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Analysis of Power Relations in an Organization Analytical Essay

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Updated: Jul 3rd, 2019

Introduction

Power within a corporate organization is a significant determinant factor in how personnel interact and carry out operations within the organization. There are various sources of power within an organization (Schriesheim, 2006).

This paper considers a scenario in which there are various organizational power plays. This analysis of power relations in the scenario is based on five bases of power described by French and Raven as sources of power within an organization.

Description of five bases of power demonstrated in the scenario

There are five bases of power demonstrated in the scenario. These bases of power include;

Reward power

Reward power is clearly at play in the marketing department where employee 1 works. This base of power entails the ability of a manager to present employees with desirable outcomes and the rewards that come with such outcomes (Heinemann, 2011).

In the scenario, employees working in the marketing department are encouraged to work longer hours than stipulated in their normal working timeframe in order to receive bonuses at the end of the year.

According to the policy adopted in the department, employees with superior ratings on their annual performances are given hefty bonuses at the end of every year. This gives the marketing manager the power to induce employees to work hard and achieve set targets in exchange for hefty bonuses at the end of the year.

Referent power

This power is derived through an individual’s general likeability and the influence such an individual may have on other fellows. People tend to like the personality of an individual with this kind of power (Heinemann, 2011).

For instance, employee 3, who works in the sales department, exhibits this basis of power. Other employees tend to like employee 3’s personality of charisma and positivity. Because of these qualities, the employee 3 has power to influence other employees. Hence, referent power enabled employee 3 to be made a leader of the sales team.

Expert power

This basis of power is grounded on an individual’s knowledge and skills (Heinemann, 2011). In the scenario, employee 2 is the one who uses this basis of power. Employee 2 is the only one taking advantage of this basis of power.

Employee 2 is the only Certified Public Accountant in the accounting department and as such, the employee has used this basis of power to bargain with the accounting manager to have the employee’s working days reduced to four in a week. Employee 2 has taken advantage of expert power to be the only one in the accounting department whose working schedule is reduced to four days a week.

Legitimate power

In this basis of power, an individual has the ability, by nature of his or her position in the organization, to instill a sense of responsibility in others (Heinemann, 2011). For instance, the marketing manager of the corporation demonstrates this basis of power.

Employees in the department, especially employee 1, obey the manager’s proposition that they work longer hours than the prescribed 40 hours a week in order to receive high ratings; these ratings qualify them for big bonuses at the end of the year.

Coercive power

This basis of power is grounded on the idea of compulsion. It may entail having an individual perform a task without his or he free will (Heinemann, 2011). It is about using one’s position to pressurize someone to act or perform a task. In the scenario, the marketing manager can also be considered to be making use of this basis of power.

The manager’s continuous encouragement may be viewed as coercing employees to work longer hours than stipulated. Here, the threat is the denial of end year bonuses given according to ratings each employee gets. The employees may decide to work extra hours not because they are motivated by the incentive of bonuses but because they fear being seen by the manager as disobedient.

Relationship between dependency and power

The more power a given entity commands, the more influence such an entity may have (Loseke, 2003). Dependence is a crucial aspect of power that occurs in situations where resources under control are scarce and do not have substitutes. The one who has less power depends on the one who has more.

This implies that dependency and power are inversely related; the less power one has the more dependent he or she is. In the scenario, the relationship between power and dependence clearly comes out in the accounting department. Employee 2 is the one who is Certified Public Accountant.

Besides, employee 2 is the only one who can prepare the corporation’s accounting statements. This implies that the company dependents on employee 2 for its accounting issues. Therefore, the corporation has less expert power than employee 2 and hence it has to give in to the demands of employee 2.

Conclusion

Individuals within a corporate organization may exert certain influences depending on the bases of power they enjoy. The five bases of power demonstrated in the scenario are reward power, referent power, expert power, legitimate power and coercion power. Dependence and power are inversely related. This implies that less power entity posses the more dependent it is on another entity with more power.

References

Heinemann, P. (2011). Power Bases and Informational Influence Strategies: A Behavioral Study on the Use of Management Accounting Information. Frankfurt: DUV.

Loseke, D. (2003). Thinking about Social Problems: an Introduction to Constructionist Perspectives. New York: Transaction Publishers.

Schriesheim, C. (2006). Power and Influence in Organizations: New Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives. Charlotte: IAP.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Analysis of Power Relations in an Organization." July 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/analysis-of-power-relations-in-an-organization/.

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