Power & Politics - Coursework Example

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In the paper “Power & Politics” the author analyzes the concepts of power seeing a close association between leadership and power. He divides the power into five varied types. They are coercive power, reward power, legitimate power, referent power and expert power…
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Power & Politics
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Power & Politics Table of Contents Concept of Power and Politics 3 French and Raven’s Five Forms of Power 3 Application of Power 4 References 6Bibliography 7
Concept of Power and Politics
Power can be defined as the ability of an individual to conquer resistance in attainment of the desired objectives. Power, as defined in context of the ability of policy actors to address the issues, is based upon three main foundations. These foundations interact in order to give form, shape and meaning to power. Politics, on the other hand, can be defined as the behavior to influence the allocation of advantages as well as disadvantages in an organisation. It is worthy of mentioning the fact that there is close association between leadership and power. Those people are followed who tend to be powerful. Since general people follow the persons who have adequate power, therefore they are observed to lead (Management Consulting Courses, 2012).
French and Raven’s Five Forms of Power
One of the well-known descriptions of power is observed by French and Raven where power is divided into five varied types. They are coercive power, reward power, legitimate power, referent power and expert power (Milkovich &, 1999).
Coercive power often takes place when a person is forced to do any work or activity against his/her will. It is often physical in nature; however, other threats are used as well. Reward power means to offer others with the necessary requirements and therefore to ask them to do certain tasks in exchange. The power which is invested in a role is called legitimate power. The managers, emperors and policemen tend to possess legitimate power. Legitimacy is often derived from higher power usually with coercive power. Referent power is often defined as the power that is derived from the other person, e.g. liking someone or wanting to be someone. Possessing the knowledge and skills that can be used by the other person is referred to as expert power (Odessa College, 2009).
Application of Power
Oprah Winfrey is one of the most powerful women in the modern day context. The power that Oprah Winfrey possesses is expert power. She is well aware of the fact that she is quite influential all over the world and therefore realises her responsibility and an opportunity to assist others to grow intellectually. Oprah Winfrey has power which is evident from the US President Barack Obama’s election bid. It was identified that by means of her endorsements, President was capable of gathering many extra votes which led him to the highest position. However, it has been found that her power has certain limitations. Her power to encourage and persuade others rests on her capability to align her supporters to any aspect that people can identify with. She needs to have the capability to bring together the idea, repack it if required so that it is aligned with the interest of the mass (Miller, 2004).
Alan Sugar is the other influential personality of present times. It can be mentioned that Alan Sugar seems to be exercising referent power. Referent power is the situation where a person gains the right to obtain respect from others because of perceived attractiveness, personal characteristics as well as reputation. Alan Sugar achieved reputation so that he can expect respect as one of the most influential leaders.
Thus, it can be concluded that power has a noteworthy role to play in the attainment of the goals of the organisations. They must be exercised properly by the leaders for the betterment of the organisation and must not be exercised for the sake of own benefits (Pereira, 2008).
Miller, L. E., 2004. The Changing Nature of Celebrity From Entertainer To Entrepreneur: Oprah Winfrey As Tastemaker. Abstract. [Online] Available at: [Accessed February 06, 2012].
Milkovich, G. T. & et. al., 1999. Organisational Behavior and Management. McGraw Hill.
Management Consulting Courses, 2012. Lesson:-30 Power and Organizational Politics. Organisational Politics. [Online] Available at: [Accessed February 06, 2012].
Odessa College, 2009. Trait and Style. Leadership Defined. [Online] Available at: [Accessed February 06, 2012].
Pereira, V., 2008. Power, Politics and Conflict. Sources of Power. [Online] Available at: [Accessed February 06, 2012].
Bloisi, W. & et. al., 2003. Management and Organisational Behaviour. McGraw Hill Higher Education. Read More
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