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Power And Interdependence In Organizations

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Sam was thinking the whole day about his new assignment in his dream company Coptic Inc. Sam had already equipped himself with a lot of information about the company where they used different kinds of power to stimulate leadership among the employees. Also, the organization leadership exercised power with complete autonomy where the leaders would command the employees in any activity so as to achieve results. Sam knew that there were many organizations which were known for their misuse of power that led to such organizations losing customers due to bad reputation. There were myriad of questions that Sam asked himself while at Coptic Inc. among the questions, two of them came out very strongly. Is the power that is used in organizations, provide people with guidelines so as to achieve the required results? Another question was, is the systematic use of authority and power consequential when the capabilities and talents of the employees are known?

On the first day of Sam’s orientation, he was introduced to senior officials in the company, his teammates and also taken through the future of the company. As his first assignment, their team was allocated a challenging task. Sam was happy because their team leader was very profound with adequate knowledge and skills on the task at hand. After some weeks Sam acclimatized himself into the new environment and came to understand about power very well. Despite the fact that Sam provided quality work, he was not in a position to comprehend the reason why his senior was not impressed by his work. The quality expectation of his senior was far much high. His senior reiterated that his presentations were not up to the standards. For this reason, Sam had a hard time to be able to confront his senior anymore since he was afraid to be demotivated by being told that his work was bogus.


As pointed out by Beycioglu, (2014), it needs to be understood that power is very momentous and it is an opportunity that leaders of an organization can use to connect with employees. Moreover, an open type of leadership should be used to know what problems the employees are going through. In his experience at Coptic Inc. Sam came to realize that power in an organization can exist as a result of the structure of an organization. The structure of an organization implies the hierarchy of those people who are in power (Tannenbaum, Weschler and Massarik, 2013). Case in point, when the hierarchy of an organization is long, then it means that such an organization is likely to impose an authoritarian type of leadership. Sam realized that it is power that influences and reflects the kind of behavior and beliefs that the employees have. For instance, if his senior would have explained to Sam where his problem was in his presentation, then Sam would have the ability to correct and make a better presentation.

There are different types of relationship that exists in an organization, they include, manager to employee, employee to employee and manager to manager (Burtis and Turman, 2010). Manager to employee relationship, use of power is extremely significant since it has an effect on the performance of the employees (Monarth, 2013). In this type of relationship, the work output is greatly determined.  When there is articulate and less commanding information, employees will be in position to understand and follow to the latter. When Sam saw it is important that he discusses the issue with his coworkers on how to make his work better, he was able to understand the different kinds of power that exist in his new workplace. The forms of power that Sam came into knowledge of include;

Power equals influence. When an individual is in a position of authority, especially in an organization power is lend to such a person. However, borrowed power is not effective as one that is brought forth when one is in a position of leadership. Power in an organization is separated into two forms, personal power, and social power. The basis of use of power in an organization to ensure that employees and resources are mobilized so as to achieve organizational goals and targets (Griffin, 2017).  Power in an organization depends on the structure of an organization in which in different positions, roles and responsibilities accompanies each position. Reward power in organization defines a manager's ability to recognize work done by the subordinates through recognition such as pay rise or promotions. This kinds of recognition are usually verbal reward or monetary rewards. According to Knippenberg, (2005), the source of personal power in an organization is expert power. This is based on the skills and knowledge of a manager regarding handling a particular task. Through the prowess depicted by a manager by showing off one managerial skill, a manager can be recognized by the subordinates and able to attain the status of admiration. The last kind of power is the coercive power, this type of power is used by a manager to administer punishment to the team members and the subordinates upon making a mistake (Carroll, 2015). There are many forms of punishments that one can exercise with the use of coercive power. Case in point, a manager, can draft a warning letter, pay cuts or suspensions. Consequently, coercive power can be used when an employee actions are not in tandem with the company’s policies or are not tolerable by any person. Using coercive power is a way of showing that actions which do not depict the peaceful existence in an organization are not condoned (House, 2004).


After having fruitful discussions with his co-workers, who were also part of his team on ways he can improve his work, he was able to come to the realization on why the seniors behaved the way they did in the company. For a long time, Sam had a lot in mind on why his performance was below the bar for a long time besides ensuring that he presented his work long before the stipulated deadline. Sam’s work was always returned for corrections after which were later passed. However, Sam was always reminded by his senior that he had the potential of performing better. Due to his friendly nature, Sam made a lot of friends in different departments. Due to his profound relationship with other people, Sam was able to hear stories about power regarding various leaders. Sam learned that those who were in charge of team members had total control of the team. They depicted a sense of superiority because they had a sharp knowledge and competed for skills on various tasks thus being the head to teams. Those in charge of teams were the numero-unos, and their word was final and beyond dispute. What still baffled Sam was the source of power the people in the story had. Sam believed that team leader who exercised that kind of power must have received a go ahead from a certain source that Sam wanted to enquire.  For this reason, he decided to meet the team leaders to have a better understanding of the power being practiced.

