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The Five Bases of Power and Communication

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The Five Bases of Power and Communication

Power is a fundamental element of management that comes from five sources of power, coercive power, legitimate power, referent power, expert power, and reward power. These powers fall into two power systems of management, personal power, and formal power.

Formal powers are easy to recognize, and position based

Coercive power

Coercive power is a source of power that force employee to comply through the threat of punishment. Fear of being demoted, unfairly treated, or dismissed, allows people with coercive powers to rule over the fearful. A manager can uses coercive powers to control others to follow by communicating that failure to obey will lead to punishment. When a manager succeeds at coercive power, unhappy employees can pull the plug on jobs. The negative factors coercive power leads to a lack of commitment, decline in productivity, and insecurity in employees. This source of power leaves employees with no choice and the risk losing their jobs if they do not do what their told. Managers rely on fact that employees are dependent on their jobs for money, benefits, and security. Coercive power is a barrier to effective communication. If the employees are fearful, communication will shut down.

Referent power

Referent power centers on the manager's personal traits and the need others have to associate with people of influence. Referent power is a need of an employee to identify with a manager because of the authority. A manager who uses referent power can command respect and loyalty and relies on personality and charisma. Employees work hard and respond well to a manager's use of referent power because it is the employee choice rather than a manager's way. Referent power dominates negotiation and is a force in effective communications between employees and management. If asked to do something employees under referent power communicates with a nonverbal expression of a smile.

Legitimate power

The power a manager has because of position. Legitimate power is basic and a clear-cut source of power in management. This power comes from the formal position of a manager in the company. Managers with power and influence get compliance from employees because they think the manager has the right, by benefit of position. Legitimate power is power obtained from the manager's experience and title as viewed by employees.

The manager has power over employees, even when employees believe they have better way of complete a task, out of respect, employees will followed the manager's way. Effective communication with legitimate power comes with an ease because employees comply with the requests.

Personal powers are less obvious and based

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