Essay on Movie: the Firm

1500 Words6 Pages
Movie: The Firm

Sydney Pollack's film The Firm is a drama based on an desire to escape from the law firm (Berndini, Lambert, and Lock) from which he was hired. The relatively small but wealthy firm wines and dines the ambitious Harvard Law
Graduate's (played by Tom Cruise) with money and gifts in order to make him part of their team. Overwhelmed by the gracious treatment and substantial offer
Mitch McDeere takes the offer to be part of the Firm. The firm gets them caught up in a affluent lifestyle that they never thought they could live. Once involved n the day to day workings of the firm McDeere began to get subtle hints of a corruption with a Mafia mob client. McDeere gets a hold of some information that he shouldn't have had
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In order to better understand the concept of power and where it comes from two published researchers named J.R.P.
French Jr. and B. Raven came up with a five-category classification. The five categories are as follows; coercive power, reward power, legitimate power, expert power, and referent power. The firm practiced all five of these categories to gain control over their employees actions. The top partners of the firm possessed a great coercive power over their subordinates. Coercive power is defined as a power based on fear. The lead character Mitch McDeere was in fear of his life and his family's life if he failed to comply to the firms demands. The foundation of coercive behavior "...rests on the application, or the threat of application, of physical sanctions such as the infliction of pain, the generation of frustration through restriction of movement, or the controlling by force of basic physiological or safety needs." Throughout the film there were many implications a negative outcome to certain actions that the head partners felt were contrary to the success of the firm. Another classification of power, reward power, is based on compliance achieved based on the ability to distribute rewards that others view as valuable.
As stated in the chapter coercive and reward behavior are counterparts of each other. In the movie they were used together. The book describes coercive power

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