Various types of power

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Read three scholarly peer-reviewed source and prepare a 3-4 page paper.

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The sources you select should each focus on a different firm with all three firms representing different industries. After reading these sources, develop a comparison between the leadership of the firms to answer the following questions and prepare a 3-4 page paper:

  • Explain the various types of power.
  • Explain tactics used for becoming an empowering leader.
  • Explain how the leader used delegation to support empowerment.
  • Explain factors contributing to organizational politics.
  • Explain both ethical and unethical political behaviors.
  • Explain how a leader can control dysfunctional politics.


  • Write a 3-4 page paper, or about 1500 words, not including the title and reference pages—which are required.
  • Your paper must be properly cited and formatted according to the APA Requirements.
  • Include a formal Works Cited page. This is an individual paper, however, you should reflect on our Discussion Forums and incorporate ideas from there, as appropriate.
  • You must support your analysis with at least three scholarly references and can include resources from this course. Each source will focus on one firm with all three firms coming from different industries. Sources such as Wikipedia, USA Today, Fox News, or MSNBC news will not be accepted. The CSU-Global Library is a good place to find these sources.


Leadership Power Types

Each person has power of some type, and individuals may have access to different types at different times based upon the situation or groups he or she is part of. Mistakes often occur when a leader either attempts to use a power they do not possess, or exercises a power inappropriate for the situation or desired outcomes. It is a good exercise for leaders simply to review each of the seven power types and rate themselves on a scale of 1-5. Assume that 1 is not at all characteristic of one, and 5 is an exact representation of one’s character. The exercise is anecdotal, purely pseudo-psychological, but quite instructive if one is honest (Lauby, 2013).

Lauby (2013) suggests there are seven different types of power.

Click each tab to learn more, and note how the power originates from either position or personal sources.

Delegation is a management process where a leader shares authority and power to accomplish work with subordinates. It arises when the amount of work a manager is assigned exceeds the ability of the manager to accomplish. This system of sharing work is a method of ensuring the required tasks are accomplished. Delegation is an important tool of leaders in an organization. It is through delegation that a leader multiplies his or her work output.

Here are five reasons that delegation can be justified:

  1. Using delegation, a manager can divide the work among several subordinates. This will reduce the leader’s workload and allow him or her focus on other important work areas, such as planning and business analysis.
  2. Reducing the workload of a superior allows him or her to concentrate on the more critical issues. This increases the effectiveness of both the unit and the leader. Delegation also allows the manager to prove ability and skills to the organization.
  3. Delegation of authority is the ground on which the leader-subordinate relationship is based. All organizations function by the flow of authority from the top down. Delegation gives meaning to the leader-subordinate relationship. That flow of authority from the top to the bottom is how organizations accomplish work.
  4. Delegation provides room and space for subordinates to flourish and test themselves. It is through delegating that subordinates realize an increasing level of importance to the organization. Motivation is enhanced for getting work done. Enriching the workload of subordinates provides an increase in job satisfaction, brings stability to the organization, the leader, and subordinates. Clearly, delegation breaks the monotony of subordinates’ workload, allowing them to be more creative and efficient. Delegation is a positive for the subordinate and for the leader. It allows the leader to develop management skills and talents. It also gives leaders more time to concentrate on important issues, strengthen their decision making, and demonstrate their talents and skills to their superiors. Providing power to subordinates through delegation and getting work done helps the leader to develop communication skills, supervision, and guidance; in the process effective motivation and leadership traits are enhanced. It is through delegation, therefore, that a leader can be tested and proven.
  5. Delegation of authority helps both superior and subordinates. It stabilizes the working organization, provides effective results, and allows an organization to think of creating more department and divisions. That will generate the need for more leaders, managers, and employees. A growing organization can shift experienced managers to new positions, opening positions for new hires. Delegation helps in both vertical and horizontal growth, which is positive for the organization’s continued stability (MSG Experts, 2013).

These five points show that delegation is not just a process but also a way of multiplying a manager’s work output, stabilizing an organization, and increasing the ability and soundness of the organization (MSG Experts, 2013).

