Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Organizational Behavior and Leadership



Organizational Behavior and Leadership


Power is defined as the possession of influence and authority by a person over other individuals. It is a tool which depending on the way it is applied, can result in either positive or negative results within an organization. There are mainly five bases of power that apply to organizations across the world. These are referent, expert, reward, legitimate, and coercive power (Hiriyappa, 2009). Some of these sources of power apply in the given scenario.

Referent power comes from interpersonal relations that an individual cultivates with other individuals within the organization. Individuals have this form of power when other people like and respect them. It is a result of charisma since the charismatic individual influences other people through respect, trust, and admiration for the person (Hiriyappa, 2009). The power is also derived from individual relations that an individual has with senior persons in the organization’s hierarchy. Referent power is demonstrated by employee 3 who is very charismatic, positive, well liked, and people are naturally drawn to the employee’s personality. The employee is chosen as a leader because of admiration from colleagues and enthusiasm.

There is legitimate power, which is also referred to as positional power and arises from the position one has in the organization’s hierarchy (Moorhead & Griffin, 2013). It is legitimately earned by the person. For instance, the CEO of an organization is said to have legitimate power as he is appointed by others who see him or her as a leader.

Expert power derives from having expertise and knowledge in a certain field. Such individuals are highly respected by organizations because of their skills in solving problems. Those who have this form of power execute crucial roles and are thus, considered indispensable. The ideas, decisions, and opinions of individuals with this power are valued by others in the organization. Having this power is usually a step to other bases of power including legitimate power. This power is demonstrated by employee 2. The employee is the only Certified Public Accountant and the only one who can prepare the company’s financial statements. This being the case, the employee has been allowed to work for four days a week.

Coercive power derives from an individual’s capacity to influence other people through punishments, threats, or sanctions. For instance, a junior worker may work late in order to beat a deadline and avoid certain disciplinary actions from his or her boss (Moorhead & Griffin, 2013). It refers, therefore, to the ability of an individual to fire, reprimand, or to punish another employee. This power helps in controlling employees’ behavior by making sure that they stick to norms and policies of the organization.

Reward power, on the other hand, is derived from a person’s ability to influence the allotment of incentives in an organization. The incentive may include positive appraisals, promotions, bonuses, and salary increments. Within organizations, people with this power influence other employees’ actions (Moorhead & Griffin, 2013). The power highly motivates employees if used well. However, if used through preference and favoritism, it can highly diminish the output of employees since it demoralizes them. Employee 1 demonstrates reward power as the company rewards large bonuses to employees who work hard. The employee works late and works on the weekends.


The relationship between power and dependency is well explained by the dependency theory. Power is the ability of making others do things that they would not do in normal circumstances. Power does not involve patronizing an individual, but how two individuals relate. It is important to specify over whom an individual has power. This is because power is not essentially transitive (Hiriyappa, 2009). The basis of power according to this theory is dependency. X depends on Y if X has needs and goals that Y is able to fulfill. For instance, a worker in an organization depends on the company for income. In the same way, the company must depend on employees for skills, brains, and labor.

Power-dependence relationship is well demonstrated in the scenario, by employee 1 and employee 2. The first employee has been working for the Corporation for 12 years in the marketing division. The company depends largely on the marketing skills of the employee in order to achieve its goals and objectives. Similarly, the individual depends on the company to earn the extra bonuses in order to cater for the vacation that cannot be afforded without such bonuses. For this reason, the employee works overtime (on weekends and late hours) to ensure that the goal is accomplished.

In addition, employee 2 demonstrates this relationship. The company is highly dependent on the employee especially because employee 2 is the only Certified Public Accountant in the organization, and the only one who is capable of preparing the financial statements of the company. Therefore, this relationship needs to be maintained for all parties to achieve their desired goals and needs. Failure to this results in conflicts among people in the organization.


Hiriyappa, B. (2009). Organizational behavior. New Delhi: New Age International.

Moorhead, G., & Griffin, R. W. (2013). Organizational behavior: managing people and organizations (4th ed., International student ed.). Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin.

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