A theoretical and experimental study of a particular transverse-electric (TE) mode lasing mechanism of a tunneling injection InP quantum-dot (QD) laser is reported. In the experiment, the TE mode lasing action takes place at the first excited state of InP biaxially compressively strained QDs. This QD state is coupled to the ground state of two tensile-strained InGaP quantum wells (QWs) although the tensile-strained QW structure favors the transverse-magnetic (TM) polarization light emission. The measured TE and TM modal gain spectra show a typical QW gain evolution behavior at low injection currents, which can be theoretically modeled by the quasi-equilibrium of carrier distribution. When the injection current is increased near threshold, a TE gain narrowing and a simultaneous TM gain pinning are observed in the measured modal gain spectra, which cannot be explained via the quasi-equilibrium model. We propose a polarization-dependent photon-mediated carrier redistribution in the QD-coupled-QW structure to explain this TE and TM gain evolution behavior. When the injection current is just below threshold, the strong carrier depletion via stimulated emission due to coupling between the InP QD and InGaP QW states plays an important role in carrier redistribution, which depends on the optical transition energy and polarization. This concept of the polarization-dependent photon-mediated carrier redistribution explains the TE gain narrowing and TM gain pinning behavior. In addition, a coupled rate equation model is established, and the calculated polarization power ratio based on the coupled rate equations explains the experimental observation.