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What is personal power? Explain different bases of power?

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vipinmishra | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 30, 2009 at 4:25 PM via web

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What is personal power? Explain different bases of power?

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted May 2, 2009 at 12:04 AM (Answer #1)

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In the context of inter-personal relationship power may be defined as the ability of a person to influence and control behavior of others. Experts have identified different bases or source of power that a person may have. These are:

  • Coercive power. Coercive power results from a person's ability to punish or withhold rewards. A person who robs you on the street threatening you with a gun is using this type of power.
  • Resource power. A person has resource power when he or she has the discretion to decide the resources available to you. Thus a person in finance department, who can influence the sanction of other employees' expenditure budget can exercise resource power over them.
  • Position power. A person has some authority and discretion assigned to him by virtue of his/her position in the organization structure. This is position power.
  • Expert power. A person has expert power by virtue of being recognized as an expert. We accept the advice of doctor, and even allow him/her to operate upon us because we have faith in his expertise.
  • Information power. Information is like resource power. A person with information can disclose the information selectively to people he wants to favour, and in this way exercise influence over them.
  • Association power. People can also exercise power by their relationship and association with others. People tend accept opinions and wishes of people having good relationship them.
  • Personal power. This type of power flows from the persons personal characteristics including looks, personality, and interpersonal skills. This power has a multiplier effect. It helps a person to enhance the effectiveness of all other type of power.
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shaikhmohdzafar | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 13, 2009 at 11:38 AM (Answer #2)

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Power is the ability to make things happen in the way an individual wants, either by self or by the subordinates. The essence of power is control over the behavior of others (French & Raven, 1962). Managers derive power from both organizational and individual sources. These sources are called position power and personal power, respectively.

Personal power resides in the individual and is independent of that individual's position. .

Three bases of personal power are:

1. Expertise,

2. Rational persuasion,

3. Reference.

Expert power is the ability to control another person's behavior by virtue of possessing knowledge,experience, or judgment that the other person lacks, but needs. A subordinate obeys a supervisor possessing expert power because the boss ordinarily knows more about what is to be done or how it is to be done than does the subordinate. Expert power is relative, not absolute.

However the table may turn in case the subordinate has superior knowledge or skills than his/ her boss. In this age of technology driven environments, the second proposition holds true in many occasions where the boss is dependent heavily on the juniors for technologically oriented support.

Rational persuasion is the ability to control another's behavior, since, through the individual's efforts, the person accepts the desirability of an offered goal and a viable way of achieving it. Rational persuasion involves both explaining the desirability of expected outcomes and showing how specific actions will achieve these outcomes.

Referent power is the ability to control another's behavior because the person wants to identify with the power source. In this case, a subordinate obeys the boss because he or she wants to behave,perceive, or believe as the boss does. This obedience may occur, for example, because the subordinate likes the boss personally and therefore tries to do things the way the boss wants them done. In a sense, the subordinate attempts to avoid doing anything that would interfere with the pleasing boss-subordinate relationship. Followership is not based on what the subordinate will get for specific actions or specific levels of performance, but on what the individual represents-a path toward lucrative future prospects.

Charismatic Power is an extension of referent power stemming from an individual's personality and interpersonal style. Others follow because they can articulate attractive visions, take personal risks, demonstrate follower sensitivity, etc.

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