The Concept of Power

The concept of power refers to the capacity that a person has to influence the behaviour of another person. The influencing person influences another person to make them act in accordance with the influencing persons’ wishes. Moreover, in other words, power exists as a potential or fully actualizing influence over a dependent relationship. Many may be unaware of casual trivia that organizational power is also known as power politics.

the concept of power

Bases of Power

The concept of power derives its ultimate meaning from the 2 strong bases of power. In other words, the following 2 bases are the core foundation for organizational power. They are as follows:

  • Informal Power refers to the power that comes from an individual’s unique characteristics. These are the most effective because personal skills, traits and knowledge influence personal power.
  • Formal Power refers to the power that establishes because of the individual’s position in an organization.

Power is not the only managerial control. To know more about the professional controlling techniques, Click here.

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Sources of Formal Individual Power

  1. Legitimate Power – The power to monitor and use the organization’s resources in order to accomplish organizational goals. For example Firing, demotion, & subordinate’s authority. Another example is that of a CEO who uses a Private Jet to travel.
  2. Reward Power – The power that allows you to give pay raises, promotion, praise, interesting projects, and other rewards to your subordinates. Moreover, there is a limit to the number of rewards, however, it can be a great tool to motivate subordinates.
  3. Coercive Power – The power to punish or to withhold a punishment. Punishments have negative side effects and should be used with caution. Furthermore, punishments can be:
    • Suspension to demotion
    • Termination
    • Unpleasant job assignments
    • Withholding of praise and goodwill

Sources of Informal Individual Power

  1. Expert Power – An informal concept of power that stems from superior ability or expertise. In this, the group members will tend to consult this person (the expert) for advice or help on a project. However, it is this dependency is what gives the individual power over their peers.
  2. Referent Power – Fame is a critical aspect of referent power. However, this fame could be in the field of film, sports, music stars, etc. Moreover, agreeable, conscientious, and giving people are also awarded referent power. People with referent power possess high expertise. Their ability to obtain resources, and also to secure their surroundings is what provides them referent powers.
  3. Charismatic Power – Intense form of referent power that comes from someone’s personality. It also comes from physical attributes or abilities that induce others to follow and believe in that person.

The Concept of Power Tactics

There are 9 organizational power tactics. These tactics are ways in which individuals translate power bases into specific actions. The 9 influence tactics are legitimacy, rational persuasion, inspirational appeals, consultation, exchange, personal appeals, ingratiation, pressure and coalitions.

  • Rational persuasion. A tactic that is used to try and convince someone with a valid reason, rational logic, or realistic facts.
  • Inspirational appeals. A tactic that builds enthusiasm by appealing to emotions, ideas and/or values.
  • Consultation. A tactic that focuses on getting others to participate in the planning process, making decisions, and encourage changes.
  • Ingratiation. A tactic that emphasizes on getting someone in a good mood prior to making a request. It includes being friendly, helpful, and using praise or flattery.
  • Personal appeals. A tactic that refers to friendship and loyalty while making a request.
  • Exchange. A tactic that suggests that making express or implied promises and trading favours.
  • Coalition tactics. Refers to a tactic that prescribes getting others to support your effort to persuade someone.
  • Pressure. A tactic that focuses on demanding compliance or using intimidation or threats.
  • Legitimating tactics. This tactic suggests that basing a request on one’s authority or right, organizational rules or policies, or express or implied support from superiors, is a best.

 Question on Concept of Power

Q. How is rational persuasion different than ‘persuasion’ in general?

Answer: Persuasion is an attempt to influence another individual to perform an activity that the influencer wishes. This persuasion can occur with the help of shallow thoughts and non-specific pleas. It does not use rationality or practical ideas. However, rational persuasion is a tactic that is used to try and convince someone with a valid reason, rational logic, or realistic facts.

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