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Using Shenoy's 5 Types of Power in Project Management - Acorn Industries Case Study

Legitimate Power


Various kinds of powers have been discussed in case of Acorn Industries which we can relate to powers defined by Shenoy. According to Shenoy, Power can be used in both manners – positively and adversely within the role of project manager to suit a leadership style. In this case, “legitimate power”, “reward power” and “referent power” look suitable to be used as conceptual part of the theory issued by Shivashankar Shenoy in his “5 Types of Power You Can Use As a Project Manager!”.

Legitimate Power: According to Shenoy, using legitimate power as a project manager is simply having power over your team to tell them what to do. Where the charge of control rests with the project manager, manager in charge decides over their compensation and appraisals. (Shenoy, 2013)

Example from Acorn Industries: In 1993, Acorn’s upper management is found to take decision.

Reward Power: According to Shenoy, Reward Power concerns project manager’s ability to fulfill desires and rewards of team/ subordinates, where project manager decides to increase the comfort of the team. The manager has control over the budget and simply decides on rewards that are paid out. (Shenoy, 2013)

Example from Acorn Industries: KMIP based program have been observed in Acorn’s Industries.

Referent Power: As per Shenoy’s theory, in case of Referent Power the project manager exhibits his association with people of higher power, leaving an image on your team where they tend to admire your reach; enjoying association with you. This is considered as the most common example in corporate world today and is also used in advertisement where brands usually connect association of idealistic celebrities to boost demand for themselves. (Shenoy, 2013)

Example from Acorn Industries: Project managers tend to show strong bond with the powerful people to obtain contracts.

A project manager can use the above-mentioned type of powers to impact performance of project team. Through referent power, manager tends to keep his team happy where the bond between the manager & team tends to strengthen up. Through Reward Power, a manager can influence the productivity and motivation of the team where for a higher reward, the team is likely to strive performance while through legitimate power, a manager can focus on taking decisions within his span of control, taking the right decisions and getting them implied.

While it has been for debate for a while, experts now agree that there is no particular management style that suits a given situation and while situation varies, different style along with variety of styles could be used to manage the situation ideally. (Scheid, 2015) While no management style could be the best style, each style should be considered when handling a project/situation.

As for the difference between “manipulation” and “influence”, it is found difficult to draw a line between the both. It is said, the difference is ideally understood when the situation is witnessed. While both imply actions, involving to make people do something ultimately making a benefit to person, manipulation is when a person tends to influence in such negative manner where the person being influenced does not receive the benefit while on the other hand, leadership influence is when the team and entire corporate tends to take benefit and not just the manager himself. (Coaching for Leaders, 2019)

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