Scaling and Measurement
James M. Comer, University of Cincinnati, Editor
Comparing Alternative Measures of the French and Raven Power Bases John T. Drea, Gordon C. Bruner II and Paul J. Hensel Twenty-five multi-item scales used to measure power sources anchor exercised power in a sales or channel setting are reviewed. The procedures for assessing the reliability and validity (convergent, discriminant, and nomological) of each scale are discussed and reviewed. Findings indicate adequate reliability for all ofthe scales. Problems in the establishment of validity for some ofthe coercive and legitimate power measures are noted. Recommendations are made regarding the use and improvement of power scales in future research. The measurement of power is central to understanding the behavior of organizations and individuals. Power is commonly defined as "the ability of one individual or group to control or influence the behavior of another" (Hunt and Nevin 1974). Power has served as an important construct because of its hypothesized relationship to other variables such as satisfaction, role performance, and conflict. However, despite its importance, measures of power have received relatively little critical comparison and analysis. Additional research is needed into creating and testing valid and reliable multiitem scales for measuring power (Podsakoff and Schriesheim 1985). The purpose of this article is to examine alternative Likert-type summated ratings scales purported to measure the French and Raven (1959) bases of social power. The convergent, discriminant, and nomological validities of each ofthe power constructs will be examined using the criteria proposed by Peter (1979,1981), ChurchiU (1979; and Peter 1984), Gerbing and Anderson (1988), and Bagozzi and Yi (1991). Conclusions are drawn regarding the reliability and validity of each scale, and recommendations are made regarding the most sound measures as well as future scale development.
A review was conducted of more than 600 articles published in Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and Industrial Marketing Management for a ten year period from 1980 to 1989. These journals were selected for thorough review because they were the most well known sources of scholarly research investigating the power construct during the decade of the 1980s. Additionally, selected influential articles on the power construct which appeared in other sources (Journal of Applied Psychology and the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management) were also collected. As a result of this search process, seven articles which used multi-item power source scales based on French and Raven (1959) were identified. Some ofthe studies measured the perception of power sources using the five original sources of power (John 1984; Comer 1984; Michie and Sibley 1985; Kohli 1989; Hinkin and Schriesheim 1989), while others measured the exercise of power (Gaski and Nevin 1985; Gaski 1986). Each of the power scales reviewed used a multiitem scale to measure one of the five sources of power delineated by French and Raven (1959). Measures excluded from the present analysis included Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, Volume Xin, Number 4 (Fall 1993),
John T. Drea (DBA candidate. Southern Illinois University) is the Assistant Dean of Instruction at John Wood Community CoUege in Quincy, Illinois. Gordon C. Bruner II (Ph.D., University of North Texas) is Associate Professor of Marketing at Southern Illinois University and Director of the Office of Scale Research. Paul J. Hensel (Ph.D., University of Houston) is Professor of Marketing at the University of New Orleans.
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all single item measures (see Podsakoff and Schriesheim 1985 for a review of these), and measures which separated anchor combined the sources of power differently than in the original five bases of...
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The development of valid measures of power sources is a challenging but important undertaking since the accurate testing of hypotheses is contingent upon the strength of the measures used. The decade of the 1980s produced numerous multi-item measures that possessed satisfactory internal consistency. However, much less was achieved in the establishment of convergent, discriminant, and nomological validities for these scales. More effort needs to be focused in future research on measurement of the legitimate power construct. Scales attempting to capture this base of power have generally had lower reliability and weaker evidence of nomological validity compared to measures of the other power bases. There is even evidence that legitimate power as previously conceptualized has a bi-dimensional rather than a unidimensional structure (Comer 1984; Kohli 1989). The most complete testing of construct validity to the present has been performed by Comer (1984), who provided considerable data concerning the reliability and dimensionality of each scale. Internal consistencies were generally high and the procedures used for establishing construct validity were both comprehensive and rigorous. The evidence indicated that the reward, expert, and referent power scales were both reliable and valid. However, the legitimate and coercive power measures did not correlate with the other measures as expected and, as noted above, the measure of legitimate power was found to be bi-dimensional. Taking all of the evidence presented here into account, the scales reported by Gaski (1986; Gaski
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