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Power, empowerment and leadership By David Paterson, Seth Raleigh and Robin Weber. Source: “Power and Leadership in Organizations: Relationships in Transition” By Edwin P. Hollander and Lynn R. Offermann, Feb. 1990, American Psychologist. Three forms of power.

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Power empowerment and leadership by david paterson seth raleigh and robin weber

Power, empowerment and leadershipBy David Paterson, Seth Raleigh and Robin Weber

Source: “Power and Leadership in Organizations: Relationships in Transition” By Edwin P. Hollander and Lynn R. Offermann, Feb. 1990, American Psychologist


Three forms of power
Three forms of power

  • Power over – dominance (found in coercive power)

  • Power to (empowerment)

  • Power from - independence

  • Forms are different from bases of power that can be exercised by any party, where a base is more what a manager would do to subordinates. Bases are methods of achieving these forms of power.


Leaders are perceived through
Leaders are perceived through

  • Implicit leadership theories (ILTs)

  • Followers’ ideas of what leaders should be like

  • Contingency models (it depends)

  • Fiedler’s least-preferred coworker (LPC) model contrasts task-oriented and relationship-oriented leader styles

  • Path-goal theory - Leader’s effectiveness in increasing motivation along a path leading to a goal (House)

  • Contingent on

  • The task

  • Characteristics of subordinates

  • Nature of subordinates’ group


Sharing power
Sharing power

  • Delegating – Allow others to make decisions

  • Higher participation, higher performance

  • Self-managed work teams successful


Barriers to empowerment
Barriers to empowerment

Belief that to empower others means you lose power

Can’t have negative consequences for actions of others all falling on leader

Not allowing subordinates to make mistakes

Welcome to Empowerment

You (on the road to empowerment)


Reward power vs coercive power
Reward Power vs. Coercive Power

  • Reward Power gives the manager the ability to obtain compliance by promising or granting rewards.

  • Coercive Power involves threats of punishment and actual punishment.


Legitimate power
Legitimate Power

  • Legitimate Power has to do with a formal position anchoring one’s authority. This can be either positive or negative.

  • Constructive vs. Destructive


Expert power
Expert Power

  • Expert Power involves valued knowledge or information which gives that particular individual an advantage in power.

  • Person 1: Company A isn’t doing too well right now but I think it will come back. I would make an investment.

  • Person 2: Looks to me that it’s going bankrupt.

  • Person 1: Hey, I’m the financial advisor. Invest. Trust me. It’s coming back.

  • Person 2: Well, if you think it’s best. I don’t want to feel like an idiot.


Referent power
Referent Power

  • Referent Power comes about when one’s personality becomes the reason with compliance. This is commonly seen in role models .


Empowerment in the workplace
Empowerment in the Workplace

  • Power is not a zero-sum situation!

  • Employees given a greater say in the workplace

  • Requires win-win thinking

  • Managers must follow the path of continuous improvement



Share information
Share Information

  • Open-book management

  • Build trust

  • Help to understand the business

  • Create self-monitoring


Let teams become the hierarchy
Let Teams Become the Hierarchy

  • Provide: encouragement, support for change, direction and training for new skills

  • Slowly let managers let go of control


Create autonomy through structure
Create Autonomy through Structure

  • Clarify clear vision

  • Create new decision-making rules to support empowerment

  • Use heavy doses of training


Thank you
Thank You

  • Questions ???


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