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    13.3 The Power to Influence

    13.3 The Power to Influence


    Identify the five sources of power.

    Understand influence tactics.

    Learn about impression management.

    Examine the impact of the direction of influence attempts.

    Bases of Power

    Having power and using power are two different things. For example, imagine a manager who has the power to reward or punish employees. When the manager makes a request, he or she will probably be obeyed even though the manager does not actually reward the employee. The fact that the manager has the ability to give rewards and punishments will be enough for employees to follow the request. What are the sources of one’s power over others? Researchers identified six sources of power, which include legitimate, reward, coercive, expert, information, and referent. You might earn power from one source or all six depending on the situation. Let us take a look at each of these in turn, and continue with Steve Jobs from the opening case as our example.

    Legitimate Power

    Legitimate power is power that comes from one’s organizational role or position. For example, a boss can assign projects, a policeman can arrest a citizen, and a teacher assigns grades. Others comply with the requests these individuals make because they accept the legitimacy of the position, whether they like or agree with the request or not. Steve Jobs has enjoyed legitimate power as the CEO of Apple. He could set deadlines and employees comply even if they think the deadlines were overly ambitious. Start-up organizations often have founders who use their legitimate power to influence individuals to work long hours week after week in order to help the company survive.

    Reward Power

    Reward power is the ability to grant a reward, such as an increase in pay, a perk, or an attractive job assignment. Reward power tends to accompany legitimate power and is highest when the reward is scarce. Anyone can wield reward power, however, in the form of public praise or giving someone something in exchange for their compliance. When Steve Jobs ran Apple, he had reward power in the form of raises and promotions. Another example of reward power comes from Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, who has the power to launch new companies or not. He created his company with the idea of launching other new companies as soon as they could develop viable ideas. If members could convince him that their ideas were viable, he gave the company a maximum of $250,000 in seed money, and gave the management team and employees a 30% stake in the company and the CEO 10% of the company. That way, everyone had a stake in the company. The CEO’s salary was capped at $75,000 to maintain the sense of equity. When one of the companies, Citysearch, went public, all employees benefited from the $270 million valuation.

    Coercive Power

    In contrast, coercive power is the ability to take something away or punish someone for noncompliance. Coercive power often works through fear, and it forces people to do something that ordinarily they would not choose to do. The most extreme example of coercion is government dictators who threaten physical harm for noncompliance. Parents may also use coercion such as grounding their child as punishment for noncompliance. Steve Jobs has been known to use coercion—yelling at employees and threatening to fire them. When John Wiley & Sons Inc. published an unauthorized biography of Jobs, Jobs’s response was to prohibit sales of all books from that publisher in any Apple retail store. In other examples, John D. Rockefeller was ruthless when running Standard Oil Company. He not only undercut his competitors through pricing, but he used his coercive power to get railroads to refuse to transport his competitor’s products. American presidents have been known to use coercion power. President Lyndon Baines Johnson once told a White House staffer, “Just you remember this. There’s only two kinds at the White house. There’s elephants and there’s ants. And I’m the only elephant.”

    Expert Power

    Expert power comes from knowledge and skill. Steve Jobs had expert power from his ability to know what customers want—even before they can articulate it. Others who have expert power in an organization include long-time employees, such as a steelworker who knows the temperature combinations and length of time to get the best yields. Technology companies are often characterized by expert, rather than legitimate power. Many of these firms utilize a flat or matrix structure in which clear lines of legitimate power become blurred as everyone communicates with everyone else regardless of position.

    Information Power

    Information power is similar to expert power but differs in its source. Experts tend to have a vast amount of knowledge or skill, whereas information power is distinguished by access to specific information. For example, knowing price information gives a person information power during negotiations. Within organizations, a person’s social network can either isolate them from information power or serve to create it. As we will see later in this chapter, those who are able to span boundaries and serve to connect different parts of the organizations often have a great deal of information power. In the TV show Mad Men, which is set in the 1960s, it is clear that the switchboard operators have a great deal of information power as they place all calls and are able to listen in on all the phone conversations within the advertising firm.

    Source : courses.lumenlearning.com

    Positional Power: Legitimate, Coercive & Reward Power

    Positional power is a type of power managers acquire due to their position within the organization. Explore the three types of positional power,...

    Positional Power: Legitimate, Coercive & Reward Power

    Instructor Sherri Hartzell View bio Expert Contributor Jerry Allison View bio

    Positional power is a type of power managers acquire due to their position within the organization. Explore the three types of positional power, including legitimate, reward, and coercive power. Updated: 08/13/2021

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    Managerial Power

    Managers require power to make things happen in their organizations. Power can be defined as a manager's ability to influence others. Influence is what managers have when they use power in such a way that it results in some behavioral response in others. Effective managers understand how to use their power to influence organizational members to act according to their wishes and to put into place processes and procedures that work toward organizational goals. A manager obtains his or her power from both the organization (positional power) and from him or herself (personal power). The key to successful management lies in using a combination of positional power and personal power. This lesson will discuss the first of these: positional power.

