Introduction to the French and Raven five bases of power
French and Raven advocates the five sources of power in the organization. The five bases of power refers to the coercive power, reward power, legitimate power, expert power, and referent power.
Coercive power is a power based on fear. A boss who behaves like a dictator has coercive power.
A manager who has the hiring and firing power, as well as the promotional power has the reward power. Those employees who want to gain promotion know better than to offend their manager.
Legitimate power is the power accord to the personholding a certain position. For example, the President of America has the power to represent the country to sign binding treaty.
The Finance Manager in the company has the power to authorize payments. The HR Manager has the power to make hiring decision.
A person with expert knowledge has expert power. If the person has rare and indepth knowledge of a subject, he is hard to replace. He enjoys job security that comes with expert power.
In a restaurant, a chef is treated like a king, since he possesses expert power. Once the
Referent power is based on the relationship with an important person. A secretary has referent power due to her close working relationship with the boss.
Conclusion to the French and Raven five bases of power
Many people in the organization hold different power. Nobody, not even the boss, has absolute power.
Many bosses fear that their employees with the expert power resign and serve the competitors. That is why the person with the expert power has job security.
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