This essay will consider the five bases of power within the case study organisation as well as the potential nature of the relationship between dependency and power.
Fives Bases of Power
Sources within the literature commonly define five bases of power including, legitimate, reward, coercive expert, referent, and information based sources of power (Robbins and Judge, 2007). These bases of power may be seen in the context of the case study with each of the members of the team making use of different sources of power. In the first instance, it is the marketing manager who in the scenario holds the legitimate sources of power, this is to say the individual has the right to wield power through the use of delegated authority (Handy, 1999). In this is scenario it would appear that the marketing manager makes use of the power of reward to further take advantage of their legitimate power through emphasising the annual bonuses scheme. It may also be seen that the marketing manager has the ability to make use of coercive sources of power by way of their authority however, the case study shows no indication that the manager has to date made use of this base of power.
Employee one on the other hand, may be seen as using or having the ability to draw upon information as a basis for power. Here 12 years of experience in the business means that the employee has the ability to draw upon a wide range of information within and out with the business which may serve as a source of power.
Employee two in the scenario seems to draw upon expert power in order to negotiate a positive personal outcome. In this case the employee has used the fact that they are the only person within the organisation to have expert knowledge of the CPA role in order to derive preferential working conditions in the form of a four day working week.
Finally employee three although relatively new to the organisation and lacking the previous bases of power enjoyed by others in the organisation may be seen as making use of referent sources of power (Robbins and Judge, 2007). In this case the concept sees that an individual is able to draw upon their own personality and traits as a source of inspiration to others thus creating a power based as others within the organisation go along with the ideas of an individual because they want to rather than because they have to.
As such, this section of the essay has shown that the application of the five basis of power see each of the employees within the case study able to influence the working environment by drawing upon different sources of power ranging from the legitimate to the referent in nature.
Dependency and Power
While the paper has thus far identified the five bases of power and how individuals within the case study make use of these sources of power, the effectiveness of a given source of power may be much more linked to the concept of the relationship between dependency and power. In this case, the key question to be asked is how dependent are each of the individuals in the relationships upon the actions of the other person within the scenario (Handy, 1999). For instance, in the context of the case study the marketing manager makes use of the power of reward in a relationship with employee one in order to gain increased levels of performance through overtime working and additional hours. In this case employee one states that they are planning to take a holiday which they would not be able to take without the bonus being offered by the marketing manager. In this case one may see that there is an extremely high level of dependency on the behalf of employee one upon the source of power being made use of by the marketing manager. As such, the high level of dependency in the relationship may be seen as emphasising the position of the marketing manager from a power perspective at the expense of employee one (Robbins and Judge, 2007).
In the case of the relationship between employee two and the marketing manager, the relationship may be seen as one which is reversed in comparison to the former relationship analysed. In this case, the marketing manager is dependent upon the expertise of employee two in order to run the department effectively (Handy, 1999). Given that there is no other employee available with the same level of knowledge or qualifications as employee two, this makes the marketing manager all the more dependent upon employee two and as such sees that greater levels of power lie with the employee rather than the employer in the relationship.
Having analysed two key relationships in the context of the case study, one can see that there is a clear link between the effectiveness of any given sources of power and the dependency in the relationship between those individuals involved. However, analysis shows that such dependencies may run in both directions up and down the hierarchy.
Handy, C. (1999). Understanding organizations. 4th ed. London: Penguin Books.
Robbins, S, P, Judge, T, A. (2007). Organizational behaviour. 12th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.