443, Table 3, the
correlations they reported ranged from 0.20 to 0.47).
Additionally, a univariate analysis of variance indicated
that within-dyad variance was signicantly smaller than
between-dyad variance (E |1,402, 1,096] = 1.81, -
0.001). We therefore used the pooled perspectives of A
and B in each relationship to compute our power asym-
metry measure (cf. Borgatti and Everett 1999). More
specically, we averaged As and Bs ratings of As
dependence on B to obtain a pooled measure of As
dependence on B, and As and Bs ratings of Bs depen-
dence on A to obtain a pooled measure of Bs depen-
dence on A. Next, we computed the absolute difference
between As dependence on B and Bs dependence on A
for each pair of team members and averaged all these
scores per team member.
3
We then averaged these indi-
vidual scores to obtain a team-level power-asymmetry
score. This operationalization of power asymmetry is
summarized in the following formula:

k
]=1

r
i=1
|DBA
i
DAB
i
],r

k
,
where DBA
i
is the mean of As and Bs perceptions of
the task dependence of B on A in relationship i, DAB
i
is the mean of As and Bs perceptions of As depen-
dence on B in relationship i, r is the number of relation-
ships that team member ] has in the team, and k is the
number of team members. The amount of power asym-
metry in these teams ranged from 0 to 1.75 (M=0.60,
SD = 0.42), with higher scores indicating more power
asymmetry between team members.
4
Group Performance Feedback. This variable was
measured with three items based on Van der Vegt et al.
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS 353
(2003): We receive feedback as a team about the team
performance; When we do not perform well, we are
held responsible as a team; and We regularly receive
feedback about how good or bad we performed as a
team. These items were measured on a seven-point
scale (1 =totally disagree, 7 =totally agree). The group
performance feedback scores ranged from 2.33 to 6.33,
and Cronbachs alpha for the individual-level responses
was 0.84.
Individual Performance Feedback. This variable was
also measured with three items. We reformulated the
group performance feedback items to reect a focus on
individual instead of group performance: I receive indi-
vidual feedback about my own performance; When
I do not perform well, I am held responsible as an
individual; I regularly receive feedback about how
good or bad I performed. These items were mea-
sured with a seven-point scale (1 = totally disagree,
7 =totally agree). The individual performance feedback
scores ranged from 2.63 to 6.58, and Cronbachs alpha
was 0.86.
Team Learning. This variable was measured with
six items adapted from Schippers et al. (2003). The
Schippers et al. (2003) measure is very similar to other
process measures of group learning (see Edmondson
et al. 2007) and focuses specically on team interac-
tion processes associated with reecting on actions and
outcomeskey elements of experiential learning. Spe-
cic items included: We talk about different ways in
which we can reach our objectives; In this team the
results of actions are evaluated; If things dont work
out as planned, we consider what we can do about
it; We ask ourselves how effective our procedures for
reacting to changes are; We regularly discuss whether
the team is working effectively; and The team often
reviews its methods for getting the job done. These six
items were measured on a seven-point scale (1 =totally
disagree, 7 =totally agree). Cronbachs alpha was 0.89.
Team Performance. Because we focused on a rather
diverse sample of teams with different tasks and respon-
sibilities, we used a broad measure of team perfor-
mance (Ancona and Caldwell 1992). Specically, we
asked each supervisor to compare the performance of a
focal team with that of relevant other teams with sim-
ilar tasks and customers. A pilot study revealed that
the following performance criteria were deemed relevant
by supervisors from the different types of work groups:
efciency, continuity of the production process, use of
capacities, speed with which the team produces, control
over the production process, quality of work, and overall
team performance. Supervisors rated the teams perfor-
mance using a seven-point scale (1 =far below average,
4 =average, 7 = far above average). Cronbachs alpha
was 0.90.
Control Variables. Given that groups varied in size
and that team size has been shown to relate to team per-
formance in past research (e.g., Ancona and Caldwell
1992), we controlled for team size in all of our analyses.
Team size information was collected using the super-
visor questionnaire. Additionally, past research suggests
that the overall level of task interdependence might
be associated with team processes and performance
(e.g., Wageman 1995). To explicitly consider the possi-
ble effects of task interdependence, we also controlled
for this variable in all analyses. Task interdependence
was measured by computing the mean of As pooled
dyadic task dependence on B and Bs pooled dyadic task
dependence on A and averaging these scores within each
team. Finally, we also controlled for expertise diver-
sity in all our analyses, because research has shown
that this variable might be related to team learning and
performance (e.g., Van der Vegt and Bunderson 2005).
We computed expertise diversity using functional back-
ground information provided by respondents in the ques-
tionnaire. We used Blaus (1977) formula, 1 l
2
i
, to
form an aggregate measure of expertise diversity, where
represented the proportion of employees of a work
team in the ith category. A higher index score indicates
greater expertise diversity among team members.
Discriminant and Convergent Validity. We used con-
rmatory factor analysis to assess the discriminant and
convergent validity of the group feedback, individ-
ual feedback, and team learning scales. We computed
parameter estimates with the LISREL 8.51 computer
package, using the maximum likelihood method. We rst
tested a model in which the group and individual feed-
back and team learning items loaded on three corre-
sponding latent constructs. The overall t of the model
to the data was adequate (
2
|51, 218] = 166.65, -
0.001, the standardized root mean square of the residu-
als [SRMSR] was 0.05, the goodness-of-t index [GFI]
was 0.89, and the comparative t index [CFI] was 0.92).
The factor loading of each item was signicant at the
0.001 level or better.
To further evaluate the discriminant validity of our
scales, we computed two alternative models. In the rst
model, all feedback items loaded on one latent feedback
construct, and the learning items loaded on a separate
learning construct. The t of this model was signicantly
worse than that of the hypothesized measurement model
(A
2
|2] = 219.87, - 0.001, SRMSR = 0.07, GFI =
0.77, CFI =0.82). The second model contained only one
latent variable. Again, the t of this model was signi-
cantly worse than that of the original model (A
2
|3] =
496.07, - 0.001, SRMSR =0.11, GFI =0.66, CFI =
0.68). Hence, we concluded that the hypothesized three-
factor measurement model was the most appropriate for
the situation under consideration.
A separate conrmatory factor analysis had to be con-
ducted for team performance because the performance
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
354 Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS
ratings were provided by team supervisors. We tested a
model in which all seven team performance items loaded
on a single factor, and the overall t of this model was
very good (
2
|14, 46] =13.95, n.s.). The t indices were
all satisfactory: The SRMSR was 0.043, GFI was 0.92,
and CFI was 0.99, and all factor loadings were signi-
cant at the 0.001 level or better.
Interrater Agreement and Reliability. All our con-
structs are explicitly conceptualized at the team level.
Nevertheless, because individual and group feedback
and team learning were measured from individual
responses, it is important to evaluate the measure-
ment assumption that responses from members of the
same team will converge (see Kozlowski and Klein
2000). This assumption was investigated by calculating
the interrater agreement coefcient (r
wg
; James et al.
1984). Median r
wg
values were 0.69 for group feedback
(mean = 0.70), 0.74 for individual feedback (mean =
0.73), and 0.78 for team learning (mean =0.76). These
numbers suggest that team members agreed in their rat-
ings of these variables.
In addition, we would expect variation between teams
in the ratings of feedback and team learning, and we
would expect ratings of members from the same team
to be more similar to one another than to the ratings
of these constructs by members of other teams (see
Bliese 2000). These expectations were investigated by
computing the intraclass correlation coefcients (ICC[1]
and ICC[2]; Bliese 2000). One-way analyses of vari-
ance suggested that team member ratings of group and
individual feedback and team learning all differed signif-
icantly ( -0.01) between teams. The ICC(1) was 0.21
for group feedback and 0.17 for individual feedback
and learning. These gures indicate that a consider-
able amount of the variance in ratings was due to team
membership (Bliese 2000). The reliability of the group
means was examined by calculating the ICC(2) coef-
cients. The ICC(2) values were 0.69 for group feedback,
0.63 for individual feedback, and 0.62 for team learn-
ing. Together, these results support the aggregation of
individual team member responses to create team-level
variables for group feedback, individual feedback, and
team learning.
Table 1 Descriptive Statistics and Pearson Zero-Order Correlations Among the Study Variables
Standard
Variable Means deviation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1. Team size 583 368
2. Expertise diversity 044 025 030

