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Sources of Power, Essay Example

Pages: 1

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Essay

Introduction

In any organization there usually exist five different types of power that individuals can use for the benefit of themselves or the organization.  According to French and Raven, these five types of power are legitimate, reward, coercive, expert and referent (Alexandrou, 2008).  In my organization at the nursing home, these same powers are also evident.  Some of these sources of power are evident on a daily basis due to key power figures in the organization working positions of high title and upper level management responsibilities. Other sources of power are rarely seen because they involve personal behaviors that are often outside of the organizational structure and are only utilized by individuals looking to receive some sort of personal gain.  Within my organization, there does not appear to be many power struggles but there are occasionally organizational flaws in the structure of the nursing home employees that lead to power disputes and disagreements.

Most of the power within the nursing home comes from legitimate and expert power that has been given to employees through advancements or gained through experience within the company.  Many of the upper level management or even our floor supervisors are individuals that have been with the company for several years or may be considered experts within a certain area of the job responsibilities.  These are typically older individuals that have gained a wealth of knowledge from their experiences with the company and have been promoted.  This legitimate power is usually recognized by all employees and oftentimes these upper level employees receive complimentary treatment by younger or less-achieved employees by calling them “sir” or “ma’am” regularly.  The expert power that is used is also recognized mainly whenever there are problems or issues that need to be discussed and are deferred to the experience and knowledge of these individuals that may have dealt with similar experiences in the past.  When an individual in the nursing home has legitimate power, their orders are almost always followed and very few of their decisions are questioned.

None of the workers at the nursing home exercise coercive power to engage in behaviors that would only benefit themselves.  Most of the employees remain focused on what is in the best interests of the nursing home and the patients. Therefore, there are very seldom any power conflicts within the company.  Occasionally, there may be a conflict where an upper level manager is trying to use legitimate power over an individual with expert power.  There are several employees that have worked with the nursing home for decades and have gained expert knowledge, but this can often force the legitimate power individuals to feel inadequate and less knowledgeable over a topic.  A bulk of the conflict comes from upper level management creating new policies designed to keep lower employees in their place.  However, it is important to realize that this is not a major issue; this is only where most of the minimal conflict may occur.  Overall, the work environment and delegation of power is very efficient and everyone in the organization works very well with one another.

It would be very difficult to design a better organizational power structure than the one that currently exists within the nursing home facility.  Perhaps the one source of power that is not seen enough would be reward.  Many of the employees do not always receive the recognition and rewards that are due to them for excellent service to the company and to the patients.  However, it is unlikely that this reward source of power would actually add power to the individual within the organization.  Instead, rewarding the individual would only improve their self-esteem and honor them for their work.  Some of the younger employees might use these rewards to boost their ego and this could potentially cause conflicts within the organization; therefore, it may not be best to have rewards after all.  Overall, the organization works very well and operates as efficiently as possible to meet the goals of the organization and deliver the best care for our residents and patients.

References

Alexandrou, M. (2008). Sources of power in organizations [Online Forum Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.mariosalexandrou.com/blog/sources-of-power-in-organizations/

Lipp, G.D. (2006). Life on the highwire: the balance of leadership, teamwork & service. Proceedings of the Sla leadership conference Fair Oaks, CA: G. Douglas Lipp & Associates. Retrieved from https://www.sla.org/PDFs/SLARevIII.pdf

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