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Types of power


Posted Date: 06-Jul-2009  Last Updated:   Category: Education    
Author: Member Level: Gold    Points: 20



. Formal power is a type of power that is occupied by the person in the organisation. It comes from the position being occupied by the person in the organisation. This type of power is derived from the organization structure and positions being occupied by the persons in the organization structure. The higher position in organisation structure means that the person enjoys more power in the organisation. Whenever any individual accepts some formal position in the organisation of performing routine jobs then organisation gives him formal power and authority to accomplish jobs that are related to jobs and tasks. The persons having formal persons are generally considered more powerful than persons having informal powers. There are four types of formal powers that are found in organisations and they are legitimate, reward, coercive and informative power.


Informal power is a type of power that is not given formally by the organization. The persons who hold informal powers do not have positional power in the organisation.
Despite the fact that they hold positional powers, these people are as powerful as them. This is because of their knowledge, skills, personality etc. There are three types of informal powers and they are expert power, referent power and charismatic power.


Legitimate Power and Coercive Power are formal powers. Both these forms of power are derived from the organisation structure and positions being occupied by the individuals in the organisation structure. They are of same category but are different in m any ways.

Legitimate Power is a type of formal power that is used to control and use the organisational resources to achieve organisational goals. It provides the legal authority to the person over the organisational resources. Legitimate power is considered to be the most powerful and ultimate source of an individual’s power in the organisation. It is also broader than the coercive power and reward power. The legitimate power includes acceptance of positional authority by members of an organisation. This type of power helps a manager to controls the organisational resources as well as can control the behaviour of their subordinates.


Coercive Power is a type of power that is dependent on fear. It is the power to give punishment or withhold it. This type of power is used by the people out of fear of negative results that might occur if one failed in his goals. Coercive power can demote, terminate and suspend others. Coercive power includes frustrating others through restriction of movement or controlling by force the basic physiological or safety needs, withholding praise and goodwill. Coercive power is exercised by the individual because of his physical strength, high tones, filthy languages, or the ability to grant or withhold emotional support from others.
. Expert Power is a type of informal power that exists in every organisation. This type of power is influenced and wielded as a result of expertise, special skill, or knowledge possessed by the individuals. In modern world, expertise has become one of the most powerful sources of influence. As the world is becoming more technically oriented, the importance of expert power has increased manifold. The influence of expert power is immense in every branch of modern organisations, individuals possessing unique knowledge and skills are able to wield power as a result of their expertise.


Charismatic Power is a deep-rooted form of referent power. This type of power is based on the emotions and feelings of the followers. It is based on the assumptions and belief that the leader has some exceptionally charismatic personality, ability and other characteristics that influence and inspire his followers to believe and follow that person. Charismatic power is normally found in religion, politics and unionism. The impact of charismatic power diminishes the importance of legitimate, coercive and reward power. Charismatic power vanishes if the leader vanishes from the scenario. This type of power cannot be delegated as the other fellows might not posses the same characteristics that were found in a charismatic leader. It has it demerits as the followers blindly follow their charismatic leader without understanding their responsibilities.


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Responses to "Types of power"
Author: Chitra    19 Dec 2013Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5
The famous social psychologists, John R. P. French and Bertram Raven, classified power into five bases. They are:
1) Coercive power
2) Legitimate power
3) Reward Power
4) Expert Power and
5) Referent power

As you have explained coercive power, legitimate power and expert power, I will explain the other two.

Reward Power: It is the power of giving persons, especially employees what they like, such as motivating factors including bonus, promotions etc or the power of reducing or cutting down certain things to motivate others, which includes, giving extra off from work by cutting down the work time and so on.

Referent power: This type of power is more or less related to charismatic power as here mainly the person is looked upon with admiration and as a role model.



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