“But … That’s Not Part of My Job!”: Power and Illegitimate Task Requests

“But … That’s Not Part of My Job!”: Power and Illegitimate Task Requests

Abstract

Hierarchy plays an important role in the workplace, especially during illegitimate supervisor-to-subordinate task requests or directives. Authority figures are often emboldened to request tasks beyond the job description due to the legitimate power imbued in the title “boss.” Unfortunately, with that power comes a trade-off of increased anger, increased feelings of illegitimacy, and decreased satisfaction when the task is considered by the subordinate as “illegitimate.” This case study identifies specific strategies that supervisors can employ to mitigate decreased satisfaction when they have to request an illegitimate task from their subordinates.

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