Before discussing the sources of power in an organization, lets discuss the power. Power is defined as the ability of an individual to influence others. Power is not limited to only managers in the organization. The employees as well as the outsiders of the organization like customers can also influence the attitudes & actions taking place in the organization. Some employees need Power to influence the actions in the organization while some of them may not need it. Moreover power is not similar to the Authority. In fact authority is contains that power that is specific for a particular position like the power of security supervisor.
Power Influence & Authority
Power is quite different from the authority. As stated earlier that the authority is composed of that power which is only related to the particular position. On the other hand, influence is also different from the power in such a way that some people have the power, but they are not able to influence others through it while some people can influence others but they do not possess any special power. But the authority, influence and power are compulsory components of an organization.
Major Sources of Power in Organization
Following are the three kinds or the major sources of power in organization that derive from the formal position of an individual in the organization.
- Legitimate Power
This power is associated with particular position that is withheld by an individual in the organization.
- Reward Power
The access of the person to rewards provided him this power in the organization.
- Coercive Power
The ability of a person to punish other gives him coercive power.
Furthermore, two kinds of power are derived from the individual, which are as follow.
- Expert Power
The personal expertise & knowledge is possessed by a person gives him expert power.
- Referent Power
The attractiveness of a person to others provides him referent power.
The power derived from the source of the structure of an organization is based on the strategic contingencies. These strategic contingencies include those elements that are necessary for the effective performance in the organization either on an individual basis or in the form of team performance. Organizational power is derived from three sources which are included in the strategic contingencies. These three sources of organizational power are as follow.
- Coping with uncertainty
- Dependency & sustainability
- Centrality in the resource network
Advantages & Disadvantages of Power
Following are the advantages linked with power in the organization.
- Managers are able to perform their leadership responsibilities with the help of power so it is quite necessary for the organization.
- The employees can also be facilitated through the power of influencing others in the achievement of the organizational objectives as well as personal ones.
- Another advantage of referent & expert power is that it can inspire the other employees to become committed to their work.
- The other employees also feel less uncertainty in the organization when some of them possess expert & referent powers.
- The bureaucratic obstacles are reduced through the use of power by employees in the organization.
- The creativity of the employees is enhanced with the support of power in the organization.
- The individuals can misuse the power in the organization that would affect the overall performance of the organization, and is considered as the main disadvantage of power.
When an individual possesses a high degree of power and he is not held responsible for the consequences resulted from its use, then this condition is known as power corruption. The power corruption is resulted in harmful consequences in which the power is abused for accomplishment of personal objectives. Within an organization, the cycle of power corruption is initiated when the managers are removed physically from their employees. They develop concepts about themselves which are inflated. This causes a disparity among different levels of employees in the organization and lower level employees become more suppressed and helpless in the organization. So they start admitting their submissiveness & dependency & start flattering their managers. There are severe disadvantages of power corruption in the organization like
- The decision making in the organization becomes poor.
- The coercive behavior is promoted in the organization.
- The employees of the organization have a low opinion about the processes & the working environment of the organization.
- The distance between management & employees is enhanced that badly affects the performance of the organization.
- The managers are free to promote illegal or unethical actions in the organization.
It is compulsory for the organization to take effective steps for eliminating the power corruption. Following are some of the effective steps that can cure the serious problem of power corruption in the organization.
- The contact between managers & employees is enhanced.
- The dependency of the employees on the managers is reduced.
- The culture of the organization is reorganized as the open & performance-centered.
- The structure of the organization is rearranged that facilitates effective performance in the organization.
- Another useful step is by developing models for ethical behavior and by encouraging & rewarding the managers & employees that shows the standard behavior in the organization.
- Certain policies & procedures should be implemented in the organization that can clearly identify the unethical use of power so that such corruption of power can be stopped.
- Certain values in the organizational culture should be rooted that promotes the ethical use of power by the managers in the organization.
The thing that is really important about the delegation of power is, before delegating power makes it sure to delegate the responsibilities. So there is balance among the responsibilities and power.