Machiavellianism, social insight, and power of department heads

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Department heads are viewed in this study as potential administrative agents of change for innovation in higher educational organizations. Due, however, to the low role power attributed to them by faculty, it was hypothesized that department heads’ manipulative orientation and social insight would be positively related to the role and personal power attributed them by faculty on power dimensions relevant to the change agent role. Statements to this effect were tested in a large land-grant university in the southeastern United States. Results of the study revealed that, in fact, department heads high on manipulative orientation are attributed more role and personal power on power scales relevant to the change agent role, than those low on this dimension. Results for social insight were confirmed on only one role power dimension. Interaction effects for the two variables of interest were explored and differed in results from the single variable trends. The strength of all relationships with respect to the amount of variance accounted for in the dependent variables by the independent variables, was low.