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    Positional Power

    The most commonly recognized form of power that a manager has is positional power. Positional power is a result of a manager's position within the organization. The three main bases of positional power include legitimate power, reward power and coercive power.

    Legitimate power stems from the manager's position in the organization and the authority that lies in that position. Subordinates acknowledge the legitimate power that comes from being in a leadership position in an organization. A manager's employees believe that the manager has the authority to direct their actions, and they willingly comply with those requests. For example, when Kelly asks her manager Jack to approve her personal time off, Kelly knows that Jack has legitimate power to either approve or deny that request. Regardless of Jack's decision, Kelly must comply.Reward power is the extent to which a manager can use rewards to influence others. Managers have power to reward subordinates for their actions when those behaviors meet or exceed performance expectations. Examples of such rewards include pay increases or bonuses, promotions, more responsibility and autonomy, as well as recognition and praise. For example, when Kelly exceeds her sales quota for the first quarter of the organization's fiscal year, her manager Jack rewards her with a bonus check for $500 and sends out an e-mail to her coworkers acknowledging the good job Kelly has done.Coercive power is the opposite of reward power, and it is used by managers to punish subordinates for not meeting performance expectations or to deter subordinates from making decisions that will negatively affect the organization.

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    Additional Activities

    Positional Power

    Situation Analysis

    Bennie Hannah is a supervisor that has all three types of position power, i.e., legitimate power, reward power, and coercive power. Decide which Bennie is using when he does each of these things:

    1. Bennie calls into his office an employee who has been consistently late to work. Bennie talks to the employee and then fires the employee.

    2. Bennie goes down to the shop floor and, so everyone can hear, publicly praises Jill for a great idea that saved the company a lot of money.

    3. Bennie tells some of his employees that there is a rule against smoking inside the building and asks them to move outside.

    4. Bennie calls his maintenance person to go fix a machine down on the floor.

    5. While doing the performance review of Gertrude, Bennie realized she is doing a great job and gives her a raise.

    6. While on the floor, Bennie sees an employee doing something very dangerous and decides to suspend the employee for three days.

    Survey Project

    Make a list of at least ten people that have a job, and you know well. Ask them the following questions:

    1. Does your boss have the ability to suspend you or to fire you? If not, who does?

    2. Does your boss have the ability to provide you with a reward or a raise? If not, who does?

    3. Does anyone in your organization have all three types of positional power? If so, why does that person have all three?

    4. How do you feel when your boss uses his or her authority to tell you to do something?

    5. How do you feel when rewards are given to you?

    6. How do you feel when punishment is given to you?

    Analyze all the responses given to you. Make sure you listen to what the person says that is not directly tied to the answer to the question; this is important information as well. Determine what these people have in common in their answers. What answers surprised you? Write up your findings in a report.

    Discussion Question

    Consider the three forms of positional power. Do you think one person in the organization should have all three types of positional power? Why or why not? If you do not think one person should have all three types, then who these be distributed to?

    Claudia F.

    Source : study.com

    Solved 2a. Managers’ power over employees, granted based on

    Answer to Solved 2a. Managers’ power over employees, granted based on

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    Question: 2a. Managers’ Power Over Employees, Granted Based On Their Position Within The Organization, Is Considered Multiple Choice Referent. Legitimate. Expert. Informational. 2b. When Building Commitment Is Really Important, You Should Use The Core Influence Tactics, Which Includes Multiple Choice Exchange. Ingratiation. Consultation. Personal Appeals. 2c.

    2a. Managers’ power over employees, granted based on their position within the organization, is considered Multiple Choice

    referent. legitimate. expert. informational.

    2b. When building commitment is really important, you should use the core influence tactics, which includes

    Multiple Choice exchange. ingratiation. consultation. personal appeals.

    2c. Fiedler’s contingency leadership model determines if a leader’s style is

    Multiple Choice

    initiating structure or consideration.

    employee-centered or production-centered.

    transactional or transformational.

    task-oriented or relationship-oriented.

    2d. Leading for meaningfulness, self-determination, competence, and progress are behaviors typical of ________ leaders.

    Multiple Choice empowering transactional servant situational

    Expert Answer


    Hello, Q1. Managers’ power over employees, granted based on their position within the organization, is considered legitimate power (also known as positional power). It is derived from the position a person…

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