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The Rich Get Richer: The Reciprocal Relationship Between Power and Status
Scholars and practitioners alike have long thought that power and status share a reciprocal, mutually reinforcing relationship. However, examination of this relationship has largely been left to theoretical accounts to date due to the proliferation of static research designs and a dearth of dynamic methodology palatable to organizational researchers. Moreover, the correlation between power and status varies considerably from one study to the next. Utilizing a sample of nascent project teams observed over four time points and leveraging a contemporary methodology from developmental psychology for modeling dynamic relationships, we illustrate that there is indeed a mutually reinforcing relationship between perceived power and status. Critically, however, we find that status predicts subsequent power more strongly than power predicts subsequent status. We replicate this pattern of results using a different sample and experimentally.