Robbins defines power as one’s capacity to influence the behavior of another so that he or she can act in accordance with one’s wishes (Robbins, 2009). From the comparative study of many organizational behavior scholars, it is almost a general agreement that power refer to capacity of an individual to influence the behavior of others so that they act in a way they would not otherwise do. From the case study of corporation A, there are different illustrations of types of power that every employee uses to influence others.
In the case study of corporation A different employees respond to several kinds of power sources. The first source of power is the reward power. Robbins (2009) observes that people comply with the wishes or directives of others just because such loyalties are paid back by positive benefits to them. The marketing manager in Corporation A uses the influence of yearly reward to entice employees to work harder. The effect of this power can be seen in the Employee 1’s work habit. He strives to work long hours a day and also to spend his weekends in the office in order to receive a large bonus at the end of the year, from the expected high rating in the yearly evaluation.
However, the employee 1 can be seen as reacting to the coercive power that is brought about by the fear of not being able to afford his planned vacation without the bonus. As noted by Robbins (2009), people react to the coercive power out of fear of the negative outcomes of their failure to comply with the requirements. Employee 1’s hard work is therefore just but a reaction to the coercive power indirectly held by the management through the yearly bonus based on the performance appraisal.
Employee 2 on other hand demonstrates an expert based power by which he is able to influence the accounting manager to compress his work hours. According to Ricketts, possession of knowledge or expertise in a particular area leads to expert or knowledge power (Ricketts, 2009). Due to the common belief that knowledge is power, Employee 2 takes advantage of the lack of another qualified accountant to prepare the company’s financial statements to negotiate his ways to the shortened working hours per week.
Consequently, the accounting manager displays his formal powers to create a different work schedule for the employee 2. Formal power, also known as positional position, is the power based on an individual’s position is the organization’s hierarchy (Daft, 1998). Both the accounting and the marketing managers have been formally given the authority to oversee the operations in the two departments. This authority has therefore empowered them to make decisions, coerce and reward employees in the respective departments.
The marketing manager uses his formal powers to remind the employees to work beyond the normal working hours per week in order to receive a better bonus at the end of the year. This is an indirect application of the manager’s reward and coercive powers. The positive minded employees would then see the yearly bonus as an enticement to work harder while the negative minded employees would as well be coerced in to working hard by their fear of not receiving the yearly bonus and low rating during end year appraisal.
Finally, the relatively new employee 3 displays referent power. Referent power referred to as one of the personal powers based on an individual’s identification as one with desirable resources or personal traits (Daft, 1998). Employee 3, in the case study of corporation A enjoys this power as a result of winning the respect and admiration of his fellow employees, who are relatively older and experienced in the corporation’s operations.