3. Task interdependence 373 093 024 010


4. Power asymmetry 060 042 006 019 012
5. Group performance feedback 437 092 002 018 031

007
6. Individual performance feedback 467 090 010 023 006 012 073

7. Team learning 461 076 013 024 026

000 058

062

8. Team performance 477 075 006 002 002 013 002 014 040

Notes. N =46 teams.



p <010;

p <005;

p <001;

p <0001.
Analyses
We used hierarchical multiple regression analyses to
test our hypotheses. Following the recommendations of
Aiken and West (1991), we standardized all independent
variables and computed interaction effects by taking the
product of the respective standardized independent vari-
ables. We tested four models to isolate the contribution
of different terms. The rst model tested the effects of
our control variables. In the second model, the main
effects of power asymmetry and group and individual
feedback were added to the regression model, followed
by the inclusion of the hypothesized two-way interac-
tions between power asymmetry and feedback in the
third model. In the case of our performance-dependent
variable, we also examined a fourth model to test the
mediating effect of team learning.
Results
Descriptive Statistics
The means, standard deviations, and Pearson zero-order
correlations between variables are presented in Table 1.
As can be seen, the correlation between group and indi-
vidual feedback was positive and signicant (r = 0.73,
-0.001), indicating that these variables share slightly
more than 50% of their variance. While this correla-
tion is below the 0.75 standard for correlated indepen-
dent variables suggested by Miles and Shevlin (2001),
it was high enough to warrant careful examination of
variance ination factors in all regression models. Team
learning was positively related to both types of feedback
(r =0.58, - 0.001 for group feedback and r = 0.62,
- 0.001 for individual feedback). Finally, perceptions
of team learning were positively associated with super-
visor ratings of team performance (r =0.40, -0.01).
Hypothesis Tests: Team Learning
Regression results for models with team learning as the
dependent variable are summarized in Table 2. There
was some evidence for a positive relationship between
task interdependence and team learning in Model 1,
although the overall effect of the control variables was
not signicant. The addition of power asymmetry and
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS 355
Table 2 Results of Regression Analysis for Team Learning
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Model Variable B SE B SE B SE VIF
1. Control Team size 012 012 008 009 004 009 119
variables Expertise diversity 068 055 055 051 080 051 174
Task interdependence 024

011 015 010 016

009 130
2. Main Power asymmetry 002 012 007 011 115
effects Group performance feedback 020 016 034

015 241
Individual performance feedback 031

015 017 014 211


3. Interactions Power asymmetry

Group performance feedback 051

017 232
Power asymmetry

Individual performance feedback 049

017 229
R
2
014 049 061
R
2
014

035

012

Notes. n =46 teams.



p <010;

p <005;

p <001;

p <0001. B = unstandardized regression coefcient; SE =
standard error.
group and individual feedback in Model 2 signicantly
increased the explanatory power of the model (AR
2
=
0.35, - 0.001) with a positive and signicant coef-
cient for individual Feedback; groups that reported
receiving more individual feedback also reported more
team learning behavior. The coefcients for the inter-
actions between group feedback and power asymmetry
and between individual feedback and power asymme-
try, added in Model 3, were both signicant at -0.01
(l =0.51 for group feedback and 0.49 for individual
feedback), and the addition of these two terms signif-
icantly increased the explanatory power of the model
(AR
2
= 0.12, - 0.05). These results are consistent
with Hypotheses 1 and 2 and suggest that whereas
power asymmetry had no direct effect on team learning
Figure 1 Power Asymmetry and Team Learning at Different Levels and Types of Feedback
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
Low High
Power asymmetry
Group performance feedback high
Group performance feedback low
(a) Group performance feedback
T
e
a
m

l
e
a
r
n
i
n
g
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
Low High
Power asymmetry
Individual performance feedback high
Individual performance feedback low
(b) Individual performance feedback

