Five Bases of Power by French and Raven – Term Paper Example

Leadership Theories Table of Contents Five bases of Power 3 Relationship between dependency and power 5 References 6 6 Five bases of Power Leadership styles can be defined as the approach which offers direction, execution plans and also ways to motivate people. While on the other hand bases of power are the techniques that leaders and supervisors employs in order to influence the workers. However the concept of authority must be considered while evaluating the bases of power. The bases of power and authority are the two interrelated traits.
The five bases of power were identified by French and Raven. Later it was divided into two subgroups positional power and personal power. The positional power reward power, coercive power and legitimate power. While on the other hand personal power includes referent power and expert power (Porter, Angle, & Allen, 2003, p.6).
Positional Power
In the context of an organization, this power is referred to as the authority that one holds for the position in the organization. Positional power is developed by employing organizational policies (Bare foot guide, n.d.). It consist reward power, coercive power and legitimate power. In accordance with the given scenarios, the powers are described below:-
Reward Power – Reward power can be portrayed as the way of offering rewards to the employees after the attainment of a specific target. Hence in this context the first scenario of employee 1 can be referred to as the exhibition of reward. In this scenario the manager urges the employees to work for extra hours in lieu of the yearly bonus.
Coercive Power – Coercive power is referred to as the authority to punish. The punishment can take place if an employee do not accomplishes the given task. However the given scenarios do not relate to coercive power.
Legitimate Power – Legitimate power is sometime referred to as the official power or the positional power. For example a supervisor automatically holds the power of rewarding and punishing the employees. Again this case relates to the first scenario where the marketing manager through his positional power urges the employee to work till late hours.
Personal Power
Personal power hugely relies on the individual attributes. It is also portrayed as the ability of the individuals to attract others. It includes referent power and expert power.
Referent Power – Referent power is also depicted as the ‘power of personality’ or charismatic power. With this power an individual draws attention of others. In the given scenarios, the case about employee 3 highly relates to it. The case revealed that the employee was only the organization for over a year, but with his positive and charismatic approach impressed the other members. Hence the employ exhibited his referent power.
Expert Power – Expert power is the power one holds on the basis of knowledge. However the power only generates from expert knowledge. This power also influences the behavior of others. Now within the presented scenarios, the case of employee 2 highly relates to it. With his knowledge of finance and being the only employee of the organization capable of preparing financial statements, influenced the manager to allow him 4 days of working.

Relationship between dependency and power
Power is the capability for influencing the behaviors of other individuals. Power is sometime perceived as the property of a person; however it is just a form of relation among two people. Power and dependency shares an inverse relationship. In order to cite an example Employee 1 will hold power over employee 2, if employee 2 is dependent upon employee 1. Emerson argues that ‘the basis of power is dependency’. He also cited an example where he states that an organization has to depend on its employees for the purpose of skills, labor and brain. Similarly employees depend upon organization for the wages. Dependency is primarily related to the resources and the person authorized, controls it.
Now in accordance with the given scenarios for employee 1, the marketing manager of the company exhibits his power on the employees and urges them to work for more hours. While on the other hand the marketing manager is also dependent upon the staffs for the work to get accomplished in time. Thus, scenario 1 portrays that how employee 1 works till late hours in the weekends in order to ensure the tasks get completed with full accuracy. This depicts the relationship between power and dependency.
The second scenario also portrays the relationship between power and dependence. Here employee 2 with his power of knowledge and being the only Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the department is forcing the company to depend on him. Moreover he is the only person who could prepare financial statements. This power of knowledge in turn gets him the permission to work for 4 days in a week and also the only employee allowed compressed work. Hence both the cases clearly justify the relationship between power and dependency.
Bare Foot Guide. (No Date). Five bases of power. Retrieved from
Porter, L. W., Angle, H. L., & Allen, R. W. (2003). Organizational Influence Processes (2nd ed.). New York: M.E. Sharpe.