• Referent power is power of an individual over the Team or Followers, based on a high level of
identification with, admiration of, or respect for the powerholder/ leader.
• Nationalism, patriotism, celebrities, mass leaders and widely-respected people are examples of
referent power in effect.
• Referent power is one of the Five Bases of Social Power, as defined by Bertram Raven and his
colleagues in 1959.
• Definition: Referent power refers to the ability of a leader to influence a follower because of the
follower's loyalty, respect, friendship, admiration, affection, or a desire to gain approval.
• Referent power is gained by a leader who has strong interpersonal relationship skills.
• Referent power, as an aspect of personal power, becomes particularly important as
organizational leadership is increasingly about collaboration and influence rather than command
• To be able to have this kind of leadership you need to
be able to have a friendly yet business like relationship
with your employers, so a Boss that doesn’t have that
relationship wont be able to have a reference
relationship with their employers.
• The advantages to reference power means
that people want to follow you because they
like a respect you.
• It will show that you have a very loyal band of
• Stephen Fry Is a classic example he has a fan
base of over 6.68Milion followers. These
people respect him and want to find out what
he’s doing. He has Power over his followers.
• Lady gaga is also one she has 41.1 million
followers on twitter ‘little monsters’
• A business man that has this kind of power is
Nev Wilshire the welsh business man, he
has a loyal band of followers within his
company because of his amazing business
skills But also his attitude towards his staff, his
staff love and respect him, which also adds up
to a happy
Coercive power is based on the subordinates
fear of the leader; maintained by the use of
threats and punishment.
It’s often considered the most extreme form of
autocratic leaders. Frequent use of
reprimands and a hostile attitude,
threatening subordinates with the loss of
status, loss of employment or in extreme
cases physical force. Staff are often scared of
being shouted at or being sacked. This fear
empowers the manager.
• Some (however few), can be
motivated to work hard under
• If employees respond positively
then the workforce can have a
very positive, productive output.
• Employees can be motivated to
acquire similar levels of power.
• Few people can handle it. Some
will not tolerate it, leading to a
high labour turnover
• Subordinates feel isolated and
unable to communicate any
• Limited communication
• No sense of positive motivation
• Employees often don’t feel
wanted or appreciated
A manager whose position is based on
coercive power can often be effective on
labour intensive environments, such as in
factories or call centers, where the mundane
nature of the job requires extreme
Although this may not be the case in the actual day to day
business environment, on the television show ‘The
Apprentice,’ Lord Alan Sugar has created an image based
on coercive power. He uses a very aggressive tone and
threatens candidates with the sack.
The sense of power based on law and other
formal authority such as terms of reference
for a specific role or position.
Legitimate power is power you derive from your formal
position or office held in your organisation’s hierarchy of
authority. For example, the leader of an organisation had
certain powers because of the position they holds within
Advantages and disadvantages
- enables for a clear hierarchy/organisational structure so subordinates know exactly
- can often increase leaders effectiveness, in the way of being a strong role model, a sense of trust and vision, strong moral
code and high expectations which can create a very productive workforce
- many people are used to accepting and using legitimate power
- leaders can sometime abuse their powers, for example miss deadlines or tries to exercise their power over those whom they
do not have legitimate power over
- It does not alway result in effective and flexible organisations, it gives employees power because of their role, rather than
because they have particular skills and talents.
- when the CEO determines the overall direction of the business and the
- when a senior pastor uses their legitimate power to cast vision, set the
agenda and organise staff effectively
- when an executive pastor sets deadlines for subordinates to submit annual
- when a receptionist insists visitors check in before proceeding to the
Reward power is when someone is given an
reward for good work. To motivated
employees to work harder.
Reward power is the power to give someone a
reward. This could be because they have
done a good job or all employees get a basic
level of rewards. Rewards can be given in
bonus or money off products that the
business, that they work for make.
◦ Promotes good behaviour
◦ Increases sales
◦ Promotes loyalty to the business they work for
◦ Rewards can loses value if the same reward is keep
◦ Some things which people may consider a reward
others may not
◦ It also costs the business money as it pays for the
Mole valley framers:
• 20% discounted on mole valley products
• Easy movement within the business
• Work place pension
• Respected pay
• a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful
in a particular area.
• Expert power
• Possession of particular expertise, skills and
knowledge can give power.
• personal expertise and knowledge
• Ability to influence other parties based
on expertise and knowledge. Expert power in
an organization is the ability to influence
the behavior of others in the organization based
solely on past experience and expertise in a specific
• prevent other employees acquiring their particular
knowledge and skills
• Offer subordinates some elements of their particular
knowledge and skills to gain their support and
• Staff are more willing to accept instruction
• Too bossy
• if the expert's knowledge is shared, his power will
probably diminish over time
• if the expert does not share his knowledge, then
the organization will not be as effective.
-software engineer recently hired to lead the development of a
new interactive 3-D action video game.
great deal of experience and have developed some new
techniques that will bring gaming up a notch.
Your team, and even your direct supervisor, is in awe of your skills.
They come to you for help in writing the programming code
they have been assigned to compose.
You teach them some of your techniques, and you become the
go-to guy on the team and in the department.
However, after about six months, almost all of your team
members, and quite a view of the department members, have
learned your tricks, and you are no longer sought out or listened
to as much as you were before you shared your knowledge.
You once were able to exert expert power, but that power has
been severely diminished as you shared the knowledge.