T
e
a
m

l
e
a
r
n
i
n
g
(positive or negative), 12% of the observed variance in
team learning could be accounted for by the contin-
gent effect of power asymmetry, i.e., the effect of power
asymmetry at different levels of group or individual per-
formance feedback. Variance ination factors (VIFs) for
the third model were all well below 4, suggesting that
multicollinearity was not a problem in these analyses
(e.g., Langfred 2004, Miles and Shevlin 2001).
We used the unstandardized regression coefcients
from the nal equation to plot the relation between
power asymmetry and team learning at high (one stan-
dard deviation above the mean) and low (one standard
deviation below the mean) levels of group and individ-
ual feedback (see Figures 1(a) and 1(b)). The pattern of
results depicted in Figures 1(a) and 1(b) is consistent
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
356 Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS
with our hypotheses. Simple slope tests suggested that
power asymmetry was positively associated with team
learning when group feedback was high (l =0.44, SE =
0.19, - 0.05) and negatively associated with team
learning when group feedback was low (l = 0.59,
SE =0.20, -0.01), consistent with Hypothesis 1 (see
Figure 1(a)). To put these slopes into perspective, team
learning at high levels of power asymmetry was a full
Likert-scale point higher (which is more than one stan-
dard deviation) when group feedback was high than
when it was low. Consistent with Hypothesis 2, simple
slope tests also suggested that power asymmetry was
negatively related to team learning when individual feed-
back was high (l = 0.56, SE = 0.21, - 0.05) and
positively related to team learning when individual feed-
back was low (l =0.42, SE =0.18, -0.05).
Hypothesis Tests: Team Performance
Regression results for models with team performance
as the dependent variable are summarized in Table 3.
None of the control variables was signicantly related to
team performance in Model 1, and the addition of power
asymmetry along with both types of feedback in Model 2
did not increase the explanatory power of the model.
The addition of the two interaction terms in Model 3 did
explain signicant variance in performance (AR
2
=0.15,
- 0.05), with a positive and signicant coefcient for
the group feedback interaction (l =0.41, -0.05) and
a negative and signicant coefcient for the individual
feedback interaction (l =0.62, -0.01). So whereas
power asymmetry had no direct effect on performance
(positive or negative), the contingent effect of power
asymmetry at different levels of performance feedback
accounted for fully 15% of the variance in team perfor-
mance. Once again, multicollinearity did not appear to
be a problem, given that VIF scores for the fourth model
were all well below 4.
Table 3 Results of Regression Analysis for Team Performance
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4
Model Variable B SE B SE B SE B SE VIF
1. Control Team size 005 012 007 012 004 012 002 011 120
variables Expertise diversity 001 058 039 066 054 069 090 066 186
Task interdependence 003 012 010 013 012 012 003 012 141
2. Main Power asymmetry 010 015 001 015 005 013 117
effects Group performance feedback 031 021 023 021 036 020 286
Individual performance feedback 032 020 021 020 011 019 223
3. Interactions Power asymmetry

Group performance feedback 041

021 010 023 262


Power asymmetry

Individual performance feedback 062

023 035 023 282


4. Mediation Team learning 042

016 243
R
2
001 008 023 036
R
2
001 007 015

013

Notes. n =46 teams.



p <005;

p <001.
Simple slope tests suggested that power asymmetry
was positively related to team performance when group
feedback was high (l = 0.44, SE = 0.22, - 0.05),
but only weakly negatively related to team performance
when group feedback was low (l =0.38, SE =0.20,
-0.10). Simple slope tests for the interaction between
power asymmetry and individual feedback revealed that
power asymmetry was negatively related to team perfor-
mance when individual feedback was high (l =0.61,
SE = 0.29, - 0.05) and positively related to team
performance when individual feedback was low (l =
0.63, SE =0.24, - 0.05). These effects are plotted in
Figures 2(a) and 2(b).
Finally, Model 4 allows us to consider the mediated
effects in Hypotheses 3 and 4 by adding team learning
to the regression model. The addition of team learn-
ing to the model resulted in a signicant increase in R
2
(AR
2
= 0.13, - 0.05) with a positive and signicant
coefcient for team learning (l =0.42, - 0.05). Fur-
thermore, with team learning in the model, the group and
individual feedback interactions became nonsignicant
(l =0.10, n.s., for power asymmetry X group feedback
and l = 0.35, n.s. for power asymmetry X individ-
ual feedback). These results suggest that team learning
mediated the moderated effects of power asymmetry on
team performance, as suggested in Hypotheses 3 and 4.
Additional Analysis
We argued that the combination of group and individual
performance feedback creates an ambiguous feedback
situation and that we therefore should not observe any
signicant relationship between our dependent variables
and either (a) a group by individual performance feed-
back interaction or (b) a group feedback by individual
feedback by power asymmetry interaction. Follow-up
analyses were consistent with this expectation. Specif-
ically, the addition of a group feedback by individ-
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS 357
Figure 2 Power Asymmetry and Team Performance at Different Levels and Types of Feedback
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
Low High
Power asymmetry
Group performance feedback high
Group performance feedback low
(a) Group performance feedback
T
e
a
m

