A review on Power Bases application to Sri Lanka’s context
This paper is based on Organizational Behaviour module and the topic considered for the paper is a review on Power, Politics, and Influence application to Sri Lanka’s current issues by Shamindra Hettiarachchi.
The initial chapter of the paper discusses, what is all about Power, Politics, and Influence, the reasons why power required and the power dependency module.
Then the other chapter briefly describe power typology, such as Power as decision making, by Steven Lukes,1974, Power as knowledge, by Michel Foucault, 1980, Powershift, by Alvin Toffler, 1990 and the Power bases, by Raven, 2008.
It is important to have multiple bases of power to translate influence tactics into concrete results.
The existence of organizational politics is a reality to most organizations and successful leaders or managers or officer must be good politicians. On the other hand, the more political that the employees perceive, the lower their satisfaction and commitment towards the organization. Everybody in the organization have some power within oneself, thus an organization is a network of power bases.
An individual may express their power through symbols like large house, large vehicles, the jewelry they wear, the designer clothes etc.
People, who have more power, have tendency of getting or moving along together more frequently. In most of the organizations or institutions eighthly percent of power is control by the twenty percent of the people.
Why you need power?
When you have a project plan to execute, you will use different power bases in different situations, to execute the plan the way you want. You will use power to make sure the project executes as per your plan.
The power dependency model
The greater actor B depend on actor A, the greater the power actor A has over actor B. The power dependency between actor A and B are called diodes. Therefore if you take an organization there could be lot of diodes within the organization.
Figure 1: Power dependency Model
Power as decision making (Steven Lukes, 1974)
“one dimensional, view of power involves a focus on behavior in the making of decisions on issues over which there is an observable conflict of (subjective) interests, seen as express policy preferences, revealed by political participation.“
Power as Knowledge (Michel Foucault, 1980)
“ power is exercised by virtue of things being known and people being seen…
… the exercise of power perpetually creates knowledge and, conversely, knowledge constantly induces effects of power…
…It is not possible for power to be exercised without knowledge, it is impossible for knowledge not to engender power… ”
Powershift (Alvin Toffler, 1990)
The three main kinds of power are violence, wealth, and knowledge with other kinds of power being variations of these three (typically knowledge). Toffler argues that the very nature of power is currently shifting. The dominant form of power shifted from violence to wealth. Today, a Third Wave of shifting power is taking place with wealth being overtaken by knowledge.
The bases of Power (Bertram Raven, 2008)
Bertram Raven (2008) introduces six bases of power. These six bases are divide in to two categories. Position power which includes Legitimate, Reward, and Coercive power & Personal power which includes Expert, Referent, and Information power.
This paper discusses in detail the power bases defined by Bertram Raven (2008) and it’s applicability to Sri Lankan’s current context.
Bertram Ravens (2008) Power Bases