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Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Organisational Power & Politics

Characteristics of Power-Organisational Power & Politics

   Posted On :  19.05.2018 09:14 pm

Definitions of power are related to the concepts of authority and influence.

Characteristics of Power
 
Definitions of power are related to the concepts of authority and influence. Chester Barnard defined power as “informal authority”. Many modern organisational sociologists define authority as “legitimate power”. To have better understanding of power, we bring out clearly the distinctions between power and authority and power and influence.
 

Power – Authority Distinctions

 
From the preceding discussion, it is clear that a person who possesses power has the ability to manipulate or influence others. Authority legitimizes and is a source of power in the organisation. In contrast, power need not be legitimate. Distinction can be made between top-down classical, bureaucratic authority and Barnard’s acceptance theory of authority. To him, authority is “the character of a communication (order) in a formal organisation by virtue of which it is accepted by a member of the organisation as governing the action he contributes”. Power is different from such acceptance theory of the authority in the words of Grimes who notes: “what legitimizes authority is the promotion of pursuit of collective goals that are associated with group consensus”.
 

Power- Influence Distinction

 
Influence is broader than power in its scope. It is a process of affecting the potential behaviour of others. Power is the capacity of influence. Thus, authority is different from power because of former’s legitimacy and acceptance, and influence, though broader than power, is closer to it conceptually. Hence, both are interchangeably used.
 

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