p
e
r
f
o
r
m
a
n
c
e
(b) Individual performance feedback
T
e
a
m

p
e
r
f
o
r
m
a
n
c
e
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
Low High
Power asymmetry
Individual performance feedback high
Individual performance feedback low
ual feedback interaction term to Model 3 in regression
models predicting team learning and performance did
not increase the explanatory power of either regression
model or yield a signicant coefcient for the interac-
tion term (l = 0.04, SE = 0.11 for team learning; l =
0.19, SE =0.12 for team performance). Moreover, the
addition of a group feedback by individual feedback by
power asymmetry interaction term as Model 4 also did
not increase the explanatory value of either regression
model or produce signicant coefcients (l = 0.18,
SE =0.14 for team learning; l =0.14, SE =0.17 for
team performance).
5
Discussion
Past research suggests that power differences within
teams can stie team learning. Our goal has been to
explore the thesis that a negative relationship between
power differences and learning is not inevitable but is
contingent on whether power advantages within a team
are used to advance individual or collective interests.
We suggested that when power-advantaged team mem-
bers adopt a collective orientation, power differences
can actually be a stimulus for team learning. We fur-
ther proposed that the type of feedback (individual or
group) that team members receive will inuence whether
they adopt an individualistic or collectivistic orientation
and will therefore moderate the relationship between
power asymmetry and team learning. Our empirical test
of these hypotheses generated results that were clearly
in line with our expectations, but with some results that
bear further consideration.
For example, we found support for our central
hypotheses that the relationship between power asym-
metry and both team learning and performance would
be positive at high levels of group performance feedback
and negative at high levels of individual performance
feedback. But we also found that power asymmetry
was positively associated with team learning and perfor-
mance when individual performance feedback was low
and negatively associated with team learning and per-
formance when group performance feedback was low.
Our theory did not anticipate this result. We expected
to nd that when group or individual performance feed-
back was low, we would observe no relationship between
power asymmetry and either team learning or perfor-
mance, because lack of feedback provides no external
information about how to leverage power advantages.
On further reection, we attribute this result to an
avoidance dynamic among survey respondents. That is,
survey respondents who strongly disagreed with state-
ments about whether their team receives individual
(or group) feedback may be signaling that, in fact,
their team deliberately and consciously avoids individual
(or group) feedback. In other words, low group feed-
back scores may reect a more individualistic orientation
within a team, whereas low individual feedback scores
reect a more collectivistic orientation. If this is the case,
then the unexpected pattern of results just noted is sim-
ply a function of our measurement approach and, more
important, is perfectly consistent with our theory. To test
this possibility, we looked at the relationships between
power asymmetry and team learning when group or indi-
vidual performance feedback was at 4.0 on the Likert
scale (i.e., neither agree nor disagree). As expected,
these slopes did not differ signicantly from zero.
Second, as we expected, we found no evidence for
the combined effects of group and individual feedback
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
358 Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS
on the relationship between power asymmetry and both
team learning and team performance. We attribute this to
the fact that combinations of individual and group feed-
back create an ambiguous feedback situation in which
it is not clear to members whether power advantages
should be used for individual or collective interests (see
DeShon et al. 2004, Mitchell and Silver 1990, Saavedra
et al. 1993). In such a situation, team members adop-
tion of an individualistic or collectivistic response to
power advantage may be inuenced by individual per-
sonality differences rather than performance feedback
(Keltner et al. 2003), by internal states rather than by
external cues. Future research might therefore examine
the role of variables such as a need for personalized
versus socialized power (McClelland 1975), machiavel-
lianism (Christie and Geis 1970), or a social dominance
orientation (Pratto et al. 1994) in ambiguous feedback
situations. We should note, however, that another pos-
sible explanation for the lack of a signicant group-by-
individual feedback effect in this study is that group
and individual feedback was quite highly correlated
in this sample. Although we found no evidence that
this compromised our statistical analyses, covariation
between these two variables could limit our ability to
nd a signicant interaction between the two, given a
restriction of range in this variable (i.e., too few teams
with high-low and low-high group-individual feedback
congurations).
Theoretical Implications and Future
Research Directions
The results of this study suggest several important impli-
cations for research on teams, learning, and power. First,
this study directly challenges the notion that power dif-
ferences always stie learning within teams and suggests
instead that the relationship between power asymmetry
and team learning is contingent on member responses
to power advantages, which, in turn, are contingent on
whether membersand particularly power-advantaged
membersadopt an individualistic or collective orienta-
tion in their interactions with other members. We iden-
tied one factor that can inuence this orientation
group and individual performance feedback. But the
theory presented in this paper would imply that any
group design factor that encourages a collective mind-
set within a team should have the same effect. So,
for example, we might hypothesize that group-based
incentives, outcome interdependence, the existence of a
common external threat, or perhaps even strong group
norms could also encourage a collective orientation
within a power-asymmetric team and therefore encour-
age learning-related behaviors. Investigating these vari-
ous design elements offers one promising direction for
future research.
Future research should also seek to conrm the social
psychological processes that we posited as underlying
these learning dynamics in power-asymmetric teams.
Specically, our theory suggested that power-advantaged
team members with a collective mindset were key to
fostering a learning dynamic within these teams. Future
research should investigate the microdynamics of learn-
ing in power-asymmetric teams to conrm the facilita-
tive role of collectively oriented, power-advantaged team
members and to more clearly explicate the behaviors
through which this facilitation occurs. In-depth analyses
of group and/or dyadic interactions in laboratory or eld
groups would be very useful in this regard.
Future research might also compare the interactions
that take place in power-balanced as opposed to power-
asymmetric groups, with and without a collective orien-
tation, to better understand how power differences can
either help or hinder intrateam learning.
Second, this study contributes to the literature on feed-
back by conrming that group and individual perfor-
mance feedback can have very different implications for
group process and performance. We found that although
group and individual feedback do seem to be corre-
lated (suggesting that teams adopting one type of feed-
back are more likely to also adopt the other type of
feedback), these are two separate constructs that exhibit
markedly different moderating effects on a key input-
