In Search of Influence - Leading Knowledge Workers with Care

Ola Edvin Vie


Managers in Research and development (R&D) are in search of influence because knowledge workers value
autonomy and dislike direct supervision. The purpose of this article is to explore if and how leadership support is
connected to influence. Through interviews with knowledge workers, it is evident that they expect their manager
to be supportive and take an interest in them as complete persons. Observations and interviews with managers
reveal that they fulfill these expectations by engaging in listening and chatting. In addition, the data also
illustrates that managers care about their employees. The analysis shows that manager’s activities of care can
indeed be a source of social influence, illustrating close connection between emotion and influence. This
intertwinement should inspire future research to look deeper and broader for potential sources of influence in the
leadership process, but also to acknowledge the importance of leadership in the setting of innovation.

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