Several theories have emerged on organizational power. These theories of organizational power are discussed below:
- Power dependence theory
- Social exchange theory
- Strategic contingency theory
- Critical Contingencies Model
- Mintzberg’s theory
All of these four theories are discussed in the following paragraphs:
Theories of organizational power
1. Power Dependence Theory
This theory has been developed by Richard Emerson. According to this theory, power is inherent in any social relationship in which one person is dependent on others.
This dependence is directly proportional to one’s motivational investment in the goals motivated by another. Sometimes this dependence is inversely proportional to the availability of those goals.
We can explain in other words that if a person has something we want badly and we cannot get if any other place, but that person has power over us.
The main components of this theory are social between two parties and resources (commodities, goals, rewards, etc.) which are controlled by one parity and directed by another.
2. Social Exchange Theory
The social exchange theory has been developed by French and Raven. This theory states that what goes on between persons is the outcome of the exchange of social commodities. These commodities include:
- Rejection and so forth.
In the case of an exchange relationship when what we receive others are equivalent to or in excess of what we must give to others. When the net balance for us is positive, we will continue the exchange relationship otherwise we will terminate the exchange relationship, social interaction represents an exchange of social goods and services.
3. Strategic contingency Theory
Salancik and Pfeffer proposed this theory of organizational power. This theory/model asserts that power is an organization that accrues to the subunits (individuals, units, departments, etc.). These sources include:
- Control of Resource
- Control of technical skill
- Control of a body of knowledge
- Legal prerogatives and
- Access to powerful people
If all these conditions favor and sources are available, power can be used properly.
4. Critical Contingencies Model
This model of power has been discussed by D.J Hickson and his associated C.R. Hennings, C.A. Lee, R.H. Scheck, and J.M. Pennings. According to this model, three contingency factors can help to gain intergroup power.
It is most important for solving organizational problems. The problems created from environmental uncertainties may be solved by using this power.
This theory supports the notion that those who have something highly valued by others might have power. This type of power is considered something as special expertise that is needed for organizational survival.
5. Mintzberg’s Theory
Henry Mintzberg has designed this theory. This theory of power is built on the premise that organizational behavior is a power game in which various players (influences) wants to control company decisions and activities.
Three conditions are supposed to be fulfilled for the exercise of power. These conditions are:
- Some sources or bases of power
- The expenditure of energy
- Politically skillful way
- According to Mintzberg, five sources of power can help the executives to control the situation.
Related Content of Organizational Power:
- What is the Meaning of Organizational Power?
- Two Faces of Power Proposed by David McClelland
- Tactical Dimensions or Strategies of Power
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Autocratic Leadership
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Democratic Leadership
- What is the Definition of Authority?
- What are the Characteristics of Authority?
- Difference between Power, Authority, and Influence
- Difference between Power and Authority
- The Elements of Power
- Importance of Power in an Organization
- Sources of Power in an Organization
- Forms of Power in an Organization
- Measurement of Power in an Organization
- Disadvantages of Individual Power
- Impact of Power on Others
- Unequal Power in a Team