Joined: May 2006
Basic concepts, copy-pasted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_(philosophy)
POWER: A relative measure of the ability to control the physical and social environment, particularly the thoughts and behaviors of other entities ("actors").
Aspects of Power:
(1) Power to (Outcome Power) -- the ability of an actor to bring about or help bring about outcomes
(2) Power over. (Social Power) -- the ability of an actor to change the incentive structures of other actors in order to bring about outcomes.
Sources/Bases of Power:
Also called "Legitimate Power", it refers to power of an individual because of the relative position and duties of the holder of the position within an organization. Legitimate Power is formal authority delegated to the holder of the position. It is usually accompanied by various attributes of power such as uniforms, offices etc. This is the most obvious and also the most important kind of power.
Referent Power means the power or ability of individuals to attract others and build loyalty. It's based on the charisma and interpersonal skills of the power holder. A person may be admired because of specific personal trait, and this admiration creates the opportunity for interpersonal influence. Here the person under power desires to identify with these personal qualities, and gains satisfaction from being an accepted follower. Nationalism or Patriotism counts towards an intangible sort of referent power as well. For example, soldiers fight in wars to defend the honor of the country. This is the second least obvious power, but the most effective. Advertisers have long recognized referent power in making use of sports figures for products endorsements, for example. The charismatic appeal of the sports star supposedly leads to an acceptance of the endorsement, although the individual may have little real credibility outside the sports arena.
Expert Power is an individual's power deriving from the skills or expertise of the person and the organization's needs for those skills and expertise. Unlike the others, this type of power is usually highly specific and limited to the particular area in which the expert is trained and qualified.
Reward Power depends upon the ability of the power wielder to confer valued material rewards, it refers to the degree to which the individual can give others a reward of some kind such as benefits, time off, desired gifts, promotions or increases in pay or responsibility. This power is obvious but also ineffective if abused. People who abuse reward power can become pushy or became reprimanded for being too forthcoming or 'moving things too quickly'.
Coercive Power means the application of negative influences onto employees. It might refer to the ability to demote or to withhold other rewards. It's the desire for valued rewards or the fear of having them withheld that ensures the obedience of those under power. Coercive Power tends to be the most obvious but least effective form of power as it builds resentment and resistance within the targets of Coercive Power.
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