Power is defined is the measure of an entity capability and ability to influence and control his or her surrounding environment including behaviors of other people. The five bases of power are explained below.
Expert power is possessed by the leaders who are experts in a certain field or discipline. These people rely on their ability and capability to undertake various organizational functions and tasks. A person with an expert knowledge in an organization is trusted and respected for any opinion he raises. If someone’s expertise is valued, his or her ideas and leadership skills and competencies will be recognized by people (French and Raven, 1959).
This type of power can be combined well with the power of reward in an appropriate fashion. This can be explained with employee 2 who is professional accountant (certified public accountant) in corporation A; who can work for only four days in a week and deliver good work. He uses his expertise to prepare financial statements because of his specialization (French and Raven, 1959).
This is the ability to administer things he or she likes or to get rid of the things he does not like. It is the perceived ability to provide the subordinate with the results or outcomes that are valued and desired in a positive manner. This type of power is driven by the idea that, as a society, we are likely to do things to ourselves and others very well only if we are getting something as a reward out of it. Most social exchange theorists focus on offerings raised, promotions and monetary rewards (French and Raven, 1959).
One weakness about this type of reward is that, when you have used up the reward and it is over, his or her power decreases and weakens. This is experienced by employee 1 in the corporation who works in the marketing department. He works overtime and he constantly reminds the workers to work beyond 40 hours weekly so as to receive a bonus and a superior rating in the evaluation. He even plans a well-deserved vacation because of the bonus he expects to receive (French and Raven, 1959).
This is a type of power, which is based upon coercion. This is forcing someone to do something he or she does not like. The result of coercion power is compliance. Other types of power can be used in a coercive way, for instance, when expertise or reward is not provided or referent power can be used in order to threaten social exclusion in an employee. It is also related to a punitive behavior that may be beyond someone’s expected role or duty (French and Raven, 1959).
It is associated with the contingent reward behavior because it is negatively associated with it, but generally associated with punitive behavior. Leaders who exercise this type of power land themselves in problems because it involves abuse. It causes dissatisfaction and unhealthy behavior in the workplace because these leaders use threats in their leadership style. Such leaders threaten the workers that he will fire or demote them (French and Raven, 1959).
This is a type of power that leads one to administer certain feelings of responsibility or obligation. Punishing and rewarding staff is seen as legitimate part of appointed leadership. It means that, managerial or senior positions in an organization carry some degree of expected punishment or reward in the end. This is based on the fact that, people obey those in power based on their title or position but not a person as a leader. This type of power can dissolve with the leadership title. This power is not very strong to satisfy and influence ones needs (French and Raven, 1959). This is seen in employee 3 who influences to adopt the new sales strategy and they adopt it and sales increased yet he has been in the organization for a short period of time.
This is a type of power of holding the capability and ability so that you can administer to other feelings of personal approval or acceptance. This is the strongest type of power and it is often called role model or power holder. It is also looked at as a charm or admiration. It is seen in people who like leading others strongly and he identify with them in one way or another. The person has a lot of influence and he makes people to feel good when he is around them. Celebrities use this type of power in the society but they loose it after sometime. This type of power is common in the military and in politics. This is seen in employee 3 of corporation A on how he influences others to adopt the new sales strategy though he has been in the organization for a short period of time (French and Raven, 1959).
French, J. R. P. and Raven, B. (1959). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright and A.
Zander. Group dynamics. New York: Harper & Row.