OB11_IM13 - Robbins Organizational Behavior Chapter...

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Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Thirteen POWER AND POLITICS CHAPTER 13 OUTLINE A Definition of Power 1. Definition : Power refers to a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B, so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes. Power may exist but not be used. It is, therefore, a capacity or potential. 2. Probably the most important aspect of power is that it is a function of dependency. The greater B’s dependence on A, the greater is A’s power in the relationship. Dependence, in turn, is based on alternatives that B perceives and the importance that B places on the alternative(s) that A controls. A person can have power over you only if he or she controls something you desire. Contrasting Leadership and Power 1. Leaders use power as a means of attaining group goals. Leaders achieve goals, and power is a means of facilitating their achievement. 2. Differences between Leadership and Power: Goal compatibility : a. Power does not require goal compatibility, merely dependence. b. Leadership, on the other hand, requires some congruence between the goals of the leader and those being led. The direction of influence: a. Leadership focuses on the downward influence on one’s followers. b. Leadership research, for the most part, emphasizes style. c. Power does not minimize the importance of lateral and upward influence patterns. d. The research on power has tended to encompass a broader area and focus on tactics for gaining compliance. Bases of Power A. Formal Power 1. Coercive Power: The coercive power base is being dependent on fear. It rests on the application, or the threat of application, of physical sanctions such as the infliction of pain, the generation of frustration through restriction of movement, or the controlling by force of basic physiological or safety needs. At the organizational level, A has coercive power over B if A can dismiss, suspend, or demote B, assuming that B values his or her job. Similarly, if A can assign B work activities that B finds unpleasant or treat B 1
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Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Thirteen in a manner that B finds embarrassing, A possesses coercive power over B. 2. Reward Power: The opposite of coercive power is reward power. People comply because doing so produces positive benefits; therefore, one who can distribute rewards that others view as valuable will have power over those others. These rewards can be anything that another person values. Coercive power and reward power are actually counterparts of each other. a. If you can remove something of positive value from another or inflict something of negative value upon him/her, you have coercive power over that person. b. If you can give someone something of positive value or remove something of negative value, you have reward power over that person.
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