Power is an ability to influence the behavior and actions of other people within an organization. It can be used either to bring a positive or negative impacts in an organization. According to French Raven, a renowned American sociologist, there rarer five main sources of power: legitimate, expert, referent, coercive and reward (Chemers M., 1997). All these, depending on how they are used, directly alter the behavior of the employees within the organization as discussed herein:
1. Legitimate power
This is simply a positional power that arises from one’s position in the organizational hierarchical structure. For instance, the Chief Executive Officer(CEO), Managing Director, Supervisor or a departmental head. All these, because of their positions, have power that they can use to direct, control and assign duties to their juniors. On the other hand, these juniors are expected to respect and follow the given orders. However, for this power to be effectively used, the whole organization must be made to understand that it was legitimately got and that the person rightfully deserves it. This will make him enjoy respect over all the people.
2. Expert power
As the saying goes, Knowledge is Power. This means that this kind of power is derives from one’s expertise and specialization in a given discipline. Those who possess certain skills are highly regarded because they can use their skills and experience to offer thoughtful solutions to the various issues affecting their departments or the entire organization. Their opinions and suggestions are therefore treated with dignity because they are believed to be the genuine authorities in those areas. Hence, they can use this to rise into power to become supervisors, departmental heads and even become the senior most officers in such organizations. For example, may engineers are now the CEOs for various reputable engineering firms allover the world.
3. Reference power
This power arises from the relationship between individuals within the organization as a result of one’s personality or charisma. People with certain appealing characters and abilities are seriously respected by their colleagues (Chemers M., 1997). They may be viewed as hardworking, honest, trustworthy fellows who should be treated with some respect. At the same time, it may be acquired as a result of one’s connection with the top management of the organization. Hence, one may be elected in the workers’ unions or be promoted by the board of directors by whom he is admired, thus, joining the management team.
4. Coercive power
5. Reward power
Reward power arises from a person’s ability to use incentives in order to influence the behavior and attitudes of employees within an organization. In this regard, for the employees’ conducts to be positively influenced, it should upon the management to appropriately offer incentives in the form of promotion, recognition and salary increments to the deserving workers. This will make them realize how valuable they are for the top management and feel motivated to continue delivering their best services. Otherwise, if given through favoritism, it can highly demoralize the workers to diminish their productivity.
Relationship between power, obedience and formal authority
These are important aspects of an organization’s management that should understood by all the staffs irrespective of their hierarchy. In a typical organization, there must be the senior most, middle, junior and the subordinate staff. All these should work harmoniously as a team for a common goal of accomplishing organization’s set objectives. In this regard, there should be a formal hierarchy of management with clearly defined boundaries alongside the role of each of them.
Besides, it should be indicated that the junior staff should respect their seniors and stick to their orders and decisions. They should formally be given those offices on merit as they stick to the Weber’s bureaucratic procedures of a formal organization.
The term empowerment refers to increasing the strength of less advantaged individuals especially in a competitive environment in which they are needed to equally measure with the others. It is a very important practice in organizational management since it can be applied by the top management to impart their juniors with opportunity, skills, authority, resources, motivation aimed at making them responsible and accountable for their decisions. This can be done only if they are given an opportunity ion to share incentives, responsibilities and power with the top management.
Effects of the organization politics on management
Since man is a political animal, everything has been politicized. This is why it has become a common phenomenon in ay organization. Depending on how it is used, politics can either build or destroy an organization. If there is a healthy political climate within the organization, there will be a proper understanding which will eventually result into innovative thinking on how to expand the capacity f the output of the organization (Chemers M., 1997). This will make it useful. Similarly, if there is a political involvement by external forces like the state, there will be a change in which things are done. It may receive support and any other necessary assistance concerning taxation and red tape controls.
However, unhealthy political debates involving disagreements amongst the stakeholders will only harm the organization. It will lead to unnecessary tussles that will eventually result into unhealthy competitions amongst the stakeholders. At the same time, it can result into conspiracies exclusively aiming at thwarting the foreseen successes of the organization. Surely, this will be a recipe to the failure of such organizations.
Foundation theories of leadership
According to many scholars, leadership is a process through which a person enlists the support of others to achieve a common goal. Some of the foundation theories of leadership include:
1. Trait theory
This theory explains that a person can acquire leadership qualities under a variety of situations and circumstances. It explains that one may be a leader due to the possession of qualities like intelligence, conscientiousness, self efficacy, adjustment and openness to experience. However, it has now been criticized for being narrow, conservative and specific to only the big five personality traits. Instead, it should be dynamic and be clear enough to separate time and situational circumstances.
2. Behavioral theory
This theory was developed by people like David McClelland, Kurt Lewin and B.F. Skinner as a response of the weaknesses of the trait theory. It states that leadership is broad and goes beyond the big five traits as had been emphasized before. Instead, they argued that in order to lead, one has to have ego that can see him be self confident, essential and have a high esteem. Such behaviors can be boosted by the use of positive reinforcements like rewards in order to be better. Hence, reinforcement is essential for a successful leader (Chemers M., 1997).
Situational leadership model
It also emerged as a response to the trait theory of leadership. Its proponents argued that history was not just the result of intervention of great men. They agreed with Carl Marx and Herbert Spencer for arguing that time produces an individual Chemers M., 1997).
Hence, different situations need all different characteristics. Meaning, no single psychographic profile exist for a leader. Therefore, what a person really does when acting as a leader, is greatly dependent on the features of the situation in which he operates. This should be done by following the Hersey and Blanchard’s four levels of follower development in conjunction with the four leadership styles.
Inspirational perspective in leadership
Here, we learn that a good leader should have a personal fulfillment in order to perform all the tasks given without any drawback. They should take it upon themselves to deliver their best for the interest of the organization and the clientele. This self motivation should make them see leadership as calling for creativity, dynamism, concern and readiness to offer selfless services at all the times.
Chemers M. (1997) An integrative theory of leadership. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.