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Sources of Power

By diva81 Jul 08, 2013 1053 Words
Sources of Power
Power is very important in any organization whether it’s in the public or private sector. A person’s title or position determines the level of power they have to change policies and/or organizational structures. The ability to convince others, to lead others to your own conclusion, to use logic and facts to make people believe you are right. Power is a possessive word that possesses authority above others. The author of 5 Sources of Power in an Organization by Paul Merchant states…five sources of power, namely: coercive, referent, legitimate, expert and reward power. Legitimate Power

Legitimate power is also considered positional power because a person’s position determines the amount of power they have. Every job position in an organization requires that there are employees of many levels, and that a lower level employee reports to a higher level manager. A great leader should be prepared to deal with their employees in various aspects as all employees are not the same. A greater leader earns the respect of its employees or team member by proving their worth and their ability to lead and manage well. Merchant states, Legitimate power is also known as positional power. It's derived from the position a person holds in an organization's hierarchy. An example of legitimate power is that held by a company's CEO. Expert power

An expert in a subject matter is knowledgeable and can be a resource to those that are looking for pertinent information to complete a task. This source of power ties into the meaning of legitimate power. Those whom have earned the power are most certainly experts. As expressed by Merchant; Possession of expert power is normally a stepping stone to other sources of power such as legitimate power. For example, a person who holds expert power can be promoted to senior management, thereby giving him legitimate power. Referent Power

Merchant speaks of referent power and refers to this type of power as, in other words, power achieved “by association”. Referent power is derived from the interpersonal relationships that a person cultivates with other people in the organization. People possess reference power when others respect and like them. Referent power arises from charisma, as the charismatic person influences others via the admiration, respect and trust others have for her. Referent power is also derived from personal connections that a person has with key people in the organization's hierarchy, such as the CEO. It's the perception of the personal relationships that she has that generates her power over others. Coercive Power

Coercive power is a source of modern day bullying in the workplace. Some managers enjoy this type of power because they are not concerned about having a harmonious work environment, but rather a hostile one. Coercion is used to control. An example used by Merchant is a person's ability to influence others via threats, punishments or sanctions. A junior staff member may work late to meet a deadline to avoid disciplinary action from his boss. Reward Power

Everyone loves to be acknowledged and rewarded for great work, and many people would love to be rewarded monetarily. This source of power can be a blessing and curse depending on how it’s used. If it is used fairly then it can be a great incentive but if not then it will create a hostile or chaotic environment within an organization. Reward power arises from the ability of a person to influence the allocation of incentives in an organization. These incentives include salary increments, positive appraisals and promotions. In an organization, people who wield reward power tend to influence the actions of other employees. Constituent Group: NAACP

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Color People) is a constituent group that fights for civil rights. This organization has been in existence for over one hundred years. This nonprofit organization generates funds primarily through membership dues as well as corporate and individual donations. The NAACP has a lot of power mainly legitimate power. There are committee members from all work backgrounds. The NAACP uses its power to fight for the right of the protected class (African American). A local issue in Houston, TX is they are fighting to keep a predominantly black school district open that is a low performing school district. Another issue that is more recent is the potential closure of a middle school in the Houston area in the largest school district in Houston that happens to be in the predominantly black area. Public Influence

The NAACP has had tremendous influence on the public decisions. Over a year ago the Region 4 TEA (Teacher Education Agency) of Texas recommended that the previously mentioned school district North Forest Independent School district closes permanently because of its low performance throughout the years. The NAACP along with various other community leaders was able to convince school leaders to keep the school district open to allow the chance for improvement. Now this district faces closure again, but the community leaders along with the NAACP say that they will fight tooth and nail to keep this low performing district open.

Power is an important thing for leaders to have. Some use it well to their advantage and some abuse it. Many politicians and public figures use their power to launder money and for their benefit; which is totally inappropriate. The type of power one uses determines on the outcome of their followers. Leaders and managers must know how to lead and manage to be successful. Those characteristics are important to have in order for one to be successful. Power is very important in any organization whether it’s in the public or private sector. A person’s title or position determines the level of power they have to change policies and/or organizational structures. The ability to convince others, to lead others to your own conclusion, to use logic and facts to make people believe you are right. Power is a possessive word that possesses authority above others. The author of 5 Sources of Power in an Organization by Paul Merchant states…five sources of power, namely: coercive, referent, legitimate, expert and reward power.

References
Rushaw, Carol. Leading Public Organizations: An Interactive Approach. 2001. Harcourt / Thomson Learning. Merchant, Paul. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved on March 6, 2013 from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/5-sources-power-organizations-14467.html

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