The risks and benefits of initiating change at work : Social consequences for proactive employees who take charge

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-750
Number of pages30
Journal / PublicationPersonnel Psychology
Issue number4
Online published25 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


We study employee taking charge behavior in a team context and investigate how it influences social consequences in work teams. Drawing on the person perception perspective and the warmth–competence framework, we develop a theoretical model outlining how coworkers view and react to those team members who take charge more at work. We conducted two studies to test our model. Using a three-wave, multisource study with a round-robin design (Study 1), we find that members who take charge relatively more in their work teams tend to be perceived as more competent and are more likely to emerge as informal leaders; however, they are also likely to be seen as less warm and receive less coworker support, especially in teams with a low initiative climate. In a follow-up vignette experimental study (Study 2), we replicate the results in a more controlled setting and expand our understanding of the social consequences for employee taking charge behavior. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these results.

Research Area(s)

  • proactive behavior, taking charge, person perception, coworker support, leadership emergence, work teams