April 24, 2011
Influencing Group Communication
In any organization, a person can see the five bases of power at work, some powers more than others depending on the individual in charge and the circumstances. The power used by such individuals can affect communication within the organization, whether positive or negative. There are five bases of power, being coercive, reward, legitimate, expert and personal.
Coercive power, reward power and legitimate power are all formal powers. A person’s position in a company can give him influence over others below him, thereby affording him formal power. Coercive power is dependent on fear. A person reacts to this power out of fear of the negative results that might occur if he/she failed to comply. If a person has the ability to dismiss, suspend, or demote another person, this gives them coercive power over them. This power also comes from withholding key information which makes others dependent on them if they need this information at any time (Lesikar, Flatley & Rentz, 2008).
Reward power is based on positive benefits given to workers if they comply with another’s directives. Although formal, it is the opposite of coercive power. Rewards distributed because of a job well done can either be financial or nonfinancial. Financial rewards come in the form of raises or bonuses and nonfinancial rewards can come in the form of recognition, promotions and preferred work shifts or assignments.
Legitimate power represents the formal authority to control and use of organizational resources. This power includes acceptance by members in an organization of the authority of a position. When these ones speak on a matter, others who also work alongside or under them usually comply.
Personal power comes from an individual’s unique characteristics. You don’t have to have a formal position in an organization to have this power. Two bases of personal power are
References: Lesikar, R., Flatley, M., & Rentz K. (2008). Business Communications (11th ed.) Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. Retrieved from www.phoenix.edu