What is power?
We can examine “power” from the following definitions:
“Ability to act, regarded as latent or inherent; the faculty of doing or performing something; capacity for action or performance; capability of producing an effect, whether physical or moral: potency; might; as, a man of great power; the power of capillary attraction; money gives power.” “Ability, regarded as put forth or exerted; strength, force, or energy in action; as, the power of steam in moving an engine; the power of truth, or of argument, in producing conviction; the power of enthusiasm.” Power is frequently defined as the ability to influence the behavior of others with or without resistance. The term authority is often used for power perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as endemic to humans as social beings. In the corporate environment, power is often expressed as upward or downward. With downward power, a company's superior influences subordinate. When a company exerts upward power, it is the subordinates who influence the decisions of the leader (Greiner & Schein, 1988). Analyzing these definitions shows some common elements: effectance-getting one's way: the necessity interaction between two parties; the act or ability of influencing others; and outcomes favoring one party over the other. We therefore define interpersonal power as the ability to get one's way in a social situation. * the ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way: the power of speech * the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events: a political process that offers people power over their own lives The specific criteria of power are given below:
* 1. The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively. * 2. A specific capacity, faculty, or aptitude. Often used in the plural: her powers of concentration. * 3. Strength or force exerted or capable of being exerted; might. See Synonyms at strength. * 4. The ability or official capacity to exercise control; authority. * 5. A person, group, or nation having great influence or control over others
The Sources of Social Power:
French and Raven developed what is regarded as a classic scheme for categorizing the various bases of power. Their work was first presented in an article in Studies of Social Power in 1959, titled "The Bases of Social Power". They identified five distinct bases of power: legitimate, reward, coercive, expert and referent. These five power bases were expanded on by Hershey and Blanchard in their text, "Management of Organizational Behavior" (1982) in which they added two more bases of power that are relevant to this discussion. The two additional power bases are: connection and information. The seven power bases can easily be separated into two broad categories of power: positional and personal. Coercive power
This is the power to force someone to do something against their will. It is often physical although other threats may be used. It is the power of dictators, despots and bullies. Coercion can result in physical harm, although its principal goal is compliance. Demonstrations of harm are often used to illustrate what will happen if compliance is not gained. Coercion is also the ultimate power of all governments. Although it is often seen as negative, it is also used to keep the peace. Parents coerce young children who know no better. A person holds back their friend who is about to step out in front of a car. Other forms of power can also be used in coercive ways, such as when a reward or expertise is withheld or referent power is used to threaten social exclusion. Reward power
One of the main reasons we work is for the money we need to conduct our lives. There are many more forms of reward -- in fact anything we find desirable can be a reward, from a million dollar yacht to a pat on the back. Reward power is thus...
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