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The Social Powers

Posted on: Monday, September 5, 2016 Category: Uncategorized (59)
2 min read

The concept of power has long fascinated humankind.  How people establish power over others has obsessed us forever. Is power a given or taken concept? Are leaders chosen or do they establish themselves? What makes those in power possess power?

French and Raven (1959) established social power as being a construct of 5 distinct and separate forms, with these being;

  • Coercive power: use of force to gain compliance from another, in either a physical, psychological, social, economical or political manner.
  • Reward Power: the right of some to offer or deny tangible, social, emotional, or spiritual rewards in response to others doing what is wanted or expected of them.
  • Legitimate Power: comes from an elected, selected, or appointed position of authority, underpinned by social norms. Legitimate power relies on an established authority hierarchy.
  • Referent Power: the ability of one to influence another person because of a person’s loyalty, respect, friendship, admiration, affection, or a desire to gain approval.
  • Expert Power: based on one’s knowledge, experience, and special skills or talents. Can be demonstrated by; reputation, credentials, and actions. Leadership based on subordinates trust due to leader’s expertise.

They suggested that the success you have on influencing others is based on the social power you adopt or possess, and expand within your brand.

Skinner, Dubinsky, and Donnelly (1984) examined how the use of each power type by sales managers, effects retail sales staff. They found that the use of non-coercive social power types (reward, legitimate, referent, and expert) correlated with higher job satisfaction and satisfaction with supervisor, for retail salespersons. Coercive social power displayed the inverse, where retail salespersons displayed lower job satisfaction and satisfaction with the manager. Furthermore, the use of non-coercive social powers led to lower levels of role conflict, and salespersons who displayed lower levels of role conflict tend to perceive their managers as having more legitimate and expert powers. Motivation was also increased through the use of legitimate and expert powers, while expert power increased feelings of commitment to the organisation. Organisational commitment has also been found to be of much importance in management as it promotes performance (Larson & Fukmi, 1984), wellbeing (Begley & Czajka, 1993), and reduces turnover rates (Somers, 1995).

At BNY, we can teach and show you how to become the ideal leader amongst your colleagues. Your brand can evolve into one that establishes commitment and motivation, while also improving the satisfaction and wellbeing of your staff.

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