ECE _ DSST Organizational Behavior

Legitimate power is the power that a person receives

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Unformatted text preview: Legitimate power is the power that a person receives as a result of his or her position in the formal hierarchy of an organization. Positions of authority include coercive and reward powers, however, legitimate power is broader. Specifically, it includes acceptance by members of an organization of the authority of a position. When school principals, bank presidents, or army captains speak, teachers, tellers, and first lieutenants will usually listen and comply. Expert power is influence based on special skills or knowledge. Expertise has become one of the most powerful sources of influence as the world has become more technologically oriented. As jobs become more specialized, we become increasingly dependent on “experts” to achieve goals. For example, it is generally acknowledged that doctors have expertise; most people follow the advice that doctors give. Referent power is influence based on possession by an individual of desirable resources or personal traits. For example, if I admire you and identify with you, you can exercise power over me because I want to please you. Referent power develops out of admiration of another and a desire to be like that person. If you admire someone to the point of modeling your behavior and attitudes after him or her, this person possesses referent power over you. The most important aspect of power is that it is a function of dependence. A general dependency postulate states that “the greater B’s dependency on A, the greater the power A has over B.” In other words, when you possess anything that others require but you alone control, you make them dependent on you and, therefore, you gain power over them. If something is plentiful, possession of it will not increase your power. If nobody wants what you’ve got, it’s not going to create dependency. Therefore, to create dependency, the thing(s) you control must be perceived as being important. It’s been found that organizations actively seek to avoid uncertainty. Those individuals or groups who can absorb an organization’s uncertainty will be perceived as controlling an important resource. For instance, a study of industrial organizations found that the marketing departments in these firms were consistently rated as the most powerful because the most critical uncertainty facing these firms was selling their products. If something is plentiful, possession of it will not increase one’s power. A resource needs to be perceived as scarce to create dependency. Scarcity can help to explain how low-ranking members in an organization who have important knowledge not available to high-ranking members gain power over the high-ranking members. Possession of a scarce resource such as important knowledge, makes the high-ranking member dependent on the low-ranking member....
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Legitimate power is the power that a person receives as a...

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