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Paper which applies 5 types of power used in the workplace.

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Paper which applies 5 types of power used in the workplace.

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  • December 13, 2003
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Power, the influence one possesses over another, exists in five forms: legitimate, referent, expert, coercive, and reward. The type of power used in an organization affects the employees and the productivity of the organization. It is beneficial to determine which type of power exists in the organization. If the incorrect type of power is used in the business, the company may suffer from high employee turnover rates, low productivity, or some other similar negative outcome. Consequently, an organization seeking to improve its overall performance considers the type of power used in the organization and seeks to determine if the power base or bases in use are appropriate. The use of an assessment designed to identify these preferred methods of power assists organizations in the profiling of the power in use among individuals.

Additionally, power is used within the home. Power can be a motivating tool or a destructive force. Some persons may find it helpful to determine their power profile to further enhance their personal relationships among their family members.

An assessment indicates which form of power an individual is more likely to use. For example, after a series of questions, a score is given to determine the likelihood of each type of power to be used by the individual. In such an assessment, reward power, the type of power that provides rewards, such as money or vacation time for the wanted behavior, received a score of 3.25 out of a possible 5. Coercive power, or use of force, yielded a score of 1.75 out of 5. Legitimate power, power that is based on one's position in an organization, received a score of 4.5 out of 5. Referent power, power that is given to someone due to their admirable traits and personality, also obtained a 4.5 score out of 5. Finally, expert power, power that is based upon one's knowledge and skill of a subject, received a 4 out of a possible 5 points.

Interestingly, the form of power that seems to be the most worthy of the...