SPCOM227 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Interpersonal Communication, Job Satisfaction, V Formation

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Chapter 5: Leadership and power
Power and leadership:
Interdependent however, they are not interchangeable
Power can exist without leadership, leadership cannot exist without power
Interdependent but not interchangeable
We define power as ability to influence others
Power must be used in pursuit of group goals to merit leadership
Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it
Sources of power
Coercive power: based on ability to administer punishment or to give negative
In extreme form, coercive power translates to brute physical force
Coercion is most effective when those subject to this form of power are
aware of expectations and are warned in advance about penalties for failure
to comply
Supervisor who threatens to take action against subordinate must carry out
threat if coercive power is to remain viable source of power
Reward power: rests on ability to deliver something of value to others
Reward can be tangible
Any reward must be desirable and attractive to serve as a sufficient
Legitimate power: resides in position rather than in person
Have right to prescribe behaviour within specified parameters
Amount of power someone has depends on importance of position and
willingness to grant authority to person in that position
Expert power: based on person, not the position
Supply needed information and skills
Referent power: role model power
Admired person the ability to influence their behaviour
Depends on feelings of affection, esteem and respect for another individual
Information power: based on access to, and distribution of data
Ecological power: arises out of control over physical environment, technology and
how work is organized
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Deciding which types of power to use
To determine advantages and disadvantages, view leadership as reciprocal
Social exchange theory: leaders must maintain profitable relationships with
oThey do this by providing rewards like approval, information, or
oWhen relationship becomes unprofitable to either
Leaders should rely heavily on expert and referent power
Leader’s impact is enhanced if she/he combines legitimate power with
expert and referent power
Group members prefer leader who rely on power associated with unique
characteristics of person rather than leaders who rely on power related on
Engaging in constructive organizational politics
Political behaviour is not officially sanctioned by organization and operates
outside formal power structure
“Playing politics” generally associated with backstabbing, hidden agenda,
secret deals, selfishness and deceit
Positive political strategy should keep following elements in mind:
1. Identify political behaviour you want to engage in
2. Articulate purpose and what you want to achieve; keep focus on group’s
3. Consider important elements of context (history, culture, interactions, ethics)
4. Name those involved who need to be influenced or who can exert influence
5. Anticipate possible reactions to plan and political activities
6. Take responsibility for role in strategy
7. Consider whether actions will be consistent with values and those of
8. Determine how to leverage change
Carrying out constructive political strategy takes 4 sets of capabilities
1. Politically skilled leaders demonstrate conceptual understanding nature of
power and how it can be used to achieve worthy goals
2. Constructive political leaders understand themselves
3. Effective politicians demonstrate high level of awareness about their political
situations, continually seeking out information about influential individuals
4. Skilful political leaders develop their interpersonal skills
Powerful and powerless talk
Language is mirror reflecting power differences
Use of language both reflects and creates power differentials
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