Coptic Inc. is a company that is known for its pool of talents from people across nations to come work for it. For this reason, Coptic Inc. has people who work with a lot of confidence and depict people who are committed to the various assignments. In his quest for a type of power at Coptic Inc. Sam was able to note that power is represented as the ability to exercise communication in a conscious and subconscious state. Sam was able to be provided with the information of how power is manifested and perceived in latent, manifest and invisible power (Tjosvold, 2009). Manifest power is the power that is seen among those who exercise power by letting people know what they are capable of. Case in point manifest power is visible when a manager comes up with strategies, and other attempts to conflict with management. Latent power is a power which can not only be seen but also felt. For instance when someone is granted a wish by a manager, it is a form of latent power. Invisible type of power is the type of power that cannot be seen but can only be felt. This type of power is executed with a lot of awareness, and proper judgment is applied at every instance a decision is made.


With this discussion, Sam was aware of the type of action that a manager can take and the type of power that runs through his team. Sam was able to realize that there are no set standards that are practiced by any of the managers but it depends on the personality of the individual who is practicing the power. In addition, power is practiced according to the situation and condition of tasks that is, at hand and also the type of environment that a leader would like to create for a team. Sam’s group was dynamic in nature due to the different kind of diversities that was depicted by the team members. The leader was responsible for directing the team members of the goals that were to be attained for the completion of a task.

Power is intertwined with organizational behavior and is majorly practiced through manager-employee relationship (Holland, Cooper, and Hecker, 2015). Being new in the organization Sam was in the race of showing his capability by giving his work promptly. Sam was not aware that he was practicing latent power whereas his senior was practicing expert power. This means that Sam’s senior wanted work which depicted quality and competence regarding the work that is assigned. Latent power is usually practiced by people who are working with managers who are experts in the certain field (Odeku, and Animashaun, 2012). Sam could not be able to confront the manager why hi work was rejected because he had a fear of losing the task and eventually his job. As much as Sam was aware that he was working with an expert in the field, he feared being told of his incompetence since his senior credentials surpassed his. Also, Sam was unable to inquire why despite his hard work he could not achieve the required recognition on the assignments that he handled. His use of latent power deters him from having the testicular fortitude to go and inquire even from his colleagues on why his work was being rejected at every instance or why he got reworks in his works.

Oyler and Mildred, (2009) suggests that power is the sole tool that managers have that separate them from the other employees. Managers use power to ensure that they point the resources of an organization to a particular direction. Organizations consist of different people with different personalities. This means that managers are required to understand that different employees have different attitudes and personality and they all require a different kind of power so as to be managed. It should be noted that power is divided into social and personal power which are further divided into legitimate, reward, and coercive powers (Buckham, 2013).


Managers use the above powers in different ways and different instances so as to achieve different objectives (Chang, 2012). Legitimate power depends on the hierarchical structure of an organization where each person has a person to answer. Reward power is where the manager has the capability of being able to reward the employees’ good work through incentives such as pay rise and promotions. Coercive power is used by the managers to rate the behaviors that are not tolerable to the company policies. Manager uses coercive power to administer punishments to employees who have gone against the rules. It is imperative to understand that power is very important in shaping the conduct of the employees.



Beycioglu, K. (2014). Multidimensional perspectives on principal leadership effectiveness. 1st ed. IGI Global.

Buckham, R. H. (2013). Appreciating the narrative basis of workplace hope experience. Journal of Organisation and Human Behaviour, 2(1), 7-13. Retrieved from

Burtis, J. and Turman, P. (2010). Leadership communication as citizenship. 16th ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, p.166.

Carroll, C. (2015). The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Reputation. 1st ed. Somerset: Wiley, p.311.

Chang, C. (2012). Professional counseling excellence through leadership and advocacy. 1st ed. New York [u.a.]: Routledge.

Griffin, R. (2017). Organized Behavior in Action: Cases and Exercises. 8th ed. Cengage Learning, p.125.

Holland, P. J., Cooper, B., & Hecker, R. (2015). Electronic monitoring and surveillance in the workplace. Personnel Review, 44(1), 161-175. Retrieved from

House, R. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations. 1st ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Knippenberg, D. (2005). Leadership and power. 1st ed. London: Sage Publ.

Monarth, H. (2013). Breakthrough communication: a powerful 4-step process for overcoming resistance and getting results. 1st ed. McGraw Hill Professional, p.12.

Odeku, K., & Animashaun, S. (2012). Ensuring equality at the workplace by strengthening the law on prohibition against discrimination. African Journal of Business Management, 6(12), 4689-4699. doi:

Oyler, J. D., & Mildred, G. P. (2009). Workplace diversity in the united states: The perspective of peter drucker. Journal of Management History, 15(4), 420-451. doi:

Tannenbaum, R., Weschler, I. and Massarik, F. (2013). Leadership and Organization. 1st ed. Routledge, p.26.

Tjosvold, D. (2009). Power and interdependence in organizations. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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