POWER – RESPONSES to Power Bases

PREVIOUS: Power Bases

SITEs : Right Way to Respond to Negative Feedback 

5 Secrets to Giving Constructive Feedback


REVIEW : 2 main FORMS of Power
1. COERCION (‘Hard’) : threaten to use force, actual use it &/or use negative sanctions.  Pain or punishment is inflicted by person A, who possesses power —> toward B, who has less power

2. INFLUENCE (‘Soft’):  No threat or use of force. Most common & Most effective, esp. important when coercion is not possible.
EXP: political speeches, journalism, media & advertising, inter-personal relations, classrooms….. 

a. by Persuasion: Person A is sincere, using the “force of the better argument”, by explanations, examples, illustrations, justifications.

b. by Manipulation : Person A conceals their true intentions : lying, real reasons not given, lack of informed-consent by actor B.

Aspects of power
Relational : 
 based on the social relationship
Sanctioning : an active component of the power relationship, as direct manipulations of the other’s outcomes, using rewards or punishments.
Dependency : power residing implicitly in the other’s needs, particularly evident in organizations with inter-dependence of personnel & ⬅️ subunits (horizontal power / relationships across departments).

DEPENDENCE is an important aspect of supporting power. Possession of or influence over an organization’s resources which someone needs, gives the resource-holder power. The greater B’s dependence on A, the more power A has. Power increases when the resource are :
🥊 Important = must be valuable & worthwhile, because If nobody wants what you have, there’s no dependence
🥊 Scarce = difficult or impossible to achieve, or to find elsewhere. EXP: If there are few workers relative to demand, they can negotiate compensation & benefit packages
🥊 Not substitutable = one-of-a-kind, so can not be replaced. The fewer viable substitutes for a resource available to the user / consumer, the more options they have to evade dependence.

However, individuals / groups / organizations can minimize dependency by co-opting, contracting, using co-operative strategies & seeking prestige. (Do Tien Long)

❇️ REVUE posts on Power Bases – to see the different managerial styles that employees react to. 

A POWER BASE is effective to the extent that it produces both attitude & behavior compliance. ‘Attitudinal’ refers to how well the subordinate is willing to follow the bosses directives or wishes. ‘Behavioral’ is the accuracy & extent to which the subordinate actually carries out those instructions.

CONSEQUENCES of Positional & Personal Power (UK research, 1999)
Coercive P lead to employee resistance, decreased job satisfaction & increased mistrust of leadership
Legitimate P is the common style to evoke compliance with boss’ requests, but not correlated to task commitment
Expert & Referent P – used as influence by effective leaders : positively correlated with subordinate satisfaction & performance

• Rewards – when announced, lead to higher employee satisfaction & performance – if the reward is what they want
• Punishment – some – when combined with rewards, can have a positive effect on subordinates performance

★ COMPLIANCE = Subordinate is willing to do what the leader asks, but may be apathetic rather than enthusiastic, with only minimal effort
★ COMMITMENT = Subordinate agrees with decisions or requests, & makes a great effort to cary them out effectively

Generally, people obey either thru coercion, consent, or some combination. However, at present – obedience has become a form of social conformity, in response to authority. But it is not inevitable & varies in degree depending on the situation.
WHY OBEY ? : 🪞Fear of sanctions (punishment)
🪞Indifference, Habit, level of Tolerance
🪞Lack of confidence in themselves, their judgement or capacity to DO
🪞Psychological or emotional identification with the leader
🪞Moral Obligation  = if command is considered legitimate &/or as an accepted norm of conduct, common good of society, superhuman efforts
🪞Self-interest = direct / indirect financial gain, in relative power position, for personal prestige   (From ‘Dynamics of Power‘)

★ RESISTANCE = Employee is opposed to the leader’s request & tries to avoid it.
A high proportion of change-initiatives flounder because of employee resistance. To succeed, leadership must pay attention to all forms of employee reactions during organizational changes.

Group Leadership does not consist of one-formula-fits-all. Every team’s needs & desires are different, so specific leadership strategies are needed to achieve differing goals.  (See Leadership styles & Managerial TYPES)

A team member’s motivation may be both extrinsic &/or intrinsic.
• Intrinsic = the energy that comes from within the person – wanting to help achieve the work goal, because it aligns with the person’s own beliefs.
EXP: If team members finds the assigned task specially interesting, it will motivate them to implement it efficiently.

• Extrinsic = from external sources, & the manager is a key component who can use several ways to accomplish this.  EXP: Rewarding &/or punishing team members, to push them to do a certain project.

Intrinsic motivation is considered the best motivator, but managers can also help team members achieve this. (More…. )


NEXT: Employee resistance to change

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