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Types of Power in Organizations

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French and Raven recognized five methods that are commonly used by managers such as reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, and expert power. The first three types arise from the position held by leaders while the last two types of power emanate from the personality of individual. The paper is going to discuss the five types of power, recognize the most effective type, and how to improve leadership and management skills using the knowledge gained in studying the types of power. Coercive power is derived from the belief that a person can punish for noncompliance. The leader may threaten the followers with demotion, termination of duties, or denial of privileges hence the employee follows all the instructions given to avoid such punishment. In this case, the leader gains power over the followers. However, for this to work it requires the leader to constantly monitor the employees hence creating tension and uncomfortable working environment. Coercive power therefore, can lead to dissatisfaction among workers and low productivity as employees do not work unless the manager is present (Nelson Quick, 2012). Reward power is the opposite of coercive power. It is based on the belief that the person has the ability to compensate the follower for compliance. Due to the position of the leader in the organization hierarchy, he has the control over rewards such as promotion, favorable assignments, offer training opportunities among other non-financial rewards (Silos, 2003). In this case, reward is linked to the performance of workers and it depends on whether the followers value the rewards. However, reward power may decline if the leader uses up all the available rewards or they have no value to followers. Furthermore, the leader may not have full control over rewards hence his/her power is limited. Legitimate power is based on the belief that the leader has the authority over followers due to the position he/she holds in the organization structure. For example, employees believe that the supervisor has the ability to give commands and be obeyed. According to Nelson and Quick (2012), the power is not linked to organizational effectiveness or employee satisfaction hence the company goals are not often achieved. Silos (2003) on the other hand, argue that legitimate power is unpredictable since once the leader loses the position, he/she loses the power. Unlike coercive, legitimate and reward power which are based on positions, referent power is based on personality. It is based on the belief that the leader deserves respect. The person is perceived to be charismatic, sociable, and charming among other likable qualities. Such leaders have a lot of influence on followers and therefore the power may be easily abused. Silos (2003), considers it as the most dangerous since it involves extensive altering of behavior. The last category is expert power and is the most effective in organizations. It has a very strong relationship with performance and job satisfaction and is based on the belief that the leader possesses knowledge and skills which he can use to help followers to solve problems (Silos, 2003). An expert is confident in his work, is able to understand a situation and suggest solutions to problems. He/she is also able to make value judgments and also impart knowledge on others thus gaining their trust and respect and they always look up to him/her for leadership. It is the most successful since workers can gain relevant skills from the leader enabling them to perform their tasks effectively leading