8 Sources of Power in an Organization

Morgan has identified a number sources of power. This source may be more effective or sometimes less effective. Here is a list of sources of power in an organization with brief discussion has also been given in the following points:

Sources of power in an organization

  1. Formal authority: The simplest form of power is that vested in the position of manager. The basic employment transaction is we give you money; you do as you are told. Of course, there are much more ways that power can be exerted, and in particular in motivating people more effectively such as is found in transformational leadership. In our society, the person having formal power very often abuses their power. But unfortunately, they are not brought under any law or accountable system in some cases.
  2. Control of scarce resources: Other than directing employees, managers control budgets and the assets and other resources that the firm holds, from technology to people. A part of this control is the ability to allocate these resources to projects and other work. Control over resources makes the person more powerful and people give him some sort of additional importance. Thus, the intelligent people try to gain control over resources. But in the private organizations of Bangladesh, owners retain such power and limit others power. It is not unsurprising that many of the political battles in organizations are over control of resources and empire building is a classic game, with a significant risk that organizational goals get forgotten in the cut and thrust of winning and losing control of resources.
  3. Use of organizational structure, rules, and regulationsOrganizations have hierarchs, departments, teams, and other structures, often each with its own rules as well as the rules that govern the activities of the organization as a whole. Power can also be gained from quoting rules that do not exist or misquoting rules by overstating or understating their meaning. Proper use of status and position in the organization structure and following the set rules/regulations can be another source of power.
  4. Control of decision processes: By managing how decisions are made, for example, by requiring consensus or senior-manager sign-off, the power of some people may be curtailed whilst others gain the ability to shape decisions. When decisions are made in committee or their meetings, the person who chairs the meeting or keeps the minutes may have notable power to control decisions. In a democratic society, control of decision process in more difficult than that of an authoritarian society. In Bangladesh, though everybody tells about democracy, in a good number of situations and organizations, both the forms are available.
  5. Control of knowledge and information: Knowledge is power, as they say, and how you gather and distribute it is a source of power, protecting their elevated status by hiding the sources of their knowledge and exacting high process (whether financial or social) for their learned opinions. The knowledgeable persons can dictate the users of information and thus they are adored by the society in general and organizational people in general.

    Sources of Power
  6. Control of boundaries: The structures and groups of the organization are only so because they have boundaries which people cross in order to access resources and meet people. Thus, for example, an executive’s Personal Assistant may have disproportionate power in the ability to allow access or not to the executive.
  7. Ability to cope with uncertainty: Such people can gain position by taking on work that others fear and are a common route for upwardly mobile go-getters who seek early promotion. Uncertainty in closely related to business and industrial organizations as well as service organizations. The person who can anticipate the uncertainties effectively and about the possible ways to overcome the challenges may become prominent and can gain and use power.
  8. Control of technology: Technology is (or should be) an enabler, providing data, access and other benefits. Having the latest technology can also be a status symbol, thereby giving the holder social power in the way they can show themselves to be influential and clever. In Bangladesh, people are becoming more attracted to technologies which can help them substantially to achieve productivity or serviceability target. More control over technology can be a significant source of power of people and that can help them to compete in the country to expand the business abroad and thus they may be powerful.

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