to-process relationship. Furthermore, these results sup-
port the notion that the type of feedback group members
receive (i.e., individual or group) is important in part
because it inuences whether group members adopt an
individual versus a collective orientation (Hinsz et al.
1997). Our results therefore contribute to the litera-
ture on team feedback by empirically investigating the
scarcely researched effects of different types of perfor-
mance feedback (DeShon et al. 2004).
Third, most research on power differences within
groups has conceptualized power at the individual and/or
the group level; i.e., power is something that each mem-
ber possesses to a greater or lesser degree and that can
be evaluated to capture power congurations within a
group (e.g., power centralization). But power, in classic
formulations, is a relational property that emerges from
the dependence of one actor on resources controlled by
another (Emerson 1962, Thibaut and Kelley 1959). It is
therefore possibleand even likelythat a given group
member will have a power advantage in one relation-
ship but not in another. This study explicitly acknowl-
edges this possibility by conceptualizing power asym-
metry within a group as something that emerges from
dyadic dependence, i.e., dependence of one dyad mem-
ber on task-related resources controlled by another. That
is, we suggested that to fully represent power asymmetry
within a group, one must attend to patterns of asymmet-
ric dependence between each of the dyadic relationships
within that group. This study therefore introduces an
approach to conceptualizing and measuring power dif-
ferences in groups that more directly builds on the theo-
retical underpinnings of power and dependence research.
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS 359
We should note, however, that there may be other
ways of conceptualizing power differences that would
be equally important to consider. For example, one
might look at power advantages/disadvantages to explic-
itly investigate how performance feedback affects the
attitudes or behaviors of power-advantaged compared
with power-disadvantaged dyad members. One might
also conceptualize power asymmetry in terms of nontask
resource dependencee.g., power differences that arise
from factors such as race, gender, ethnicity, or physical
attractivenessto determine whether power differences
that arise from factors unrelated to a groups task could
nonetheless be transformed into an impetus for learning.
Alternatively, one could examine the centralization of
power relations within a team rather than, or in addition
to, asymmetry in power relations to determine whether
power advantages in highly centralized teams might also
be leveraged for group learning. Clearly, the broader
issue of power differences within teams and their direct
or contingent relationship to team learning can be ana-
lyzed in a number of different ways to address theo-
retically signicant and practically important research
questions.
Study Limitations
As with any study, certain aspects of this study sug-
gest the need for caution in how these results should be
interpreted and/or generalized. For example, this study
adopted a cross-sectional design that limits our ability to
draw rm conclusions about the direction of causality.
Although alternative arguments based on reverse causal-
ity assumptions are less likely from a theoretical stand-
point (e.g., it is not clear why team learning would inter-
act with feedback to affect power asymmetry), the fact
remains that we cannot conclusively eliminate them.
One might also question whether the use of a sur-
vey to collect measures of power asymmetry, feed-
back, and team learning might have introduced common
method bias into these results (Podsakoff et al. 2003).
Given that group measures of power asymmetry were
constructed from dyadic comparisons, it seems highly
unlikely that correlations between these measures and
the other group process measures would be articially
inated. It is, however, quite possible that relationships
between the two types of feedback and team learning
could be inated because of common method variance.
We explicitly considered the effect of the high correla-
tion between our two types of feedback by examining
variance ination factors. And any inated correlations
between team learning and the two types of feedback
should not affect the relationships of core theoretical
interest in this study. So although we acknowledge the
possibility of common method variance among some of
our study variables, we do not see this as a major threat
to the validity of these results.
Practical Implications
Based on the premise that any differences in mem-
ber power frustrate intrateam learning, past research has
implied that in cases where team learning is the goal,
teams should be constructed in ways that minimize or
eliminate power differences. So, for example, differences
in tenure or experience should be minimized, author-
ity relations should be eliminated, etc. We question this
approach for several reasons. First, attempts to elimi-
nate or minimize power differences cannot ever succeed
entirely, because power and status differences can and
will emerge around any number of member differences,
however subtle or intangible (e.g., assertiveness, gen-
der, age or informal coalitions). Second, even if these
attempts successfully reduced power differences, they
come at a high cost, because they reduce the very rich-
ness of experience, perspective, contacts, and expertise
that stimulates and facilitates member learning.
This paper offers an alternative solution to the design
and operation of teams where team learning is the goal.
Specically, we suggest that when power differences
exist between and among group members, it becomes
critical to nurture a collective orientation within the team
so that these power differences can become an asset for
learning rather than a liability. Furthermore, we suggest
that one straightforward means of inducing this collec-
tive orientation is to provide group rather than individ-
ual performance feedback to group members. In other
words, we argue that the solution to dealing with power
differences in teams where learning is a goal is not to
eliminate those differences but, rather, to manage them
so that they become an asset rather than an impediment.
Acknowledgment
This research project was facilitated by a Netherlands Organi-
sation for Scientic Research grant awarded to S. B. de Jong.
Endnotes
1
We expect that team leaders will adopt a consistent approach
to managing the performance of team members such that
if individual feedback is used to manage one team mem-
ber, it will likely be used with all team members. We are
therefore interested in individual performance feedback as a
shared property of a team in our theory and analyses (see
Kozlowski and Klein 2000, p. 30)and we explicitly examine
this assumption of intrateam convergence empirically.
2
Supervisors were not included as part of a team for the pur-
poses of this analysis.
3
When data from only one member of a dyad were available,
dyadic asymmetry was computed using just those data.
4
Our measure of power asymmetry is related to but con-
ceptually and mathematically distinct from measures of
power centralization (e.g., Bunderson 2003b, Freeman 1979).
Whereas power centralization assesses stratication in power-
dependence relations, power asymmetry assesses aggregate
imbalance in those relations. Power-centralized teams are
therefore power asymmetric, but asymmetric teams are not
necessarily centralized. Our measure of power asymmetry also
Van der Vegt et al.: Power Asymmetry and Learning in Teams
360 Organization Science 21(2), pp. 347361, 2010 INFORMS
differs from power centralization measures in that it builds
from dyadic power-dependence ratings (because power is, ulti-
mately, relational). We can, however, compute power central-
ization from our dyadic ratings as follows:
APA
]
=

