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Chapter 8

OB Ch.8 (c) Alyssa Leung

Course Code
COMM 292
Tracey Gurton

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Alyssa Leung
November 16, 2010
Ch. 8 - Power and Politics
-power: a capacity that A has to influence the behaviour of B, so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes
-potential for power if someone is DEPENDENT on another...someone can have power and not impose it
-the more B depends on A, the more power A has
-power depends on the IMPORTANCE that B places on the alternative that A controls
Coercive Power
-coercive power: power that is based on fear
-fear of negative results if one fails to comply with the power base
-application of physical sanctions (infliction of pain, restriction of movement, controlling by force of basic physiological or safety needs)
-most often used and difficult to control
-eg businesses rely upon the control of economic resources to request tax reductions
-A has coercive power over B if A can dismiss, suspend of demote B (assuming B values his/her job)
Reward Power
-reward power: power that achieves compliance based on the ability to distribute rewards that others view as valuate
-positive benefits -- anything that another person values
-organizational --> money, favourable performance appraisals, promotions, interesting work assignments, preferred work shifts or sales territories
Legitimate Power
-legitimate power: power that a person receives as a result of his/her position in the formal hierarchy of an organization
-acceptance by members of an organization of the authority of a position
-eg teachers comply with school principals
Expert Power
-expert power: influence based on special skills or knowledge
-one of the most powerful sources of influence --> the world is more technologically oriented
-eg follow advice doctor gives
-young people may find to have more power in workplace as they have more knowledge in technology than their Baby Boomer managers
-individuals may withhold information to protect their power -> result in poor-quality performance by those who NEED this information
Referent Power
-referent power: influence based on possession by an individual of desirable resources or personal traits
-admiration of another and a desire to be like that person --> that person will have power of you
-eg coaches, teachers
-reason why celebrities are paid millions of $ to sell certain products
Information Power
-information power: power that comes from access to and control over information
-people who have data/knowledge that others need will have power over them (dependence)
-eg managers use information (privileged sales, cost, salary, profit) to control subordinates’ behaviour
Evaluating the Bases of Power
-people will respond in one of three ways:
i. Commitment (person is enthusiastic, shows initiative and persistence in request)
ii. Compliance (goes along with request -- minimal effort and little initiative)
iii. Resistance (opposed to request -- avoid by refusing, stalling, or arguing)
-Exhibit 8-3 pg 304
The General Dependency Postulate
The greater B’s dependency on A, the greater the power A has over B.
-when A has something B needs, but A alone has control, B is dependent on A, therefore A has power over B.
-dependency is inversely proportional to alternative sources of supply
-if something is plentiful, possession of it will not increase power
-eg organizations develop multiple suppliers rather than give their business to only one
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