Power and Influence at Workplace

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1. What is power?

Power is the ability to get someone else to do something you want done or the ability to make thing happen or get things done in the way that you want (Wood et al. 2006, p. 345).

Power is a capacity that you have to influence the behavior of other so that other acts in accordance with your wishes (Robbins 2003).

2. What are the sources/bases/types of power?

Power can be classified into two classes- position & personal. They are:

Position/Formal Power:

Coercive Power: A power, based on fear. It often works through fear and it forces people to do something that ordinarily they would not choose to do. The most extreme example of coercion is government dictators who threaten physical harm for noncompliance.

Reward Power: Reward powerreward powerThe ability to grant a reward, such as an increase in pay, a perk, or an attractive job assignment. is the ability to grant a reward, such as an increase in pay, a perk, or an attractive job assignment. Reward power tends to accompany legitimate power and is highest when the reward is scarce. When Steve Jobs ran Apple, he had reward power in the form of raises and promotions.

Legitimate Power: Legitimate powerlegitimate powerPower that comes from one’s organizational role or position. is power that comes from one’s organizational role or position. For example, a boss can assign projects, a policeman can arrest a citizen, and a teacher assigns grades.

Information Power: Power that comes from access to & control over information. Itinformation powerPower that comes from access to specific information. is similar to expert power but differs in its source. Experts tend to have a vast amount of knowledge or skill, whereas information power is distinguished by access to specific information. For example, knowing price information gives a person information power during negotiations.

Personal Power:

Expert Power: Influence based on special skills or knowledge. Expert powerexpert powerPower that comes from knowledge and skill. comes from knowledge and skill. Steve Jobs has expert power from his ability to know what customers want—even before they can articulate it.

Referent Power: Influence based on possession by an individual of desirable resources or personal traits. Referent powerreferent powerPower that stems from the personal characteristics of the person such as the degree to which we like, respect, and want to be like them. stems from the personal characteristics of the person such as the degree to which we like, respect, and want to be like them. Referent power is often called charismatic power.charismaThe ability to attract others, win their admiration, and hold them spellbound.

3. What creates dependency?

Dependency is the reliance on someone or something else for aid, support, etc. DependencydependencyDirectly related to power. The more that a person or unit is dependent on you, the more power you have. is directly related to power. The more that a person or unit is dependent on you, the more power you have. The strategic contingencies model provides a good description of how dependency works. The following three conditions are the sole factors of dependency:

Scarcity: In the context of dependency, scarcityscarcityIn the context of dependency, refers to the uniqueness of a resource. refers to the uniqueness of a resource. The more difficult something is to obtain, the more valuable it tends to be. Effective persuaders exploit this reality by making an opportunity or offer seem more attractive because it is limited or exclusive. They might convince you to take on a project.

Importance: ImportanceimportanceThe value of the resource. refers to the value of the resource. The key question here is “How important is this?” If the resources or skills you control are vital to the organization, you will gain some power. The more vital the resources that you control are, the more power you will have.

Non-substitutability:...
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