RLET TASK 3
Patrick R Selamy
According to a 2013 Wikipedia article entitled “French and Raven's five bases of power”, the five bases of power are “Coercive, Reward, Legitimate, Referent, and Expert.” (French and Raven's five bases of power, 2013) This article goes on to describe the many different ways one can go about attaining power. The behaviors exhibited by the employees in the given scenario are indicative of several bases of power. Power has been sought after since the dawn of time and is present in many everyday relationships. “Probably the most important aspect of power is that it is a function of dependence. The greater B’s dependence on A, the greater A’s power in the relationship. Dependence, in turn, is based on alternatives that B perceives and the importance B places on the alternative(s) A controls.” (Robbins & Judge, 2012) This paper will explore each of French and Raven’s five bases of power and the relationship between power and dependence. Finally, it will discuss how these concepts relate to the scenario provided. The first base of power that will be discussed is expert power. When placed in a situation where there are a limited number of experts available in a given field, people become extremely dependent upon said experts. “When individuals perceive or assume that a person possesses superior skills or abilities, they award power to that person.” (French and Raven's five bases of power, 2013) This power is highly dependent on the availability of other experts; the level of dependence on an expert will decrease as other experts with comparable skillsets become readily available. In the given scenario, Employee 2 is exercising expert power. This employee is able to convince the accounting manager to comply with his wish to work a compressed workweek, although no other employees are able to work a shortened workweek. Employee 2 is able to achieve this because the accounting manager realizes that “Employee 2 is the only employee who can prepare the company’s financial statements” (Western Governors University, 2008) and
“is the only certified public accountant (CPA) in the accounting department.” (Western Governors University, 2008) This reliance on Employee 2 clearly illustrates the relationship between power and dependence as his power is derived from the other employees’ inability to perform his duties due to task complexity and their lack of expertise. From the accounting manager’s point of view, Employee 2 is such a vital piece of the company that the implications of not meeting his demands are far too risky to allow him to become dissatisfied, enabling his expert power. Coercive power is “based upon the idea of coercion” and is exercised with the intent of getting a person to do something they do not desire to do. (French and Raven's five bases of power, 2013) The primary objective of those who utilize this power is to encourage compliance of their followers. Coercion has been used as an effective tool in convincing people to participate in “behavior that may be outside one's normal role expectations.” (French and Raven's five bases of power, 2013) Coercive leaders will often rely on threats of employment termination and demotion, among other things to convince their followers to carry out their wishes. “Demonstrations of harm are often used to illustrate what will happen if compliance is not gained. This source of power can often lead to problems and in many circumstances it involves abuse.” (French and Raven's five bases of power, 2013) Reward power is described as “having the ability to grant another person things which that person desires or to remove or decrease things the person does not desire.” (French and Raven's five bases of power, 2013) This power is based upon the concept that people are more likely to do what is requested of them if they can expect to be rewarded for doing so. Rewards are often issued in the form of “raises, promotions, and compliments.” (French and Raven's...
Cited: French and Raven 's five bases of power. In (2013). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_and_Raven 's_five_bases_of_power Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2012). Organizational behavior. (15 ed., p. 413). Prentice Hall. Retrieved from http://vitalsource.com Western Governors University. (2008). Objective 317.1.5-10, 11. In SUBDOMAIN 317.1 – ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR & LEADERSHIP
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