r
i=1
|DBA
i
DAB
i
]
r
PC=

k
]=1
|P
max
APA
]
]
(k 1)
,
where APA
]
stands for average power (dis)advantage of team
member ], PC stands for power centralization, and P
max
is the
largest power advantage score (APA) in the team. All other
symbols were dened above. The correlation between this cen-
tralization measure and our measure of power asymmetry was
0.80 ( -0.001), and analyses using power centralization gen-
erated similar, albeit weaker, results to those obtained with
power asymmetry. We used a power asymmetry measure in
this study because our core theoretical interest is in imbalance
rather than stratication.
5
Complete results are available on request from the rst author.
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OrganizationScience
Vol. 21, No. 2, MarchApril 2010, pp. 587591
issn1047-7039 eissn1526-5455 10 2102 0587
informs

doi 10.1287/orsc.1100.0527
2010 INFORMS
About Authors
Robert A. Baron (Different Roles, Different
Strokes: Organizing Virtual Customer Environments to
promote Two Types of Customer Contribution) is the
Spears Professor of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State
University. he received is Ph.D. from the University
of Iowa. He holds three U.S. patents and was founder
and CEO of IEP, Inc. (19932000). Barons current
interests focus on the role of cognitive and social fac-
tors in entrepreneurship. Address: 104 Business Build-
ing, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078;
e-mail: robert.baron@okstate.edu.
Pamela S. Barr (Cognitive Processes of Opportu-
nity Recognition: The Role of Structural Alignment)
is associate professor of managerial sciences and a
member of the graduate faculty at the J. Mack Robin-
son College of Business, Georgia State University.
She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois
at UrbanaChampaign. Her research interests include
strategy formulation, strategic change and decision mak-
ing, with particular emphasis on the role of manage-
rial and organizational cognition in these processes.
Address: Department of Managerial Sciences, J. Mack
Robinson College of Business, Georgia State Univer-
sity, P.O. Box 4014; Atlanta, GA 30302-4014; e-mail:
mgtpsb@langate.gsu.edu.
J. Robert Baum (The Successful Intelligence of
High-Growth Entrepreneurs: Links to New Venture
Growth) is associate professor of entrepreneurship at
the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.
He received his Ph.D. from the University of Mary-
land. His research interests are entrepreneurship, strate-
gic decision making, and quantitative methods. Address:
Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of
Maryland, College Park, MD, 20742; e-mail: jrbaum@
rhsmith.umd.edu.
Heather Berry (Why Do Firms Divest?) is an as-
sistant professor in the management department at
the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. She
received her Ph.D. from the University of Califor-
nia, Los Angeles (UCLA). In her research, she exam-
ines rm global expansion strategies and analyzes how
rms use foreign markets to exploit and build com-
petitive advantages. Address: Management Department,
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 2022
Steinburg Hall-Dietrich Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19004-
6370; e-mail: berryh@wharton.upenn.edu.
Matthew Bidwell (Problems Deciding: How the
Structure of Make-or-Buy Decisions Leads to Trans-
action Misalignment) is an assistant professor in the
management separtment of the Wharton School. He
received his Ph.D. from the MIT Sloan School. His
research interests include the management of rm bound-
aries and the development of careers within and between
organizations. Address: The Wharton School, Univer-
sity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104; e-mail:
mbidwell@wharton.upenn.edu.
Barbara J. Bird (The Successful Intelligence of
High Growth Entrepreneurs: Links to New Venture
Growth) is an Associate Professor of Management
at Kogod School of Business, American University.
She received her Ph.D. from University of Southern
California. Her research interests are entrepreneurial
cognition, entrepreneurial behavior, and liabilities of
newness and strategic alliances of high technology ven-
tures. She serves as associate editor of Entrepreneur-
ship Theory and Practice. Address: Kogod School
of Business, American University, 4400 Massachusetts
Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016; e-mail: bbird@
american.edu.
J. Stuart Bunderson (Power Asymmetry and Learn-
ing in Teams: The Moderating Role of Performance
Feedback) is an associate professor of organizational
behavior at the John M. Olin Business School, Washing-
ton University in St. Louis and a visiting research profes-
sor in the Department of Management and Organizations
at the University of Groningen. He received his Ph.D. in
strategic management and organization from the Univer-
sity of Minnesota. His current research focuses on learn-
ing, power and status, and meaningful work. Address:
Campus Box 1133, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO
63130; e-mail: bunderson@wustl.edu.
Patrick Castel (Institutional Change as an Interactive
Process: The Case of the Modernization of the French
Cancer Centers) is a research fellow at Sciences Po. He
received his Ph.D. in 2002 from the University of Sci-
ences Po, Paris. His research interests include collective
action, organization of professional work, and the orga-
nizational dynamics and implications of evidence-based
medicine. Address: Sciences Po, CSO, 19 rue Amlie,
75007 Paris, France; e-mail: p.castel@cso.cnrs.fr.
Jos Cspedes Lorente (The Multiplicity of Insti-
tutional Logics and the Heterogeneity of Organizational
Responses) is a professor of strategic management,
587
About Authors
588 Organization Science 21(2), pp. 587591, 2010 INFORMS
University of Almera, Spain. His research inves-
tigates strategic human resource management, organi-
zational learning, and strategic environmental manage-
ment. Address: Departamento de Direccin y Gestin de
Empresas, Universidad de Almera, La Caada de San
Urbano, 04120 Almera, Spain; e-mail: jcespede@ual.es.
Simon B. de Jong (Power Asymmetry and Learn-
ing in Teams: The Moderating Role of Performance
Feedback) is a senior research fellow at the Insti-
tute for Leadership and HRM at the University of
St. Gallen, Switzerland. He received his Ph.D. from the
University of Groningen, The Netherlands. His research
focuses on asymmetry in task dependence, power, and
social exchange processes in teams. Recently he has
taken an interest in researching organizational energy
at various levels of analysis. Address: University of
St. Gallen, Institute for Leadership and HR Manage-
ment, Dufourstrasse 40a, CH-9000 St. Gallen, Switzer-
land; e-mail: simon.dejong@unisg.ch.
Erhard Friedberg (Institutional Change as an Inter-
active Process: The Case of the Modernization of the
French Cancer Centers) is a professor of sociology,
Sciences Po and the director of Master of Public Affairs,
Sciences Po. Professor Friedberg is known for having
developed a general theoretical model of organization
understood as the process (always political in nature) of
locally constructing local or partial orders, i.e., orderly
patterns of interaction among a set of individual and
collective actors linked by strategic interdependence. He
presently works on constituting the Living Archives
of Organization Theory through videotaped interviews
with the Founding Fathers of Organization Theory
in the United States and Europe. Address: Sciences
Po, CSO, 19 rue Amlie, 75007 Paris, France; e-mail:
e.friedberg@cso.cnrs.fr.
Alfonso Gambardella (Organizational Attributes
and the Distribution of Rewards in a Region: Manage-
rial Firms vs. Knowledge Clusters) is a professor of
management and dean of the Ph.D. School at the Uni-
