Power and Leadership

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  • Topic: Authority, Leadership, Management
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  • Published : May 2, 2005
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Power and Leadership

The topic that I chose for my semester project is Power and Leadership. The main points within the main subject I am focusing on are Power in Organizations, Sources of Power, The Dark Side of Power, and Empowerment. I will define each, apply them to every day business situations and theoretically analyze the context. The topics that I have chosen will give good insight to what Power and leadership really are and how they are used in are everyday businesses organizations to give a general understanding of what it means to be powerful.

The first topic that I have chosen is Power in Organizations. Power is the ability of one person to influence another. They can use this power to become leaders and to manage businesses. Power also brings influence on the behavior and attitudes of other people. This can be applied to customers and/or suppliers. The demand for power is common among the business world. There is a difference in power and authority. Only people who hold formal positions have authority, whereas all people at any level of an organized company have the power to influence other people. Authority is power. It is power on another level. Power is obvious and understood, while authority is vested in a particular position. An example of such a position of authority would be the CEO of a company or a GM. The distinguishing aspect however lies between the position and the need to become more powerful.

Where there is power, there are also consequences that go along with it. It depends on how the power is used and to whom it is inflicted. The consequences range from a number of general effects. There are three specific examples of this. They are commitment, compliance, and resistance. Power is the stronghold for the three fold outcome that is brought on through consequences. The first consequence is commitment. It can be as simple as following through with the task at hand or lack thereof. It is best defined in this way, "when the followers welcome the influence process and accept it as reasonable and legitimate." (pg. 98) Commitment can be shown through an employee's ability to complete the task they are given by the person with more power than they possess. They will change their ideals to match that of the higher authority. If the CEO of a company says that his proposal is going to change, in the mind of the employee, they agree to change theirs as well. The employees, or people of lower authority, believe in the success of the company, they are fully committed the leader's ideas. The outcome of commitment is accepting without a doubt that whatever the leader says goes. The second consequence mentioned above is compliance. It is asking someone to do something or perform a job, but they are not committed to it. They go along with their leader simply because they have to; it is party of their job. They could be doing it out of fear that they may fail or become jobless if they do not follow through. What sort of leader wants their co-workers to appear weak and not as dedicated as they should be? That is why the business leaders of the world want the best they can get? No boss wants to ask twice or to complain about an employee who, to put it simply, just doesn't care enough. The third possible reaction or consequence of power is resistance. They do not actively agree with their leader or authority figure and passively resist it. This can affect their efficiency as a worker and can set a poor example for the rest of the employees around them. They can set a low standard of thinking that they do not have to do the job because there are other people who can do it instead. They may have the mind set that they are superior or too busy to deal with something that they do not fully agree with. This particular consequence is crucial to the reputation and status of the employee within the company. One important factor within power and leadership is the distribution power. In organizations today, they...
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