The 10 Sources of Power and How Everyone Can Use Them (2023)

Emmy last blog postI explained the difference between power and influence as classically defined in business and organizational psychology, arguing that while the words "power and influence" carry some ambivalent connotations, these powers can be used positively. I also reviewed the work of Robert Cialdini.Seven Principles of InfluenceAnd in what I hoped was a moving example of these principles being used for good, I shared a letter a former student of mine had written to her ailing mother to convince her to get the treatment, that she needed.

This time we're going to look at the principles of power, which are a lot more complex than many people think. And while it may seem counterintuitive at first glance, we'll see that power isn't just something possessed and used by those who fit the conventional image of powerful people: business executives, high-ranking politicians, and military officers, to name but a few to name a few. It's also something that can actually be handled very effectively by ordinary people at the bottom of organizations.

(Video) Sources of Power

The 10 sources of power

In a classic 1959 study, two social psychologists named John French and Bertram Raven originally identified five distinct sources of power: legitimate, reward, coercion, expert, and referee. Six years later, Raven added a sixth, informative one. Over the years, based on research by others, I have been able to identify four additional sources of power that I add to French and Raven's original six when teaching my classes about organizational power and influence.Politics. I have developed a memory device to help my students remember them:

EUÖRCER, Inc..'SFbranchedAe

(Video) Sources of Power - Formal Source

The "LoRCER, INC." part (minus the lowercase "o") is an acronym, and the words "framed" and "agenda" represent the sources of power to which they refer, the power of the frame and the power of the agenda. Let's take a closer look at what each energy source means.

  • legitimate power:This is the most obvious. It is the power conferred by the position, status, and title held by an individual or group within an organization or society. Having legitimate power often makes reward power and coercive power possible (see below), although this is not the only way, as I will explain in a moment.
  • Reward Power:The ability to grant others various types of benefits, e.g. B. Hiring, Promotion and Increases in Salary. This is usually made possible by legitimate power, but the difference is how they work. With legitimate power, status and title alone require obedience. With reward power, people want to deliver more because they want the implicitly promised benefits and rewards for delivering (e.g., promotions and raises).
  • coercive force:Basically the opposite of reward power. There is the possibility of being punished in any way, such as reprimands, suspensions, demotions and eventually dismissal. As with reward power, it usually comes with legitimate power, and people will obeywaitto get punished.
  • Specialized Power:Strength derived from possessing specialized knowledge in a valuable area. People will obey because they believe in the experience of the power holder and out of a desire to benefit from that experience and/or fear of missing out if they don't. For example if theCOVID 19The pandemic caused the sudden shift to online learning, a person who suddenly became more important than almost everyone here in theUniversity of San Diego Business Schoolit was a guy named Brett Beyers. You see, Mr. Beyers is the official technical guru of our department.
  • reference force:That's where the power comes fromCharisma, Sympathie uattractive(not necessarily physical), regardless of rank and status. People hold on to this type of power because they admire the holder of the power reference.
  • Significance:Something similar to expert power, but also different. Specialization power refers to specialized knowledge in a particular area. Information power is broad and widespread knowledge about an organization, its culture and history. A person with information power knows "how things really work in an organization".
  • Network performance:Power is based on the breadth and depth of connections a person has in their professional and/or personal network. There's an old saying that goes, "It's all about who you know." When it comes to network performance, at least it's true.
  • Centrality Power:Centrality has to do with "being in the lo/op". Lo/op is another mnemonic for remembering the words location and operation.

site powershould be physically visible. Jeffrey Pfeffer, a guru of organizational power,once the story is toldthat his old office at UC Berkeley was one of the most powerful places on campus because it was across from the men's room. Throughout the day, virtually every member of the economics faculty (at the time, most economics professors were men) turned up, which of course led to networking opportunities.

(Video) Power and sources of power in organisational behaviour

operational performanceIn this case, one person serves as a funnel or hub for many important processes. Even if these individuals are not senior, they are vital to the functioning of an organization and therefore have operational power.

  • Framework performance:It's easy to think of as a language skill. It's the power to use language to shape things in ways that affect how people see them. An example is the joke in which a young priest turns to a bishop and asks, "Your Excellency, may I smoke while I pray?" The bishop replies angrily: “No! I can't believe you're asking me something like that. A week later, the chastised priest comes back and asks, "Your Excellency, may I pray while smoking?" The bishop replies, "Anytime is a good time to pray, my son." This is the power of the frame.
  • Scheduled operations:This is the ability to influence what is and isn't triggered, which is important as the things that are triggered are the things that have priority and resources in an organization. This was shown, for example, by a study from 2018fake newswebsites were able to because of the topics they "covered".significantly influence the agendathen they were covered by the mainstream media.

Anyone can use the power sources

Which of the above sources of power do you think requires high rank or status in an organization? The truth is that there is only one: legitimate power. This is the only one where job title matters. All others can be controlled by absolutely anyone, regardless of rank. While most people don't use all of the other nine sources of power, at least not at the same time, it's entirely possible to use at least one or more of them at the same time, depending on your unique talents and abilities. and interests.

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Take coercive force, for example, a source of power that many would associate with legitimate power. It is true that people with legitimate power (e.g. your boss) constantly exercise their coercive power through various types of disciplinary action. But even ordinary employees often exercise their coercive power, even if they do not recognize it as such. They usually do it for lack of commitment,productivity, and more absenteeism and presenteeism, things that hurt the company. Sometimes this happens consciously and sometimes unconsciously, but either way these reduced performance metrics are often a way employees use coercion when they are unhappy with their

Real-world examples of bottom-up power

The business world is filled with real-life stories of companies making a commitment to making their employees happy and those employees in turn rewarding the company with their rewarding power. Employees' rewarding power usually takes opposite forms to their coercive power, i. H. greater engagement, greater productivity, and reduced absenteeism and presenteeism.

(Video) The Source of True Power | Eckhart Teachings

Southwest Airlines is an example of where a company and its leadership abused their legitimate powerempower your employees, and the officials in turn used their own power to reward them for doing so. Years ago, when the airline decided it was time for a new uniform, it issued an unconditional open appeal to all employees in all departments. Anyone wishing to submit thoughts and ideas was invited, and the company eventually reduced the group to 43 employees to function as a unified committee. In this way, Southwest gave special powers to employees who were not experts in fashion or traditional uniforms. They also gave these employees agenda power, allowing them to prioritize things like comfort, functionality and machine washability for the new uniforms.empower your employeesIn doing so, it has resulted in more engaged and engaged Southwest employees, which has led to the company's continued growth and success.

There are many other stories of this type of bottom-up power use and the psychological drive to do sopunish or rewardsometimes it's a factor, not always. Sometimes the cause is random, as is often the case with centralized power supplies, based on the location of your office or desk. In other cases, it is simply a natural outgrowth of their interests and training, as is often the case with the power of experts. The underlying point here is that most sources of power can be exploited regardless of level or position in an organization or society, whether by choice or accident, and this is one of the most misunderstood aspects of power.

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An exercise I often do with my students is to ask, "Stop if you want power." Very few, if any, raise their hands. Then, using my creative powers, I rephrase the question: "Hands up if you want to be empowered." Almost everyone raises their hand. Power isn't just something that belongs to people of high status. Power is also something that belongs to people at all levels, which they can use to serve their own interests and protect them, sometimes against high-ranking people who might have a little lessaltruisticObjectives But in order to do this, it is necessary to understand what types of power exist and how they can be exercised. I hope this post can help fulfill that purpose.


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