The 10 Sources of Power and How Everyone Can Use Them (2023)

emmy last blog postI explained the difference between power and influence as classically defined in business and organizational psychology, arguing that while the words "power and influence" carry some ambivalent connotations, these powers can be used positively. I also read the book by Robert CialdiniSeven Principles of InfluenceAnd in what I hoped was a poignant example of applying these principles for good, I shared a letter that a former student of mine wrote to her ailing mother to persuade her to get the treatment she needed .

This time we're going to look at the principles of power, which are a lot more complex than many people think. And while it may seem counterintuitive at first, we will see that power is not just something held and used by those who fit the conventional image of the powerful: business executives, high-ranking politicians, and military officers, to name a few to name . Examples It is also something that can be exercised very effectively by ordinary people occupying key positions in organizations.

The 10 sources of power

In a classic 1959 study, two social psychologists named John French and Bertram Raven originally identified five distinct sources of power: legitimate, reward, coercion, expert, and referee. Six years later, Raven added a sixth, informative one. Over the years, based on research by others, I have been able to identify four additional sources of power that I add to French and Raven's original six when teaching my classes about organizational power and influence.Politics. I have developed a memory device to help my students remember them:

UEÖRCER, INC.. vonFapisonadaAj

The "LoRCER, INC." Part (without the lowercase "o") is an acronym, and the words "framed" and "agenda" represent the sources of power to which they refer, the frame power and the power of the agenda. Let's take a closer look at what each power source means.

  • legitimate power:This is the most obvious. It is the power conferred by a person's or group's position, status, and title within an organization or society. Having legitimate power often makes rewarding power and coercive power possible (see below), although that's not the only way, as I'll explain in a moment.
  • Reward Power:The ability to bestow various types of benefits on others, e.g. B. Hiring, Promotion and Increases in Salary. This is usually made possible by legitimate power, but the difference is how they work. With legitimate power, only status and title require people to obey. With reward power, people want to be more compliant because they want benefits and rewards that are implicitly promised for compliance (e.g., promotions and raises).
  • coercive force:Basically the opposite of reward power. It is the ability to punish in any way, such as reprimands, suspensions, demotions, and eventual dismissal. As with reward power, it usually comes with legitimate power, and people will obeyTimeto get punished.
  • special power:Strength derived from possessing specialized knowledge in a valuable area. People will agree out of belief in the power holder's experience, a desire to benefit from that experience, and/or fear of losing something if they don't. For example if theCOVID 19The pandemic caused the sudden shift to online learning, a person who suddenly became more important than almost everyone here in theUniversity of San Diego Business Schoolit was a guy named Brett Beyers. The gentleman. Beyers is the official technical guru of our department.
  • Reference power:That's where the power comes fromCharisma, Sympathie uattractive(not necessarily physical), regardless of rank and status. People access this type of power because of the admiration they feel for the holder of the reference power.
  • Significance:Somewhat similar to Expert Power, but also different. Specialization power refers to specialized knowledge in a particular area. Information power is broad and widespread knowledge about an organization, its culture and history. A person with information power knows "how things really work in an organization".
  • Mains power:Power is based on the breadth and depth of connections a person has in their professional and/or personal network. There's an old saying that goes, "It's all about who you know." When it comes to the power of networks, at least it's true.
  • Power of Centrality:Centrality has to do with "being up to date". Lo/op is another mnemonic for remembering the words location and operation.

site powerbe physically visible. Jeffrey Pfeffer, a guru of organizational power,once the story is toldthat his old office at UC Berkeley was one of the most influential places on campus because it was across from the men's room. Virtually every member of the economics faculty (when most economics professors were men) dropped in throughout the day, which of course led to networking opportunities.

operational performanceIn this case, one person serves as a funnel or hub for various important processes. Even though these individuals are not of high rank, they are vital to the running of an organization and therefore have operational power.

  • Framework performance:It's easy to think of as a language skill. It's the power to use language to shape things in ways that affect how people see them. An example is the joke in which a young priest approaches a bishop and asks, "Your Excellency, may I smoke while I pray?" The bishop replies angrily: “No! I can't believe you asked something like that. A week later, the chastised priest comes back and asks: "Your Excellency, may I pray while smoking?" The bishop replies, "Anytime is good to pray, my son." This is the power of the frame.
  • Scheduled operations:This is the ability to influence what gets activated and what doesn't, which is important as the things that get activated are the things that are given priority and resources in an organization. This was shown, for example, by a study from 2018fake newssites were able to do so because of the topics they "covered".significantly influence the agendato what was reported by the mainstream media.

Anyone can use the power sources.

Which of the above sources of power do you think requires high rank or status in an organization? The truth is that there is only one: legitimate power. The only thing that matters here is the job title. All others can be exercised by absolutely anyone, regardless of rank. While most people don't use all of the other nine sources of power, at least not at the same time, it's entirely possible to use at least one or more of them at the same time, depending on your unique talents, abilities, and interests. .

Take coercive force, for example, a source of power that many would associate with legitimate power. It is true that people who hold legitimate power (e.g. your boss) constantly exercise their coercive power through various types of disciplinary measures. But even ordinary employees often exercise their coercive power, even if they do not recognize it as such. They mostly do it out of a lack of commitment, reducedproductivity, and more absenteeism and presenteeism - things that hurt the company. Sometimes this happens consciously, sometimes unconsciously, but either way, these reduced performance metrics are often how employees use coercion when they are unhappy with the

Real life examples of bottom up power

The business world is filled with real-life stories of companies making a commitment to making their employees happy and those employees in turn rewarding the company with their rewarding power. Employees' power of reward often takes the opposite form of their power of coercion; in other words, more engagement, more productivity, and less absenteeism and presenteeism.

Southwest Airlines is an example of where a company and its leadership abused their legitimate powerGive your employees more power, and the officials in turn used their own power to reward them for doing so. Years ago, when the airline decided it was time for a new uniform, it issued an unconditional open appeal to all employees in all departments. Anyone wishing to submit thoughts and ideas was invited, and the company eventually reduced the group to 43 employees to function as a unified committee. In this way, Southwest granted expert authority to employees who were not experts in traditional fashion or uniforms. They also gave these employees planning powers so they could prioritize things like comfort, functionality, and machine washability for the new uniforms.empower your employeesThis has resulted in more engaged and engaged Southwest employees, which has led to continued growth and success for the company.

There are many other stories of this type of bottom-up power use and the psychological drive to do sopunish or rewardsometimes it's a factor, not always. Sometimes the cause is random, as is often the case with Power Centrality, depending on the location of your office or desk. Other times, it's just a natural outgrowth of your interests and education, as is often the case with expert power. The underlying point here is that most sources of power, whether voluntary or accidental, are accessible regardless of rank or position in an organization or society, and this is one of the most misunderstood aspects of power.

An exercise I often do with my students is to ask, "Stop if you want power." Very few, if any, raise their hands. Then, using my creative powers, I rephrase the question: "Hands up if you want to be empowered." Almost everyone raises their hand. Power isn't just something that belongs to people of high status. Power is also something that belongs to people of all levels, which they can use to serve their own interests and protect them, sometimes against higher-ranking people who may have slightly less power.altruisticGoal. But to do this, it is necessary to understand what types of power exist and how they can be exercised. I hope this post can help fulfill that purpose.


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