Basis of Power Essay

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Bases of Power Essay When speaking on power, the Greek philosopher Aristotle once suggested "What lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do". Although not always apparent, everyone possesses power in one form or the other. Power can be defined as the influence that one person has over another person. The influence an individual possesses can be extended to others through a variety of dissimilar stratagems. In 1959, social psychologists John French and Bertam Raven completed a comprehensive study on the bases of power and concluded that power can be separated into five distinct forms. The five forms of power French and Raven defined are coercive, reward, legitimate, expert, and referent. This thesis will describe the…show more content…
In addition, the accounting manager utilizes reward power to negotiate employee 2's compressed work week. Reward power is also present within the sales department group as they collectively reward employee 3 with a team leader position. In all three of the reward power examples, dependencies exist to solidify the power. The marketing manager only possesses reward power provided the employee sees the bonus as a reward. If the employee values their time at home more than the income the bonus provides, then the reward power of the manager diminishes. Likewise, if the accounting manager did not have the legitimate power to offer employee 2 a compressed work week, the manager would not hold reward power. In the final example, Employee 3 was dependent on the sales group for the reward. Had the group dismissed the sales pitch, reward power would not even be a consideration. The third form of power that is present in the given scenario is legitimate power. Legitimate power can be described as the power that one person has over another because they hold an authoritative position over that person. Most organizations have a hierarchical structure of leadership and organizational leaders possess legitimate power equivalent to their position within the hierarchy. Legitimate power is intrinsic to positions of stature and is considered power by default. However, a
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