3. Organizational Politics

What are the mental images that pass through your mind when you consider corporate politics? Perhaps one has images such as backstabbing, gossip, self-interest, alliance building, independence, or trust. Not often does the word ‘political’ result in positive imagery (Quimby, 2008).

We will define politics simply. It is power. In the workplace, individuals often use organizational politics to exercise power that is disproportionate to the actual position held. The basic question for us is, where does this power arise? There are some people who exert tremendous influence in the workplace, and there are others who cannot even exercise the power that is legitimate for their title. We come down to examining whether political power is always exploitative, or if it can actually be moral and constructive (Quimby, 2008).

Business people playing tug of war over a cliff

At its base, political power is the ability to understand what others fear or desire. A person can use that understanding to influence the behavior of others. Such power certainly can be misused. Even if we did not have the knowledge of the cases of corporate fraud and corruption in the news in the last few decades, we could still understand the possibility of misuse of this kind of power. In reality, some of the most powerful leaders in our recent history understood this power and used it for positive activities (Quimby, 2008).

A fine example of the correct use of political power is the Dalai Lama. He wields tremendous political power. As the deposed leader of an occupied country, he has almost no positional power. His reputation is that of a compassionate, extremely humble and moral leader with a platform to address the world on political policy. He has been welcomed into the offices of heads of state, and remains the spiritual leader of millions of people. He has a considerable understanding of the human struggle that he uses to increase international compassion and moral responsibility (Quimby, 2008).

Here are three levels of political power and some simple case studies that will help understanding of these phenomena:

  • Amoral political power—this is unconsciously understanding and manipulating others with no awareness of one’s motivating fears and desires.
  • Immoral political power—this is consciously understanding and influencing others without any examining of one’s motivations.
  • Moral political power—this is consciously examining, understanding, and evaluating one’s motivations, fears, and desires before influencing others (Quimby, 2008, para. 5).

Amoral and immoral are very similar in effect. In both, the user does not take moral responsibility because of he or she is lacking awareness of their motivation. While the results are essentially the same regarding destructive outcomes, the immoral person is acting consciously and therefore bears greater moral responsibility for what happens.

Leaders develop the positive political power influence they use, without harming others, through self-awareness. Leaders will seek feedback from trusted counselors. Alternatively, they spend time in quiet reflection assessing the actions taken during workplace interactions. These are positive ways to take a deep look into our own motivations to develop an understanding of our actions. Here are three simple questions one can ask during these periods of self-reflection (Quimby, 2008):

  1. What do I desire most at work? (perhaps recognition, advancement, respect, or stability)
  2. What do I fear most at work? (being fired, making mistakes, or being out of the loop)
  3. What are my most important values at work? (Quimby, 2008, para. 10)

Leaders must understand that the ability to influence others comes at a price. There is a responsibility to act ethically. There is a need to understand that acting for personal ends may have immediate benefits, but the long-term price is self-defeat. Amoral and immoral use of political power destroys trust, undermines commitment, and poisons loyalty. On the other hand, the moral use of political power increases the willingness of individuals to work together for the collective good. We must take a hard look at our own motivations and develop an awareness of the outcomes of our actions (Quimby, 2008).

Unethical Goodness

Business excess by leaders over the last decade or so has been commonplace, if not a dominant media theme. It has led to quite a lot of anger and revulsion from shareholders, employees, customers, creditors, and other stakeholders. These unethical behaviors are not addressing functional business matters, like social responsibility. Instead, they are acts by managers and leaders to produce a benefit to themselves. This is at the expense of others; any time a management act hurts someone, it involving an ethical decision (Gandz, 2007).

There are three distinct forms of unethical behavior recognized by business ethicists. The first is, actions outside the leadership role. The second type of unethical behavior is, taking an action that serves the job function but is outside the bounds of behavior that society would consider ethical. The third type of unethical behavior is the most difficult to identify at times. It refers to the act of omission, which is not doing something a leader should do. These are non-actions of ethical concern.

