Organizational Behavior Essay

927 words - 4 pages

Organizational Behavior describes five forms of power individuals in a group can hold over each other. These bases of power can be broken down into two categories - formal and personal (Robbins, & Judge, 2007, p. 471). Formal power is granted by a person's ranking in an organization's hierarchy and includes legitimate, coercive, and reward powers. Legitimate power is the broadest of the formal powers and "represents the formal authority to control and use organizational resources" and implies adherence by those in subordinate positions (Robbins, & Judge, 2007, p. 472). Coercive and reward powers each focus on obtaining compliance from another individual, although they use opposite means. Coercive power is based on fear and includes the threat of removing or denying something of value from another person in the organization, while reward power seeks compliance by offering something of value in exchange for adherence to a policy or goal (Robbins, & Judge, 2007, p. 471).
Personal power does not require formal authority of the organization and is, instead, earned by an individual's differentiating traits (Robbins, & Judge, 2007, p. 472). Personal power is recognized in the forms of expert power and referent power. Expert power is earned by those with specialized skill sets or knowledge, such as lawyers, medical doctors, and various other specialists people depend upon (Robbins, & Judge, 2007, p. 472). Referent power is maintained by people who are respected, admired, or envied by others. Individuals with referent power are able to "exert influence over others because of their charismatic dynamism, likeability, and emotional effects" on others (Robbins, & Judge, 2007, p. 472).
These five bases of power are exhibited in the relationships between the employees and managers of the marketing, accounting, and sales departments at Corporation A. In the given scenario, the marketing manager uses a combination of related coercive and reward powers to drive Employee 1 towards working longer hours than required by the company. Employee 1 is dependent on a superior rating on an annual performance evaluation to qualify for a large bonus and pay for a vacation. The marketing manager exhibits coercive, or fear based, power over Employee 1 by implying that working less than forty hours per week would result in a less than superior rating on future performance evaluations. By the same token, the manager also demonstrates reward power by insinuating a link between working more hours and receiving a superior performance rating.
By nature of being the only certified public accountant in the accounting department and, thus, the only employee who can prepare the company's financial statements, Employee 2 has a unique skill set and is able to exert expert power within the department and organization. Employee 2 uses a...

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