Types of Power in Management

Chapter 10 of Criminal Justice Organizations outlines five different types of power in management. Which of these types of power do you believe is most desirable to have? Which is the least? Why? If you could have one of these as your source of power in a management position, which would it be? Why?

Five types of power in management are: reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, and expert. (Stojkovic, Kalinich and Klofas,Page 247 chapter 10)

Reward power means an employee believes they are going to get some type of reward for doing their job. The reward could be pay, days off, etc. The employee believes the reward will be coming from the supervisor.

Coercive power is a supervisor intimidating an employee to do the work or they can be fired or demoted. This can be compared to someone having a power trip complex.

Legitimate Power is an officer believing that the orders being given are true even if they may be coming from a higher power that does not normally give out orders to the police. An example used is an officer receiving powers from the Chief of Police and the commanding officer follows through to make sure their officers are conducting the instructions. The officer believes in his commander as he works with them all of the time and although the Chief is the highest manager, the officer knows that the commander is the one who will be making sure follow through takes place.

Referent power is when one person has an attraction somehow to the person giving the power. The individual will basically do anything the person with power says because the attraction is so strong. An example could be a group of teens with one teen just trying to become one of the members and they tell him to jump off a bridge. The outsider is going to do it because he wants to be part of the group due to the attraction the group holds.

Expert power is based on one individual believing that another individual has so much expertise in an area that they believe everything that is being told to them. The example used was the client/attorney example.

I believe the most desirable power to have would be the expert power. I would want someone to believe in what I am doing or saying based on the knowledge I had. I would be an individual who would not abuse this power though. If I didn’t know the information, then I would either say I didn’t know it or learn more about it. Some individuals act like they know things when they don’t know a thing about a certain topic. The least desirable power to me would be reward power. I do not think individuals should have to be conned into believing that a reward will be coming to them if they work hard enough. The example used in the book was with a supervisor and workers in a factory. The supervisor would pay them if they follow through with everything the supervisor says. I see this situation more like a sweat shop.

If I had to have one of these traits I would want the expertise or legitimate power. I would want to be respected in my field in regards to the expertise field and I would want others to believe that what I am saying is true and needs to be followed through as in the legitimate power.

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