In some societies, there is the assumption that a given behavior is “okay since everyone is doing it.” If this were true, we would have made little progress in the areas of race relations, gender-based discrimination, or any activity where the behavior of the in-power group is harmful to the out-group. One must consider that when a person provides direct aid toward unethical behavior, or does nothing to prevent the unethical behavior, then he or she is aiding the unethical behavior. In the global economy model, leadership must establish and define what the ethical standards within the firm are. Leadership must set these standards and be the role model for all employees.


There is a difference between good as the effective, purposeful, and ethical path and people feeling good about following that path. There are three ways to get people to follow one’s lead. They may be forced to follow, paid to follow, or moved to follow. Forcing will lead to followers, but they will be alienated. Paying will gain followers, but they will leave when the pay ceases. Gaining followers by moving them with ideas and effective leadership and they will render extraordinary outcomes (Gandz, 2007).

The “Good” Leader

In the business context, debates continue about what is a good versus a great leader. Creating stakeholder value is very high on the list. However, societal value is on that list as well. Followers will judge a leader based upon the outcome—and more often today, on how that outcome was accomplished. The goodness of the leader is going to grow in importance when deciding the greatness of the leader. In time, the merging of goodness and greatness will happen, but it will be the public that drives the change.

Leadership Control of Dysfunctional Politics

According to DuBrin (2016), an organization can be damaged by excessive organizational politics. Time and effort are wasted and it influences productivity negatively. Six outcomes related to the perception of excesses in organizational politics are:

  1. More strain, or adverse effects of stress
  2. More intentions to quit
  3. Less job satisfaction
  4. Less emotional commitment to the employer
  5. Lower task performance
  6. Less organizational citizenship behavior (pp. 238 – 239)

When a high degree of political behavior exists, individuals and the organization can suffer damage. Therefore, it is the responsibility of leaders to take action to fight and reduce excessive and dysfunctional political behaviors in the workplace. A comprehensive strategy to reduce and rid an organization of destructive political behavior first requires organizational leaders to be aware of it and how it works. Here are some thoughts on how it grows and how to stop it.

During a downsizing, the CEO can be alert to opportunities for backstabbing and transparent attempts to please. Establishing open communication about the move can constrain the impact of political behavior. Openly letting all staff know how resources are allocated will reduce politicking. As everyone learns the methods of allocating resources, the incidence of trying to curry favor with the boss will become less effective. Open communication also prevents certain power players from controlling information and using gossip as a political weapon (DuBrin, 2016).

Another way to defeat dysfunctional politics is to root out and end cronyism and favoritism. If unethical managers cannot dispense favors and rewards to their in-group, then politics in the whole work group will improve. As the group members face the reality that getting the boss to like them is not any more important than doing their job well, productivity will increase and “kissing up to” the boss will become infrequent. To strengthen performance, managers should reward those workers who excel at work-related activities (DuBrin, 2016).


From the top down, senior executives can set good examples to lessen the frequency and heat of organizational politics. As the top leaders are transparently nonpolitical in their behaviors, subordinates will understand that political behavior is not productive. A CEO can announce during staff meetings that inappropriate and devious political behaviors will be noticed and labeled as unprofessional and undesirable (DuBrin, 2016).

A good technique for removing political behaviors is to ensure that individual and organizational goals are aligned. This creates a situation called ‘goal congruence’ in the organization. As workers learn that political games actually impede the realization of company and personal goals, they will become less interested in those games. Endorsing the boss’s idea for personal gain will not continue if the worker has a desire to see that the company succeeds (DuBrin, 2016).

Political activity is usually conducted in secret and can be squelched by threatening to open it for discussion in public meetings. Devious behavior needs anonymity to be effective. Remove the secrecy and the political behaviors lessen and honesty and integrity develop. If a leader learns that attempts to discredit an employee are underway, then he or she can bring that into an open discussion, and the person attempting it will back down and report truthfully (DuBrin, 2016).

Lastly, corporate entities can hire people with integrity. This will weaken the dysfunctional political players as they lose alliances. Hiring officials should check references and directly inquire about integrity and honesty (DuBrin, 2016).

Grammar and punctuation are key! Sample paper attached.

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