Most Effective Form of Power

In Chapter 13, we have learned about Power. In section 3. 1, there is a discussion regarding the 6 bases of power. Which type of power do you feel is most effective? Do you possess any of these powers? Please feel free to draw from outside of the business world if you would like. There are six different types of power to include legitimate power, reward power, coercive power, expert power, information power, and referent power. Upon studying the lesson from Chapter 13, I believed the most effective type of power is referent power, “the ability to attract others, win their admiration, and hold them spellbound” (Bauer & Erdogan, 2012).
Unfortunately, I was studying the material as if each individual only holds one type of power. Throughout my research on this topic, I came across an article by Harold Fuqua, Jr. , Kay Payne, and Joseph Cangemi who state, “an effective leader rarely depends on only one source or base of power” (n. d. ). With this, I discovered the most effective type of power is actually a combination of expert, reward, and referent power. Based on my personal experiences, I have come to the following conclusions regarding the three different types of power that are the most effective when combined.
Expert power is “power that comes from knowledge and skill” (Bauer & Erdogan, 2012). Expert power is important because those who look up to you “will be dependent on your wisdom and knowledge to help them succeed” (Exforsys Inc. , 2006). In addition, people must not only believe it but must see it so it is imperative for a leader to ensure their “actions speak louder than their words” (Exforsys Inc. , 2006). I personally find this to be true. In the legal field, expert witnesses are used during courts to testify as to validity of certain evidence.

Past experience working with the panel members (equivalent to civilian jury) shows they put more credibility into an expert witness who speaks in terms of science verse an expert witness who tries to dumb it down regardless of their actual knowledge level. Reward power, “the ability to grant a reward, such as an increase in pay, a perk, or an attractive job assignment” (Bauer & Erdogan, 2012), at first glance seem to be the most effective type of power. Most people will strive to complete a job if there is something in it for them at the end.
However a 1999 survey of performance-based work/life programs showed only “66. 8% of the respondents determine the impact of this type of program would improve employee satisfaction” (Prudden, n. d. ). This statistic shows although it might sometimes be an effective type of power, it is not necessarily the most effective. In addition, Liz Prudden points out several potential pitfalls to a reward program, one of which stood out in my mind as the largest downfall, to “match the reward and recognition to the recipient” (Prudden, n. . ). I find this to be true because if you have two individuals’ working toward a specific goal number, but one individuals’ tasks are more difficult and time consuming, the easier tasked worker has a higher chance of reaching the goal first and therefor obtaining the reward. Finally, referent power is “power that stems from the personal characteristics of the person such as the degree to which we like, respect, and want to be like them” (Bauer & Erdogan, 2012).
Referent power is important because “Power is the individual’s capacity to move others, to entice others, to persuade and encourage others to attain specific goals or to engage in specific behavior; it is the capacity to influence and motivate others” (Fuqua, Jr. , Payne & Cangemi, n. d. ). To truly have somebody follow a leader, they need to like or respect the leader. As an example, I previously had a supervisor that I hated. I followed her orders and direction because I had to, but no additional effort was made to go above and beyond.
However, I now work for a supervisor that I admire and strive to be like. Now I find myself working harder and am more productive than I was with my prior supervisor. There is no perfect single type of power and rarely will life require only one type of power to truly motivate others. It is imperative to have multiple types of power in order to effectively motivate others in all situations and scenarios. I personally have achieved expert power and referent power. I have expert power in my job because I have been doing the job for eight years, more than most paralegals as many others transfer in nd out while I have only done paralegal work. As such, I have worked extensively in all areas of our career field and am normally the one assigned to train others. I know I have referent power because I have attorneys vying to have me be placed on their team. I have others striving to constantly have a good attitude and smile like I do (so I have been told). These two areas that I have gained some power in, but I have a lot to strive for in the future to obtain more power options.
References
Bauer, T., & Erdogan, B. (2012). Organizational behavior. (Version 1.1, Ch. 13). Irvington, NY: Flat World Knowledge Inc. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=http://ebooks.apus.edu/MGMT311/Bauer_Ch13-15.pdf
Exforsys Inc. (2006). The importance of using expertise to lead. Retrieved from http://www.exforsys.com/career-center/leadership-skills/the-importance-of-using-expertise-to-lead.html
Fuqua, Jr., H., Payne, K., & Cangemi, J. (n.d.). Leadership and the effective use of power. Informally published manuscript, Western Kentucky University, Retrieved from http://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Fuqua,%20Jr.,%20Harold%20E.%20Leadership%20and%20the%20Effectives%20Use%20of%20Power.pdf
Prudden, L. (n.d.). Reward and recognition. Retrieved from http://edweb.sdsu.edu/people/arossett/pie/Interventions/incentivesrewards_1.htm

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