Power in the Workplace

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The Distribution and Use of Power in an Organization
Case Study: Bullying in the Workplace
Rodger T. Bramwell
Submitted in Partial fulfillment of
the requirements for
Foundations of Adult Education
Bachelor of Education/Certificate in Adult Education Program

Centre for Adult Education and Community Outreach
Faculty of Education, Brock University
St. Catharines, Ontario
Patsy Marshall B.A.Sc, M.Sc
ThursdayFebruary 7, 2012

In an organization, the use of power comes in many shapes and forms. Hierarchical power is known to be the typical distribution of power in most organizations. For example, a business usually consists of a President, followed by a general manager, department manager and finally, the employees. Decisions occur in a hierarchical linear process, from the bosses down to the employees. Other forms of power in organizations can be more subjective. Power may not always take the typical hierarchical or down-the-ladder approach. That being said, the use of power can greatly affect desired outcomes. In a study of Midwifery students, Kantek and Gezer argue that “the use of power strategies in teacher–student relationships affects students’ learning, school experiences, motivation, accomplishment, satisfaction, future career expectations, mood, and method of handling conflict” (2010). The inappropriate use of power in an organization can result in immediate and irreparable effects. These effects can foster less than favorable work environments leading to unreceptive and unmotivated workers. Conversely, power can take a more inspirational or contagious approach. This type of power is known as referent power. Peers and coworkers alike are influenced by individuals that possess this type of power. In this paper, a case study will be presented that identifies an organizational problem highlighting the effects of power. This will set in motion the opportunity for future research and finally, a group action plan...