Organizational Leadership Assignment

Organizational Leadership
Organizational Leadership

Organizational Leadership

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Applying French and Raven’s Bases of Social Power: A Powerful Solution

Throughout history, people have told stories 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, 2013, p. 5) 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 and by others 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. Recent research also explores the effectiveness of using individual bases of power in particular situations and the effects the use of 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.
Use this format to complete the paper.

Essay Style of Writing
Start with an introduction with thesis statement, three supporting points, and a conclusion. All essays should include at least 5 paragraphs or sections.
Paragraph 1: Introduction with thesis statement that includes three supporting points.
Paragraph 2: Discussion of supporting point 1 includes support using cited reference.
Paragraph 3: Discussion of supporting point 2 includes support using cited reference.

Paragraph 4: Discussion of supporting point 3 includes support using cited reference.
Paragraph 5: Summary includes discussion of supporting points and conclusion statement of the main topic. This final paragraph should not include new information.


To prepare:

Read and analyze Case Study “Three Shifts, Three Supervisors”

In a 2 page word document Write an analysis of the case study. Identify two of French and Raven’s bases of power in the case study and explain how these bases of power can be used to exert influence. Also, 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.

Learning Resources:

Raven, B. H. (1993). The bases of power: Origins and recent developments. Journal of Social Issues, 49(4), 227–251.

Schriesheim, C. A., Podsakoff, P. M., & Hinkin, T. R. (1991). Can ipsative and single-item measures produce erroneous results in field studies of French and Raven’s (1959) five bases of power? An empirical investigation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 76(1), 106–114.

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Organizational Leadership

Leaders have the responsibility to act as role models in guiding their followers in the quest to achieve their goals. Various theories postulated illustrate how leaders act and should lead. One of the famous researchers is French and Raven’s who came up with various bases of power to depict how different leaders execute their leadership responsibilities. This paper delineates on the French and Ravens two bases of power; reward and legitimate power putting into perspective a case study, “Three shifts, Three supervisors.”

The case study “Three Shifts, Three Supervisors” is about three leaders that work in shifts. Every leader has his or her style of leadership and this affects the motivation and the performance of the workers.  A leader that adopts to rewards a source of power uses intangible as well as tangible rewards to influence the followers. Such a leader makes promise in exchange of   something (Raven, 1993). Therefore, followers are required to do or behave in a certain manner to get the reward promised.  On the other hand, legitimate power is where a leader is given power by a given body to execute certain responsibilities.  This form of powers comes from the higher position and there is a tendency for people to obey the position not individuals.

Based on the path-goal theory, it is evident that Carol is a more effective leader compared to the other two Art and Bob. Being a leader Carol behaviors enhances or contributes to motivated followers. She exemplifies directive leadership as she ensures that the followers understand what should be done and how to do it.  She holds trouble-shooting meetings and stresses the goals of the company to the employees and as well, the rewards that comes when the goals are achieved. She is also a supportive leader as she encourages her employees and spends time with them to build their morale.  Therefore, she is an effective supervisor in the company. She also to some extend uses legitimate power because, she has been given the position by the managers and is answerable to them. On the other hand, the other two supervisors, Art and Bob do not demonstrate directive leadership. Their group or followers are not motivated and this is attributed to the way they interact and execute their responsibilities as leaders.  Art leadership approach is more task- oriented and this makes the followers more bored.  Even though to some extend Bob exemplifies supportive leadership style, the followers lack direction on what they should do. They therefore lack focus and this affects their ability to achieve the goals set. Perhaps it is wise for Art and Bob to engage and interact with their followers and as well, use rewards to motivate their employees.

It is therefore, evident that these two bases of power; reward and legitimate can be used to exert influence on the followers.  A leader endowed with legitimate power is able to use the powers to trigger changes in an organization. For instance, a police officer is given legitimate power from his office and is required to execute his roles in line with the power given to him by the state.  Reward power is also used to influence followers especially to trigger positive results. Leaders can make promises to trigger hard work and as well to punish those that fail to achieve the set targets.  French and Raven theory can as well be used to solve some of the problems in the case. For instance, the problem of Bob of failure to motivate and offer direction to his followers can be corrected if he acquires more skills and information about various ways to motivate employees and as well to show them direction.

In summary, leaders can use different leadership bases to execute their responsibilities. French and Raven’s leadership bases; reward and legitimate power can be used to lead and influence followers. Carol is one of the supervisor and a leader that uses directive and supportive leadership styles. She is also able to aply her legitimate power well to motivate her followers. On the other hand, Art and Bob have failed when it comes to motivating and showing direction to their followers. They can apply reward power to motivate their followers to ensure achievement of the organizational goals.


Raven, B. H. (1993). The bases of power: Origins and recent developments. Journal of Social Issues, 49(4), 227–251.

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