Working Together versus Working Autonomously: a New Power-Dependence Perspective on the Individual-Level of Analysis

Simon B. de Jong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recent studies have indicated that it is important to investigate the interaction between task interdependence and task autonomy because this interaction can affect team effectiveness. However, only a limited number of studies have been conducted and those studies focused solely on the team level of analysis. Moreover, there has also been a dearth of theoretical development. Therefore, this study develops and tests an alternative theoretical perspective in an attempt to understand if, and if so why, this interaction is important at the individual level of analysis. Based on interdependence theory and power-dependence theory, we expected that highly task-interdependent individuals who reported high task autonomy would be more powerful and better performers. In contrast, we expected that similarly high task-interdependent individuals who reported less task autonomy would be less powerful and would be weaker performers. These expectations were supported by multi-level and bootstrapping analyses performed on a multi-source dataset (self-, peer-, manager-ratings) comprised of 182 employees drawn from 37 teams. More specifically, the interaction between task interdependence and task autonomy was gamma = .128, p <.05 for power and gamma = .166, p <.05 for individual performance. The 95% bootstrap interval ranged from .0038 to .0686.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere37
JournalSpanish Journal of Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • interdependence
  • autonomy
  • performance
  • power-dependence theory
  • asymmetry in task dependence

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