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BUS 272 Lecture Notes - Hierarchical Organization, Assertiveness, Stethoscope

Business Administration
Course Code
BUS 272
Graeme Coetzer

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Chapter 10
Power and Influence in the Workplace
- The capacity of a person, team, or organization to influence others
o Potential to change someones attitudes or behaviors, not actual use
o Based on targets perception that the power holder controls
o Involves asymmetric dependence of one party on another party
Countervailing power the capacity of a person, team, or organization
to keep a more powerful person or group in the exchange relationship
Power and Dependence
Model of Power in Organizations
1. Sources of power
o Legitimate
Agreement that people in certain roles can request certain behaviors of
Based on job descriptions and mutual agreement
Legitimate power range (zone of indifference) is the set of behaviors
that individuals are willing to engage in at the other persons request
Varies across national and organizational cultures
Norm of reciprocity legitimate power as a felt obligation to help
others who helped you in the past
Occurs when people have the right to control the information that
others receive
o Reward
Ability to control the allocation of rewards valued by others and to
remove negative sanctions

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o Coercive
Ability to apply punishment
i.e. Peer pressure
Both power exist upward as well as downward in hierarchies
o Expert
Originate from within the power holder, not from the position
The capacity to influence others by possessing knowledge or skills that
they value
Coping with uncertainty
Organizations operate better in predictable environments
People gain power by using their expertise to
o Prevent the most effective strategy to prevent
environmental change from occurring
o Forecast to predict environmental changes or
o Absorb gain power by absorbing or neutralizing the
impact of environmental shifts as they occur.
o Referent
Occurs when others identify with, like, or otherwise respect the person
Associated with charismatic leadership
A personal characteristic or special gift that serves as a form
of interpersonal attraction and referent power over others
2. Contingencies of power
o Substitutability (increasing nonsubstitutability)
Few/no alternatives to the resource
Increase nonsubstitutability by controlling the resource
Exclusive right perform medical procedures
Control over skilled labor
Exclusive knowledge to repair equipment
Differentiate resource from others
o Centrality
Degree and nature of interdependence between powerholder and
A function of:
How many others are affected by you
How quickly others are affected by you
o Discretion
The freedom to exercise judgement
Rules limit discretion, limit power
A perception acting as if you have discretion
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