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Chapter 10


Business Administration
Course Code
BUS 272
Sam Thiara

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LO1 The Meaning of Power
Power is the capacity of a person, team, or organization to influence others.
1. Power is not the act of changing someone’s attitudes or behavior; it is only the
potential to do so. People frequently have power they do not know; they might not
even know they have power. Not actual use
2. Power is based on the target’s perception that the power holder controls a valuable
resource that can help them achieve their goals. People might generate power by
convincing others that they control something of value, whether or not they actually
control that resource. Power is not a personal feeling.
The perception that others have power is also formed from the power holders
behavior as someone who is not swayed by authority or concerned about abiding by
social norms. People are perceived as more powerful(perception) just because of
behaviors, such as putting their feet on a table
3. Power involves asymmetric (unequal) dependence of one party on another party.
Dependence is s key element of power relationships, use asymmetric dependence
because the less powerful party still has some degree of power—called countervailing
power – over the power holder.
The greater Bs dependence on A, the greater power A has over B
Sources and contingencies of power drive the perception of dependency and power
4. The power relationship depends on some minimum level of trust.
power: Less powerful party still has some degree of power
5. The power relationship depends on some minimum level of trust. Trust indicates a level
expectation that the more powerful party will deliver the resource.

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Sources of Power in Organizations
Power is derived from five sources: legitimate, reward, coercive, expert, and referent.
The model also identifies four contingencies of power: the employee’s or department’s
substitutability, centrality, discretion, and visibility.
Three sources of power—legitimate, rewards, and coercive—originate mostly from the
power holder’s formal position or informal role. The person is granted these sources of
power formally by the organization or informally by co-workers.
Two other sources of power—expert and referent—originate mainly from the power holder’s
own characteristics. People carry these power bases around with them.
Even personal sources of power do not reside solely within the person because they depend
on how others perceive them.
Raven subsequently proposed information power as an additional source of power. We
present information power as forms of legitimate and expert power rather than as a distinct
Legitimate power
Right, because of position to expect
An agreement among organizational members that people in certain roles can request a set
of behaviors from others. This perceived right or obligation originates from formal job
descriptions as well as informal rules of conduct.
it only gives the power holder the right to ask for a range of behaviors from others. This
range known as the “zone of indifference”—is the set of behaviors that individuals are willing
to engage in at the other person’s request.
The size of the zone of indifference increases with the level of trust in the power holder.
Some values and personality traits also make people more obedient to authority. Those who
value conformity and tradition and also have high power distance tend to have higher
deference to authority. The organization’s culture represents another influence on the
willingness of employees to follow orders.
Norm of reciprocity—a feeling of obligation to help someone who has helped you.
Legitimate Power through Information Control
A particularly potent form of legitimate power occurs where people have the right
information that others receive. This information gatekeepers gain power in two ways.

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Information is a resource, so those who need that information are dependent in the
gatekeeper to provide that resource.
Information gatekeepers gain power by selectively distributing information so those
receiving the information perceive the situation differently. These information
gatekeepers can potentially influence executive decisions by framing their reality
through selective distribution of information.
Reward power: it is derived from the person’s ability to control the allocation of rewards
valued by others and to remove negative sanctions
Able to give special benefits
Coercive power: ability to apply punishment
Able to make things difficult for people
Expert power: originates mainly from within the power holder. It is an individual’s or work
unit’s capacity to influence others by possessing knowledge or skills valued by others.
Earn respect through experience, knowledge
One important form of expert power is the perceives ability to manage uncertainties in the
business environment. Organizations are more effective when they operate in predictable
environments, so they value people who can cope with turbulence in consumer trends,
societal changes, unstable supply lines, and so forth. Expertise can help companies cope with
uncertainty in three ways: 从高到低 prevention, forecasting, and absorption.
Prevention: The most effective strategy is to prevent environmental changes from
Forecasting: the next best strategy is to predict environmental changes or variations. In
this respect, trendspotters and other marketing specialists gain power by predicting
changes I consumer preferences.
Absorption: People and work units also gain power by absorbing or neutralizing the
impact of environmental shifts as they occur.
Many people respond to expertise just as they respond to authority. They mindlessly follow
the guidance of these experts.
Referent power: the referent power exists when others identify with them, like them, or
otherwise respect them. Originates within the power holder. It is largely a function of the
person’s interpersonal skills and tends to develop slowly. Also associated with charismaa
form of interpersonal attraction whereby followers ascribe almost magical powers to the
charismatic individual. Charisma produces a high degree of trust, respect, and devotion
toward the charismatic individual.
Others follow because of attraction and liking
LO2 Contingencies of Power
Sources of power generate power only under certain conditions. Four important
contingencies of power that affect the degree to which power can be invoked or used are
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