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Organizational Power


Power is an intangible force in organisations. It can non be seen, but its consequence can be felt. Power besides is an of import portion of all organized behaviour. It characterizes all human interaction. Organizational power permeates all facets of interpersonal communications and is an indispensable feature of all organisational actions. For organisations, the difference between proper and improper usage of power is the difference between success and failure, high and low productiveness, motive and disenchantment. This paper includes a reappraisal and analysis of the classical constructs of organisational power in direction literature, a description of power manner, and research findings on the usage of power in every field of organisation. Then, the paper will present several beginnings of organisational power and will mention how power influences every facets of organisation.

Keyword: Organizational power, Source of power, adept power, wages power, referent power, legitimate power, crisis, power sharing, maintain power, pull offing struggle.


Power is an intangible force in organisations. It can non be seen, but its consequence can be felt. Fairholm, G. W ( 2011 ) concludes that “power besides is an of import portion of all organized behaviour ; It characterizes all human interaction” ( p. 14 ) . Organizational power permeates all facets of interpersonal communications and is an indispensable feature of all organisational actions. For organisations, the difference between proper and improper usage of power is the difference between success and failure, high and low productiveness, motive and disenchantment. ( Fairholm, G. W, 2011, p. 14 ) . Singh, A ( 2011 ) besides concludes the power in organisation as, “dedication to the power is non adequate to do an organisation successful ; the absence of a proper dedication consequences in hapless organisational wellness and low productivity” ( p. 166 ) .

Definition.It is of import to understanding what organisational power is. Draft ( 2012 ) defines organisational power as, “the ability of one individual or section in an organisation to act upon other people to convey approximately desired outcome” ( p. 531 ) . Organizational power is a consequence of structural features, because organisations are big and complex system that may incorporate 1000s of employees and 100s of sections. These sections and system have their ain hierarchy construction. For these sections, some places have entree to more information and greater resources, or their public presentation and part to the organisation are more critical. So, organisational power reflect big organisational relationships, both horizontal and perpendicular ( Draft, 2012, p. 532 ) .

Power and direction.Singh, A ( 2011 ) states that, “power is needed even to run the most fiddling maps of an organisation or project” ( p. 166 ) . Power is a requirement for success, inspective of people’s inner demands for power. The magnitude and way of the exercising of power is a map of the purposes and accomplishments of the wielder. Organizational power is accordingly seen as a direction resource, much like information and proficient expertness, which are direction resources in their ain right. The wise usage and design of organisational power is therefore important. ( Singh, A, 2011, p. 166 )

Power Basis.Elias, S ( 2011 ) states five major types of power in organisation, they are “reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, adept power, and referent power” ( p. 269 ) . First, Legitimate power is the formal power and authorization lawfully granted to the director under charter by the organization’s equals. This power is clearly assigned by written or verbal contract, and it outlines the manager’s duties. Legitimate power was ab initio said to be at usage when a power holder had a echt right to inquire a mark to follow with a petition. Second, conceived of wages and coercive power involve the ability of a supervisor to pull strings objects and events of relevancy to employees. Reward power is the ability of the director to confabulate or keep back wagess such as money, privileges, publicity, or position. Directors may utilize coercive power as a tool to advert their subsidiaries that he or she may be deprived of something if he or she does non follow. Third, both expert and referent power were thought of in footings of being positive bases of power. With positive expert power, a subsidiary complies with the petition of a supervisor because the supervisor knows best. With positive referent power, a subsidiary complies with the petition of a supervisor because the subsidiary identifies with the supervisor. ( Elias, S, 2011, p. 275 )

Crisis and jobs with power.Power can convey positive consequence to the development and operation of organisation if it has been good used, but the power besides could convey negative effects to organisation itself, if directors abuse of the power. Knuth, R ( 2012 ) brought a new definition, inexpensive leader, to person who lack of leading and maltreatment of power, “cheap leader is flexible temperament, changing as luck and fortunes dictate ; inexpensive leaders exist at every degree of the organization” ( p. 44 ) . Whereas effectual leading advances the common good, inexpensive leading is motivated by self-benefit and lecherousness to the power. In add-on to fabricating third-party menaces, favourites and trust on wages power and coercive power place the inexpensive leader. Cheap leaders adhere to depute to others the passage of unpopular steps and maintain in custodies the distribution of favours. This decision was based on the contention that personal blessing from another person can be a really strong wages, while the menace of rejection can be a really strong signifier of coercion. ( Knuth, R, 2012, p. 45 )

