Roger L. Ritchie
MPA-665 Public Administration leadership
Professor Chris Jensen
September 2, 2012
To best understand leadership and power, it is helpful to understand the difference between the two terms, as they are not necessarily interchangeable—at least not from a trait-process point of view. For example, Peter Northouse (2010) listed such personal traits as height, intelligence, extraversion, and fluency as being characteristic of natural-born leaders (Leadership Theory and Practice/Fifth Edition). However, inherited power, such as that which is passed from one generational leader to the next, is largely non-contingent on a leader’s personal attributes; instead, focusing clearly on the retention of power itself. A prime, modern-day example would be Kim Jong-un assuming his father’s position in North Korea’s alleged democracy (generally providing a single candidate on voter ballots) in which citizens may vote against a candidate, but yet have but a single choice—which must be done publicly, and would result in the voter being identified and labeled as a traitor. Therefore, in some cases, power supersedes leadership. In other words, while all good leaders may have power, all who have power may not be good leaders. Northouse (2010) takes a closer look at this concept, comparing assigned versus emergent leadership. Tipping the scales toward the more widely researched topic of power, Northouse refers to French and Raven’s 1959 work which explored the basis of social power. Emergent from their efforts was the concept of five unique bases of power: referent, expert, legitimate, reward, and coercive (Leadership, Theory and Practice). However, some have challenged popular concepts, stating that power itself is but an illusion. At any rate, there can be no leadership without a follower counterpart. According to Northouse (2010), “The concept of
References: Northouse, Peter G. (2010), Leadership, theory and practice, fifth edition. SAGE Publications. Thousand Oaks, California, U.S.A. Pierce, Tamyra & Doughetry, Debbie S. (2002), The construction, enactment, and maintenance of power as domination through acquisition. Management Communication Quarterly McQ 16.2 (Nov, 2002) 129-164.