Sources of Power

In: Social Issues

Submitted By fkadzakalowa
Words 1527
Pages 7
Legitimate power and authority are the same. Legitimate power is based on the subordinate’s perception that the leader has a right to exercise influence because of the leader’s role or position in the organisation (Laurie Mullins, 2005). Legitimate or position power, as it is sometimes called, is derived from a position of authority inside the organization, often referred to as “formal authority.” That is, the organization has given to an individual occupying a particular position the right to influence or direct certain other individuals. Those with legitimate power have the understood right to ask others to do things that are considered within the scope of their authority. When a manager asks an employee to work late to complete a project or to work on one task instead of another, he or she is exercising legitimate power. Managers can enhance their position power by formulating policies and procedures. For example, a manager might establish a requirement that all new hires must be approved by said manager, thus exercising authority over hiring (DuBrin, 2009).
Subordinates play a major role in the exercise of legitimate power. If subordinates view the use of power as legitimate, they comply (Gibson, Ivancevich, Donnelly, & Konopaske, 2012). That is, legitimate power covers a relatively narrow range of influence and, therefore, it may be inappropriate to overstep these bounds (Greenberg, 2011). For example, a boss may require his secretary to type a company document. However, it would be an abuse of power to ask that secretary to type his doctoral dissertation. The secretary may decide to complete the task, but doing so would not be within the scope of the boss’s formal authority. Legitimate authority is a person’s authority to make discretionary decisions as long as followers accept this discretion (Barnard, 1938: McShane & Von Glinow, 2012).
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