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Power Bases in Leadership - Research Paper Example

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This study seeks to establish the power bases in an organizational setting, discussing the different sources of power and how they can be leveraged to achieve success. Exemplification through case scenarios will be applied to critically discuss the source of power. …
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Power Bases in Leadership
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Download file to see previous pages The paper tells that contemporary complex organizations require proper leveraging of power in order to achieve organizational goals and objectives. As Bal et al. argue, power is the ability to influence others, which leaders use to enhance the performance levels of their followers and to ensure their superiors and peers arrive at the best decisions. The traditional view of power in an organization revolves around the control that individuals at the tip of organizational hierarchy have. However, leaders of different levels within an organization have access to power, whose effective harnessing is key to organizational performance. The importance of power in the organizational setting justifies studies into it and its influences. The very first argument for the importance of power in an organization stems from the historical role of work groups in human history. People have formed groups to execute tasks and accomplish given goals, which forms the basis of an organization. However, the success of such groups is to a considerable extent dependent on the interrelationship of the individuals making the team. This relationship in an organization entails the dynamics between the leader, the followers and the environment created for the group. A wrong miscarriage of power as depicted by a toxic triangle consisting of destructive leaders with susceptible followers in abuse-conducive environments is a recipe for organizational failure. (Padila, Hogan and Kaiser 176). For instance, the leadership within an organization may develop the habit of exploiting the workforce through the power vested in them. Poor pay, overworking and overt and covert forms of vertical violence among other actions from the leadership are manifestations of such abuse of power (Van Vugt, Hogan and Kaiser 178). The motivation, commitment and thus performance of the employees may wane under such circumstances and thus inhibit productivity. In case the productivity remains high, the increased informed consumerism of today’s market may lead to the products of the firm being shunned when it is deemed that they abuse their employees (Crane et al. 287). Thus, how an organization manages its power within the hierarchy determines the direction and success of the organization. Sources of Organizational Power: The important role of power within an organization leads to the need to establish the bases of power; the different types of power and how they are obtained. There are five general bases of power within an organization; legitimate/positional, reward, coercive, expert and personal power (Kinicki and Williams 138). The discussion will focus on each source of power, critically analyzing how such power can be leveraged for the benefit of the organization, pitfalls and recommendations on how to maximize this power successfully. Legitimate/Positional Power: Positional power arises when a leader occupies a legitimate position of authority. The power is positional in that it resides in the office held; leaders get this power through being appointed to fill the position (Bal et al. 7). The organization specifies the powers held by the individual in that position and how such an individual can direct the subordinates. The legitimacy of positional power arises from the formal nature of the position. Examples of positions that have power in the organization include managers and chief executive officers. Individuals in such positions hold different levels of power, increasing as people move up in the hierarchy (9). For instance, junior level managers may have the power to recommend a promotion or punishment, while the CEO may offer the last word on the matter. Like any other form of power, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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