Power And Organizational Behavior Essay

3462 words - 14 pages

Since power is an intangible term, it is rather hard to define in a formal way. However, power is a widely experienced social phenomenon and its implications and sources in a wide social context are intuitively known by almost everyone. Power is commonly known as the ability to effect or change the behavior of others. According to the great German Political Economist and Sociologist Max Weber, "power is the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance".It must be understood that power is not an act of changing behaviors and attitudes of others but only a potential for such a change. This potential varies with the amount of dependency. The more dependent an individual or group is on another individual or group, the greater is the potential of exercise of power on the dependent individual or group. Power is such a widespread phenomenon because of the economical reality of scarcity of resources. Any individual or group that can potentially be a source of value for another individual or group possesses power. It is also worth mentioning that power may well be a matter of perception than reality i.e. an individual or group may feign to posses value or source/sources of value and hence end up claiming power.The term 'authority' is often used for Power, which isn't correct because authority is only the legitimate use of power. Power, however is not always used legitimately. Another term that is used synonymous to power is 'influence'. Although the function of both, power and influence are the same, power is perceived to perform this function more regularly and easily. Another difference is that power rests on certain foundations whereas influence relies on particular tactics. Thus the exercise of influence tends to be more subtle than the exercise of power.In context of organizational behavior, power is an essential feature of a manger's role. A manager would constantly need power as a source of influence to direct the efforts of his subordinates. Similarly subordinates also posses certain degree of power and we may well safely conclude that in an organizational structure all participants posses a certain level and amount of power.Distribution of power in an organizational setup is a cause of concern for all individuals that work for an organization. No matter what the position, all individuals get affected with the distribution of value (resources, incentives and acquisitions). At this point it would be necessary to inspect the five distinct sourced of power proposed by John French and Bertram Raven.THE FIVE BASES OF POWER.When we take the notion of power in perspective it is rather natural to inquire about the sources of power and the vital question of 'who gets what and how'. In 1959, two OB scholars John French and Bertram Raven identified five sources of power within an organization: reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, referent power and expert power.Reward...

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