Assignment: Applying French and Raven’s Bases of Social Power

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There have been many stories throughout history of leaders who have been corrupted by their power. The very definition of leadership as “a process by which an individual influences the group to achieve a common goal” (Northouse, 2016, p. 6) implies the power to exert influence. Leaders must exert power in order to lead, but they must also strive to understand the complexities of power. Research by French and Raven (1959) and by others (Burns, 1976; Neck & Manz, 1994) provides insight on the types, or bases, of power available to a leader, the process of choosing among those bases, and the motivations for leaders’ choices (Northouse, 2016, p. 379). Recent researchers (Barbuto & Warneke, 2014; Vevere, 2014) also explore the effectiveness of using individual bases of power in particular situations and the effects certain bases of powers have on leaders and those they lead. Armed with this information, leaders can avoid utilizing certain bases of power when the choice may lead to negative consequences. They can instead choose to wield power in ways that will foster organizational success. Understanding the bases also gives both leaders and followers insight into situations they observe and difficult interpersonal interactions they negotiate.

To prepare for this Assignment, consider Case Study 7.1, “His Team Gets the Best Assignments” on pages 150–151 of Northouse (2016).

By Day 7

Submit a 3-page analysis of the case study. In your analysis, do the following:

Identify two of French and Raven’s bases of power in the case study, and explain how leaders can use these bases of power to exert influence.
Explain how you might use your knowledge of French and Raven’s theory to resolve one of the problems presented in the case study. Justify your response.

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