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Lecture

MGHB02H3 Lecture Notes - Job Performance, Critical Role, Reinforcement


Department
Management (MGH)
Course Code
MGHB02H3
Professor
Joanna Heathcote

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LEC 13 POWER, POLITICS AND ETHICS
What Is Power?
Power is the capacity to influence others who are in a state of dependence.
It is not always perceived or exercised.
It does not imply a poor relationship between the power holder and the target of power.
Power can flow in any direction in an organization.
Power applies to both individuals and groups.
The Bases of Individual Power
Power can be found in the position one occupies in an organization or the resources that one is able to
command.
There are five bases of individual power:
1. Legitimate power
2. Reward power
3. Coercive power
4. Referent power
5. Expert power
Legitimate Power
Power derived from a person’s position or job in an organization.
It is based on one’s authority and level in an organization’s hierarchy.
Legitimate power works because people have been socialized to accept its influence.
Reward Power
Power derived from the ability to provide positive outcomes and prevent negative outcomes.
It corresponds to the concept of positive reinforcement.
Any organizational member can attempt to exert influence over others with praise, compliments, and flattery.
Coercive Power
Power derived from the use of punishment and threat.
Lower-level organizational members can also apply their share of coercion.
When managers use coercive power, it is generally ineffective and can provoke considerable employee
resistance.
Referent Power
Power derived from being well liked by others.
It stems from identification with the power holder.
Referent power is available to anyone in an organization who is well liked.
Interpersonal relations often permit influence to extend across the organization, outside the usual channels of
legitimate authority, reward, and coercion.
Expert Power
Power derived from having special information or expertise that is valued by an organization.
Expert power corresponds to difficulty of replacement.
Expert power is a valuable asset for managers.
Of all the bases of power, expertise is most consistently associated with employee effectiveness.
Employees perceive women managers as more likely than male managers to be high in expert power.

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Employee Responses to Bases of Power
Employees are likely to have the following response to each base of managerial power:
Coercive power Resistance
Reward power Compliance
Legitimate power Compliance
Expert power Commitment
Referent power Commitment
How Do People Obtain Power?
How do people get power?
People obtain power in organizations by doing certain activities and developing informal relationships with the
right people.
Doing the Right Things
Extraordinary Activities
Excellent performance in unusual or non-routine activities
Highly Visible
Activities must be visible to others and publicized.
Relevant Activities
Relevant to the solution of important organizational problems
Cultivating the Right People
Outsiders
Establishing good relationships with key people outside of one’s organization
Subordinates
Being closely identified with certain up-and-coming subordinates
Being backed by a cohesive team
Peers
A means of ensuring that nothing gets in the way of one’s future acquisition of power.
Superiors
Liaisons with key superiors is the best way of obtaining power through cultivating others.
Mentors can provide power in several ways
Empowerment
Empowerment means giving people the authority, opportunity, and motivation to take initiative and solve
organizational problems.
People who are empowered have a strong sense of self-efficacy.
Empowering lower-level employees can be critical in service organizations.
Empowerment fosters job satisfaction and high performance.
Empowerment puts power where it is needed to make the organization effective.
Empowerment should lead to effective performance when people have sufficient power to carry out their jobs.
Excessive power can lead to abuse and ineffective performance.
Relationship Between Power and Performance
Who Wants Power?
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