Essay on Basis of Power

1733 Words Feb 11th, 2012 7 Pages
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…
An employee may recognize a leader because of their position but reject the leader beyond the authority of their position. Numerous examples of legitimate power exist in theoretical Corporation A. In the give scenario, both the marketing and accounting managers have legitimate power inherited from their leadership positions in the corporation. Furthermore, employee 3 gains legitimate power from his or her appointment as the project team lead. In these examples, dependency is fairly straightforward. The two managers and employee 3 possess legitimate power and the dependency lies with the subordinate groups under these leaders. These leaders possess their power by position only and the subordinate groups may or may not extend their dependency on these individuals beyond the legitimate power relationship. However, these leaders are also dependent upon their respective subordinates to adequately do their jobs, so the leader can maintain their position of legitimate power. The fourth type of power suggested by French and Raven is expert power. Expert power is extended to individuals who boast a unique skill set, are experts in their field, or possesses a high level of knowledge in their discipline. Expert power can be gained formally through education, degree, certification, or licensure, informally by knowledge gained through tenure in a particular discipline, or a combination of both formal and informal means. The Corporation A scenario depicts two people who

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