versit Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Milan, Italy. He
received his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1991. His research
interests are in the economics and management of tech-
nology and innovation. Address: Department of Man-
agement, Universit Bocconi, Ofce E1-04 4th Floor,
Via Roentgen 1, 20136 Milan, Italy; e-mail: alfonso.
gambardella@ unibocconi.it.
Marco S. Giarratana (Organizational Attributes and
the Distribution of Rewards in a Region: Managerial
Firms vs. Knowledge Clusters) is an associate pro-
fessor (titular interino) of management and codirec-
tor of the Ph.D. program at the Department of Busi-
ness Administration, University Carlos III de Madrid,
Spain. He received his Ph.D. from SAnna School of
Advanced Studies in 2003. His work focuses on the
role of intangible assets on rm strategies and per-
formances and on the interplay between organization
structures, knowledge spillovers, and the geographical
endowment. Address: Department of Business Adminis-
tration, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Calle Madrid
126, 28903, Getafe, Madrid, Spain; e-mail: marco.
giarratana@uc3m.es.
Jody Hoffer Gittell (A Relational Model of How
High-Performance Work Systems Work) is an asso-
ciate professor and MBA program director for the
Heller School for Social Policy and Management,
Brandeis University. She received her Ph.D. in 1995
from MIT Sloan School of Management. Her current
research explores how coordination carried out through
relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge, and
mutual respect contributes to quality and efciency out-
comes in high-pressure service settings. Address: The
Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Bran-
deis University, Waltham, MA 02454; e-mail: jgittell@
brandeis.edu.
Scott D. Grafn (Certications and Reputation:
Determining the Standard of Desirability Amidst Uncer-
tainty) is an assistant professor at the University of
Georgias Terry College of Business. He received his
Ph.D. in strategic management and organization theory
from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His research
interests include corporate governance, and the impact of
reputation, status, and the nancial press on organization
outcomes. Address: Terry College of Business, Univer-
sity of Georgia, 425 Brooks Hall, Athens, GA 30602;
e-mail: sgrafn@terry.uga.edu.
Royston Greenwood (The Multiplicity of Institu-
tional Logics and the Heterogeneity of Organizational
Responses) is the Telus Chair of Strategic Management
and associate dean (research), University of Alberta, and
a visiting professor at the University of Oxford. He
received his Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham,
UK. His research focuses upon institutional processes
and change, especially in professional settings. Address:
School of Business, University of Alberta, Edmonton
AB T6G 2R6, Canada; e-mail: royston.greenwood@
ualberta.ca.
Denis A. Grgoire (Cognitive Processes of Oppor-
tunity Recognition: The Role of Structural Alignment)
is an assistant professor of managerial sciences and
a member of the graduate faculty at the J. Mack
Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University.
Denis received his Ph.D. from the University of Col-
orado, Boulder, and his M.Sc. from HEC Montral. His
research centers on the cognitive processes supporting
strategic decision making, including the identication
and pursuit of opportunities, decisions to expand a rms
activities abroad, and the evaluation of new project pre-
sentations by managers and investors. Address: Depart-
ment of Managerial Sciences, J. Mack Robinson Col-
lege of Business, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
30302-4014; e-mail: dgregoire@gsu.edu.
About Authors
Organization Science 21(2), pp. 587591, 2010 INFORMS 589
Mark H. Haney (Investigating the Antecedents of
Team-Based Clan Control: Adding Social Capital as a
Predictor) is a Ph.D. candidate in management informa-
tion systems at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of
Business, University of Pittsburgh. His research explores
the management of the information systems development
process, knowledge management, and website usabil-
ity. Address: Katz Graduate School of Business, Uni-
versity of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; e-mail:
mhaney@katz.pitt.edu.
Laurie J. Kirsch (Investigating the Antecedents of
Team-Based Clan Control: Adding Social Capital as a
Predictor) is senior associate dean and professor of
business administration at the Joseph M. Katz Gradu-
ate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh. She
received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Her research explores the exercise of control, gover-
nance, and knowledge transfer in the information sys-
tems (IS) context. Her research has been funded by
the National Science Foundation and the Advanced
Practices Council of the Society for Information Man-
agement International. Address: Katz Graduate School
of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
15260; e-mail: lkirsch@katz.pitt.edu.
Dong-Gil Ko (Investigating the Antecedents of
Team-Based Clan Control: Adding Social Capital as a
Predictor) is an assistant professor of information sys-
tems at the College of Business, University of Cincin-
nati. He received his Ph.D. from the Joseph M. Katz
Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.
His research focuses on knowledge transfer, the exer-
cise of control, outsourcing, and the use of systems for
improving the management, performance, and impact
of IS-related projects. Address: Information Systems
Department, College of Business, University of Cincin-
nati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0211; e-mail: donggil.ko@
uc.edu.
Stan Xiao Li (The Multiplicity of Institutional Log-
ics and the Heterogeneity of Organizational Responses)
is associate professor of strategic management at the
Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada.
He received his Ph.D. from the Rotman School of Man-
agement, University of Toronto. His recent research
addresses tie transfer across social networks, clique
movement, contextual factors of management theories
and the legitimation of institutions. Address: Schulich
School of Business, Room N309, 4700 Keele Street,
York University, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada; e-mail:
sxli@schulich.yorku.ca.
Amalia Magn Daz (The Multiplicity of Institu-
tional Logics and the Heterogeneity of Organizational
Responses) is an assistant professor of management and
organizations at Almera University. She received her
Ph.D. in 2005, and her research investigates organiza-
tional strategy, institutional theory, and human resource
management. Address: Departamento de Direccin y
Gesin de Empresas, Facultad de Ciencias Econmi-
cas y Empresariales, Universidad de Almera, La
Caada de San Urbano, 04120 Almera, Spain; e-mail:
amagan@ual.es.
Eric Molleman (Power Asymmetry and Learning
in Teams: The Moderating Role of Performance Feed-
back) is a professor of human resource manage-
ment and organizational behavior at the Faculty of
Economics and Business, University of Groningen,
The Netherlands. He received his Ph.D. from the Uni-
versity of Maastricht, The Netherlands. His research
includes the design, functioning, and performance of
teams; team task characteristics; and worker attributes
such as multifunctionality, personality traits, and work-
related attitudes. Address: Faculty of Economics and
Business, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 800,
9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands; e-mail: h.b.m.
molleman@rug.nl.
Alistair Mutch (Technology, Organization, and
StructureA Morphogenetic Approach) is professor of
information and learning at Nottingham Trent Univer-
