Applying French and Ravens Bases of Social Power: A Powerful Solution – Case Study Example

The paper "Applying French and Raven’s Bases of Social Power: A Powerful Solution " is a delightful example of a case study on management. An important issue for scholars in leadership research has concerned factors that play a critical role in contributing to the effectiveness and success of leaders in mobilizing and influencing their followers to achieve a common objective. Relevant to this issue is how leaders in organizational contexts use their social power to affect the beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors of followers (Pierro et al., 2012). In this paper, I intend to make an analysis of the case study to identify two of French and Raven’s bases of power in the case and how these could be used to exert influence, and also outline how I can use French and Raven’s theory to resolve absenteeism and turnover experienced in the second shift. The case study revolves around how three supervisors use their power to influence employees working on shifts. From the reading, it is clear that the first supervisor (Art) is a hands-on type of leader involved in the day-to-day operations of the facility, but who fails to address issues touching on workers’ needs and concerns. Employees seem less motivated to work as they think that the supervisor does not really understand their concerns and is only concerned with getting the work done by strictly following set rules and regulations (Northouse, 2013). In light of this, I am of the opinion that the supervisor practices legitimate power, which stems from internalized work rules, regulations, and values that give the supervisor the right to influence workers. The workers are obligated by the same rules and regulations to comply and obey, hence making legitimate power one of the social bases of power (Pierro et al., 2012). In analyzing the second supervisor (Bob), I am of the considered opinion that he values employees and demonstrates genuine care for them in job-related contexts as well as in social situations by creating camaraderie. However, in my view, his leadership is instrumental in facilitating negative organizational outcomes such as absenteeism, turnover and poor performance by workers (Northouse, 2013). I also contend that the second supervisor uses reward power, which basically stems from the capacity of the supervisor to mediate positive results and to remove or decrease negative results received by the employees (Pierro et al., 2012). The strength of Bob’s power to lead and influence the employees under his command, therefore, is dependent on the size of the mediated result and the probability that he is able to mediate the reward. In the case study, we see how the supervisor influences employees by emboldening their personal accomplishments and taking them to lunch or to other social events. Such overtures, in my view, are rewards intended to influence the workers to achieve a common organizational goal, hence it is contended that Bob relies on reward power. Although an analysis of the third supervisor (Carol) is outside the scope of this paper, it is important to note that she has been effective in leading and influencing employees to achieve optimal productivity and performance by combining several bases of social power, key among them being referent and expert power (Pierro et al., 2012). Lastly, I contend that the problems of absenteeism and high turnover witnessed in Bob’s shift can be solved if the supervisor stops relying on one base of social power. In the literature, it has been documented that with reward power, a leaders’ influence is commonly limited to those domains where he or she has the capacity to provide rewards to followers (Pierro et al., 2012). As such, employees may not necessarily be influenced by such a leader they think the rewards provided are not important, or if the leader is unable to expand his or her scope of influence. To remedy this situation, therefore, Bob needs to utilize other power bases such as referent and expert power. Referent power, in my view, will address absenteeism as employees will identify more with the supervisor, while expert power will address the turnover issue as employees will attribute their superior skills and knowledge to the supervisor (Pierro et al., 2012).