nl en

Motivation, Power and Leadership


Entry requirements

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


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

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

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students:

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

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

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


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

Lectures Exam



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions.
Master’s course registration


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

Mode of instruction

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

Assessment method

Multiple-choice and open questions (respectively 2/3 and 1/3 of final grade). All literature as mentioned in the yearly-updated reading list on Blackboard, as well as everything that is discussed during the lectures can and will be part of the exam. Please note that the list below is exemplary, and this list is updated yearly to give students a state-of-the-art perspective on this field.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

Exemplary reading list below, Final reading list will appear on Blackboard.

Lecture 2: Leadership, power, and motivation theories

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

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

Lecture 3: The dark side of power

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

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

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

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

Lecture 4: Mood and emotions in leadership

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

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

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

Lecture 5: Diversity and the demands of leadership

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

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

Lecture 6: Power

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

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

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

Contact information

Dr. Fieke Harinck