sity. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University
of Manchester in 1980. His current research interests
include the place and nature of analytics in organiza-
tional life, the relationship between critical realism and
institutional theory, the historical links between prac-
tices of church governance and management, and the
relationship between the built environment and man-
agement practice. He serves on the editorial boards of
Organization and the Scandinavian Journal of Manage-
ment. Address: Division of Information Management
and Systems, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham
Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4BU, United King-
dom; e-mail: alistair. mutch@ntu.ac.uk.
Satish Nambisan (Different Roles, Different Strokes:
Organizing Virtual Customer Environments to Promote
Two Types of Customer Contributions) is an associ-
ate professor of technology and innovation management
at the Lally School of Management, Rensselaer Polytech-
nic Institute. His current research focuses on network-
centric innovation, customer coinnovation, product
development, and collaborative social innovation. He
is the author of The Global Brain (Wharton School
Publishing, 2007). Address: Lally School of Manage-
ment, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180;
e-mail: nambis@rpi.edu.
Simon C. Parker (A General Framework for Esti-
mating Multidimensional Contingency Fit) is the MBA
1980 Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Richard Ivey
School of Business, University of Western Ontario. He
is also a research professor at the Max Planck Insti-
tute of Economics, Germany. He received his Ph.D. in
economics from Durham University, UK. He researches
the economics of entrepreneurship and the determinants
of venture performance. Professor Parker is an asso-
ciate editor of Small Business Economics, a coeditor
About Authors
590 Organization Science 21(2), pp. 587591, 2010 INFORMS
of the Journal of Economics and Management Strat-
egy, and serves on the editorial boards of International
Small Business Journal and Foundations and Trends
in Entrepreneurship. Address: Richard Ivey School of
Business, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Rich-
mond Street, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada; e-mail:
sparker@ivey.uwo.ca.
Johannes M. Pennings (Faraway, Yet So Close:
Organization in Demographoie Flux) is Marie and
Joseph Melone Professor of Management and Sociology
at the Wharton School of the University, Pennsylvania.
He received his doctorate in the faculty of arts and sci-
ences at the University of Michigan in 1973. His present
research revolves around innovation and technological
trajectories in the imaging sector addressing recombi-
native capabilities and strategic effects of interrm net-
works derived from proprietary knowledge. Address:
Department of Management, The Wharton School, Uni-
versity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104; e-mail:
pennings@wharton.upenn.edu.
Rob Seidner (A Relational Model of How High-
Performance Work Systems Work) is a Ph.D. stu-
dent in the graduate program in public administration
at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He earned
his MBA from the Heller School for Social Policy
and Management, Brandeis University. He completed
a Presidential Management Fellow appointment as a
human resource specialist in the U.S. Ofce of Per-
sonnel Managements Human Capital Leadership and
Merit System Compliance division. His primary research
interests involve federal human capital practices, includ-
ing recruitment, pay for performance, accountability,
and high-performance human resource work systems.
Address: Graduate Program in Public Administration,
University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607-
7064; e-mail: seidner@alumni.brandeis.edu.
Dean A. Shepherd (Cognitive Processes of Oppor-
tunity Recognition: The Role of Structural Alignment)
is Randall L. Tobias Chair in entrepreneurial leadership
and a professor of entrepreneurship at the Kelley School
of Business, Indiana University. Dean received his doc-
torate and MBA from Bond University (Australia) and
a BASc from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technol-
ogy. His research on entrepreneurial leadership includes
the decision making of entrepreneurs, new venture strat-
egy, learning from failure, and pursuit of opportunity.
Address: Kelley School of Business, Indiana University,
Bloomington, IN 47405; e-mail: shepherd@indiana.edu.
Bilian Ni Sullivan (Competition and Beyond: Prob-
lems and Attention Allocation in the Organizational
Rulemaking Process) is an assistant professor at the
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her
research interests are in the areas of learning, adaptation,
social networks, and stratication. Address: Department
of Management of Organizations, Hong Kong University
of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon,
Hong Kong; e-mail: mnbilian@ust.hk.
Gerben S. Van der Vegt (Power Asymmetry and
Learning in Teams: The Moderating Role of Perfor-
mance Feedback) is a professor of human resource
management and organizational behavior at the faculty
of Economics and Business, University of Groningen,
The Netherlands. He received his Ph.D. in organi-
zational behavior from the same university. His cur-
rent research focuses on the processes associated with
the integration of knowledge and expertise in work
teams and organizations, team learning, effective team
design, and leadership in work groups and organizations.
Address: Faculty of Economics and Business, Univer-
sity of Groningen, 9700 AV Groningen, The Nether-
lands; e-mail: g.s.van.der.vegt@rug.nl.
Arjen van Witteloostuijn (A General Framework
for Estimating Multidimensional Contingency Fit) is a
research professor of economics and management at the
Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwer-
pen, Belgium. He is also professor of institutional eco-
nomics at the Utrecht School of Economics, Utrecht
University, The Netherlands. He received his Ph.D. from
Maastricht University, The Netherlands. His research
interest is at the interface of economics, management,
psychology, and sociology. He is an area editor of the
Journal of International Business Studies, and serves
on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management
Journal, British Journal of Management, and Industrial
and Corporate Change. Address: Faculty of Applied
Economics, Department of Management, University of
Antwerpen, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium;
e-mail: arjen.vanwitteloostuijn@ua.ac.be.
Andrew J. Ward (Certications and Reputation:
Determining the Standard of Desirability Amidst Uncer-
tainty) is on the Faculty of the Management Depart-
ment, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia.
He received his Ph.D. from the Wharton School, Uni-
versity of Pennsylvania. He conducts research on reputa-
tions, networks, CEO successions, CEO compensation,
the roles and concerns of the chief executive ofcer,
CEO/board relations, leadership, and corporate gover-
nance. Address: Terry College of Business, University
of Georgia, 411 Brooks Hall, Athens, GA 30602; e-mail:
ajward@terry.uga.edu.
Julian Wimbush (A Relational Model of How High-
Performance Work Systems Work) is a postdoctoral
research fellow at the Center for Infectious Disease and
Emergency Readiness. His current research examines
how health information technology, organizational cli-
mate, and quality improvement orientation lead to the
adoption of care management processes in an integrated
delivery system. Address: School of Public Health, Uni-
versity of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720;
e-mail: wimbush@berkeley.edu.
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