For expert and referent power, although positive power has benefit to the organisation, but the negative of such power can non be ignored. There are state of affairss in which expert and referent power can take negative signifiers. For illustration, while a supervisor may possess superior cognition about a certain aspect of his or her occupation, possessing such cognition does non needfully intend that it will be put to utilize in a manner that will profit his or her subsidiaries. On the contrary, that supervisor ‘s cognition may be used in such a manner ( i.e. negative adept power ) that purely benefits him or herself, ensuing in opposition to the influence effort. Negative referent power is said to happen when a supervisor who is disliked or non identified with by his or her subsidiaries attempts to use societal power. In such state of affairss, reactance or making the antonym of what the supervisor petitions is likely to happen given his or her subsidiaries view him or her as being unattractive or unsympathetic. ( Knuth, R, 2012, p. 46 )

These directors besides cause many amendss to the organisation. At any degree of the organisation, inexpensive leading has alienation and disfunction as its most common by-products. Cheap leaders deliberately sow the seeds of divisiveness when they create an us-versus-them environment. The outstanding fruit of these seeds is misgiving, which frequently spreads uncontrollably and erratically throughout the organisation, furthering bitterness, rumour, and chitchat. The constricted communicating that ensues reduces chances for employees to take part and show enterprise, doing persons to experience alienated from the work and the work topographic point. Often, even within basically healthy organisations, there is merely a hair ‘s comprehensiveness between functionality and dysfunctionality ; often, inexpensive leading provides the extra weight that tips the organisation into dysfunctionality. ( Knuth, R, 2012, p. 47 )

Power Management.It is of import for directors and organisations to cognize how to pull offing power and how to utilize their power efficaciously. McManus, J ( 2013 ) provides several aids suggestions for directors to cognize the manner to maintaining and pull offing power. The first sentiment is power sharing. McManus, J ( 2013 ) states that “Power sharing is a scheme for deciding difference of sentiments over who should hold the power” ( p. 29 ) . Alternatively of contending over who should hold power over whom, power sharing relies upon the joint exercising of power. Power sharing can take the signifier of allowing complete independency and leting a minority group to organize its ain crowned head state province. Power sharing besides can be more integrative. Administration is handled by leaders from each group who work jointly and hand in glove to do determinations and decide struggles. ( McManus, J, 2013, p. 31 )

The 2nd sentiment is about keeping power. McManus, J ( 2013 ) points out, “the intent of power is to keep itself and to widen itself” ( p. 31 ) . The swayer must do usage of any signifier of use, fraudulence, and even murder to accomplish his terminals. Peoples in power are rarely challenged or given bad intelligence, and even when challenged, they have a inclination to reject the incompatible information. It is no admiration, so, that altering fortunes frequently produce, with some slowdown, a dynamic that causes those in power to lose that power. To avoid losing power, directors ( or leaders ) should be sensitive to subtle alterations in the political, economic and societal environment, and understand how a peculiar direction manner, or a peculiar set of actions jeopardize their place and power base. ( McManus, J, 2013, p. 31 )

The 3rd suggestion is about pull offing struggle. Conflict could be argued that a director ‘s position of the cause of struggle is encouraged by the position offered by the classical theory which is mostly related to the dislocation of formal authorization linked to legalize power and the demand for steps to keep such power and reconstruct it when demand be. Conflict is identified as unnatural behaviour and therefore is likely to ensue in penalty for the culprits of aberrant behaviour. In some respects this supports the position that direction is based on a ‘unitary position ‘ which carries with it the outlooks that everyone within the organisation portions the same position, will work together as a squad, acknowledge the legitimacy of hierarchy and esteem senior direction. Anything which appears to interfere with this position is considered ‘bad ‘ for concern and is dealt with harmonizing to the regulations, processs, imposts and conventions which exist within a peculiar organisation.

Decision.Power and organisations are common sole in today’s concern environment. The development and normal operation of organisations rely on power to a great extent. If directors have necessary cognition about what power is and how to utilize it efficaciously, the power would convey positive consequence to the organisation. However, the power besides contains several hazards and crisis to the organisation, because the positive consequence of the power to the organisation is based on the correct usage ; if managers’ maltreatment of the power, the organisation may confront serious jobs. So, power is a Pandora box for both directors and organisation, the organisational power is a decision-making exercising for which the directors have to put organisational involvements above personal involvements. It is merely when the directors lead good that forces will follow enthusiastically and the organisation will develop continuously.


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