Chapter 10 Power and Influence in the Workplace
Power – the capacity of a person, team or organization to influence others.
1) power is not the act of changing someone’s attitudes or behaviour; it is only the potential to do so
2) power is based on the target’s perception that the power holder controls (i.e., possesses, has access to, or
regulates) a valuable resource that can help them achieve their goals
3) Third, power involves asymmetric (unequal) dependence of one party on another party. This dependent
relationship is illustrated in Exhibit 10.1. The line from Person B to the goal shows that he or she believes
Person A controls a resource that can help or hinder Person B in achieving that goal. Person A—the
powerholder in this illustration—might have power over Person B by controlling a desired job assignment,
useful information, rewards, or even the privilege of being associated with him or her! For example, if you
believe a co-worker has expertise (the resource) that would substantially help you to write a better report
(your goal), then that co-worker has some power over you because you value that expertise to achieve
your goal. Whatever the resource is, Person B is dependent on Person A (the powerholder) to provide the
resource so Person B can reach his or her goal
countervailing power The capacity of a person, team, or
organization to keep a more powerful person or group in
the exchange relationship.
Person A dominates the power relationship, but Person B
has enough countervailing power to keep Person A in the
exchange relationship and ensure that person or
department uses its dominant power judiciously.
Sources of Power
1) Legitatmate Power – is an agreement among organizational members that people in certain roles can
request certain behaviours of others. (tell them what to do)
a. Norm of Reciprcity - A felt obligation and social expectation of helping or otherwise giving
something of value to someone who has already helped or given something to you.
2) Reward Power - is derived from the person’s ability to control the allocation of rewards valued by others
and to remove negative sanctions (rewards such as pay, promotions, time off, vacation schedules, and
3) Coercive Power - is the ability to apply punishment (threatening employees with dismissal) ( being
sarcastic toward co-workers or threatening to exclude them)
4) Expert Power - It is an individual’s or work unit’s capacity to influence others by possessing knowledge or
skills valued by others
a. Prevention—The most effective strategy is to prevent environmental changes from occurring.
b. Forecasting—The next best strategy is to predict environmental changes or variations.
c. Absorption—People and work units also gain power by absorbing or neutralizing the impact of
environmental shifts as they occur.
5) Referent Power - The capacity to influence others on the basis of an identification with and respect for the
a. Charisma - A personal characteristic or special “gift” that serves as a form of interpersonal
attraction and referent power over others. Contingencies of Power
Substitutability - refers to the availability of alternatives. Being able to be replaced. “more than one person to get
a resource from, ill get it from them.”
Centrality - refers to the powerholder’s importance based on the degree and nature of interdependence between
the powerholder and others
increases with the number of people dependent on you as well as how quickly and severely they are
affected by that dependence
Discretion - The freedom to exercise judgment—to make decisions without referring to a specific rule or receiving
permission from someone else—is another important contingency of power in organizations.lack of discretion
makes supervisors less powerful
Visibility - Power does not flow to unknown people in the organization. Those who control valued resources or
knowledge will yield power only when others are aware of these sources of power, in other words, when they are
Social Capital - The knowledge and other resources available to people or social units (teams, organizations) from
a durable network that connects them to others.
Social Network - Social structures of individuals or social units that are connected to each other through one or
more forms of interdependence.
GAINING POWER FROM SOCIAL NETWORKS
How do individuals (and teams and organizations) gain the m