Bases of Power

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In a notable study of power conducted by social psychologists John French and Bertam Raven in 1959 power is divided into five separate and distinct forms. As we know leadership and power are closely linked. This idea shows how the different forms of power affect one's leadership and success. This idea is used often in organizational communication and throughout the workforce. "The French-Raven power forms are introduced with consideration of the level of observability and the extent to which power is dependent or independent of structural conditions. Dependency refers to the degree of internalization that occurs among persons subject to social control. Using these considerations it is possible to link personal processes to structural conditions". (Donald Warren 1968) (Lazarfeld and Menzel 1961) French & Raven introduce five bases of power Coercive, Reward, Legitimate, Referent, and Expert. 1 Coercive Power

2 Reward Power
3 Legitimate Power
4 Referent Power
5 Expert Power

Coercive Power
This type of power is based upon the idea of coercion. The main idea behind this concept is that someone is forced to do something that he/she does not desire to do. The main goal of coercion is compliance. According to Changingminds.org "demonstrations of harm are often used to illustrate what will happen if compliance is not gained". The power of coercion has been proven to be related with punitive behavior that may be outside one's normal role expectations. (Hinkin & Schriesheim 1989) However coercion has also been associated positively with generally punitive behavior and negatively associated to contingent reward behavior.(Gioia & Sims 1983) This source of power can often lead to problems and in many circumstances it involves abuse. Mindtools.com states that "coercive power can cause unhealthy behavior and dissatisfaction in the workplace". These type of leaders rely on the use of threats in their leadership style. Often the threats involve saying someone...
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