Five Bases of Power - Let1

Topics: Authority, Power, Political philosophy Pages: 2 (728 words) Published: September 9, 2012
The five bases of power are divided into two groups; formal power and personal power, and further subdivided into five specific categories under each group. Categories of formal power are coercive power, reward power, and legitimate power, and they come from the authority of one person over another. Categories of personal power are expert power and referent power, and they come from one’s characteristics rather than one’s authority. “Coercive power base depends on fear of the negative results from failing to comply.” (Judge and Robbins, 2012) It is the most conspicuous form of power from the people’s perspective. Fear of negative results can lead to dissatisfaction and resentment, and it is usually the least effective power. People will acquiesce to coercive power to avoid the stated negative results, but its excessive use can ultimately undermine the leader’s ability to lead. Reward power is said to be the opposite of coercive power, and is, “Compliance achieved based on the ability to distribute rewards that others view as valuable.” (Judge and Robbins, 2012) These rewards are based on compliance, and the benefits can be either financial or nonfinancial such as promotions, raises, bonuses, preferred work schedules, or time off. Legitimate power is, “the formal authority to control and use organizational resources based on structural position in the organization.” (Judge and Robbins, 2012) This power is greater than the power to reward or coerce, because it relies on the peoples acknowledgement of the authority of a leaders position. It can be unstable on a personal level, if the leader is seen as not having the authority in a certain area, the power is lost. “Expert power is influence wielded as a result of expertise, special skill, or knowledge.” (Judge and Robbins, 2012) This category shifts the balance of power from authority to personal. When you can exhibit expertise in a field, people are more apt to trust and respect what you have to say, and they will...

References: Judge, S. P. and Robbins, T. A. (07/2012). Organizational Behavior, 15/e VitalSource for Western Governors University [1] (VitalSource Bookshelf), Retrieved from
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