The coercive power depends on fear. The person with the coercive power has the ability to inflict punishment or adverse consequences on the other person.
The coercive power depends on
fear. The person with the coercive power has the ability to inflict punishment
or adverse consequences on the other person. One reacts to this power out of
fear of the negative ramifications that might result from non-compliance. In
the organisational context, managers frequently exercise coercive power as
revealed from their actions such as dismissing, suspending or demoting their
subordinates or withholding pay increases. In other words, managers control
through force or hitting at the basic physiological or safety needs. Here it is
to be noted that protective labour legislation and trade unions have stripped
away some of this coercive power of managers.
Reward power is the opposite of
coercive power. People comply with the wishes of another because it will result
in positive benefits. The type of rewards includes material rewards like pay
increase, fringe benefits, commissions, etc. Managers exercise this power since
they have ability and resources to reward their subordinates. The strength of
the reward power depends on whether the subordinates look at rewards offered to
them as rewards or otherwise. Managers may offer what they think as rewards,
but subordinates may not value them. The reverse may also be true.
This use of power rests on the
allocation and manipulation of symbolic rewards. If a person can decide who is
hired, control the allocation of resources, or influence group norms, he is
said to have persuasive power. A few common symbols of manager’s power in the
organisation include: getting a favorable placement for a talented subordinate,
getting approvals for expenditures beyond budget, getting items on agenda at
policy meetings, getting fast access to top decision makers, getting early information
about decisions and policy shifts, getting above-average salary increases for
Knowledge or access to
information is the final use or base of power. When an individual in a group or
organisation controls unique information needed to make decisions, then he
processes knowledge-based power.
Influenceability of Targets of Power
So far our discussion has
confirmed the unilateral influence of power from the agent (power holder) to
targets (other persons). Power relationship as a reciprocal relationship can be
better understood by focusing attention on characteristics of targets.
Influenceability of targets depends on the following:
Power is a function of dependency.
The general dependence postulates that the greater the dependency of the target
on the agent, the greater the power the agent has over the target. Dependency
increases when the resources controlled by the agent are important, scare and
non-substitutable. The scarcity - dependency relationship can be clearly seen
in occupational groups where supply of skills is low relative to demand for
When people have a feeling of
uncertainty about the correctness of their behaviour, they are more susceptible
Persons with personality
characters like low tolerance for ambiguity and high anxiety (fear of failure)
are more likely to be influenced.
Relationship between intelligence
and influenceability is complex. In some cases it is positive whereas in other
cases negative, since highly intelligent people being held in high esteem may
resist being influenced.
It is traditionally believed that
women are more likely to be influenced than men, because of the way the former
are brought up. As the role of women is fast changing and they are more
empowered now, there is a perceptible change, of late.
Western cultures that emphasize
individuality, dissent and diversity tend to decrease influenceability whereas
Asian cultures that emphasize cohesiveness, agreement and uniformity promote
Tags : Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Organisational Power & Politics
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