What is Power?
Power: The capacity to influence others who are in a state of dependence
Power can be found in the position that you occupy in the organization or the resources that
you are able to command. If other organizational members do not respect your position or
value the resources you command, they will not be dependent on you, and you will lack the
power to influence them.
Legitimate Power: Power derived from person’s position or job in an organization
•It constitutes the organization’s judgement about who is formally permitted to influence
whom, and it is often called authority
•Organizations differ greatly in the extent to which they emphasize and reinforce legiti-
mate power (e.g., the military, which has many levels of command, differentiating uni-
forms and salutes, all designed to emphasize legitimate power. On the other hand, the
academic hierarchy of universities tends to downplay differences in the legitimate
power of lecturers, professors, chairpeople and deans)
Reward Power: Power derived from the ability to provide positive outcomes and prevent
negative outcomes. Reward power often backs up legitimate power. That is, managers are
given the chance to recommend raises, do performance evaluations and assign preferred tasks
Coercive Power: Power derived from the use of punishment and threat. It is often a support
for legitimate power. Managers might be permitted to dock pay, assign unfavourable tasks or
block promotions. This type of power is generally ineffective and can provoke considerable
Reference Power: Power derived from being well liked by others. It is not surprising that
people we like readily influence us. We are prone to consider their points of view, ignore
their failures, seek their approval and use them as role models.
May 5, 2011 5:09 PM