Power is the ability to make things happen in the way an individual wants, either by self or by the subordinates. The essence of power is control over the behavior of others (French & Raven, 1962). Managers derive power from both organizational and individual sources. These sources are called position power and personal power, respectively. Power also refers to a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B, so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes. The greater B’s dependence on A, the greater is A’s power in the relationship. Therefore, power is a function of dependency (Robbins, 2003).
Contrasting Leadership and Power
In an organizational context leadership and power are related to each others. Power is used by leaders as a means to attain group goals. In other words, power is a means of facilitating their achievement of goals and objectives that they have set for themselves in view of organizational requirements. What are differences between leadership and power? The first is in the area of goal compatibility which is as follows:
Ø Power does not require goal compatibility, merely dependence whereas leadership, requires some congruence between the goals of the leader and the followers.
Ø The second factor is related to the direction of influence:
Whereas leadership focuses on the downward influence on one’s followers, power does not minimize the importance of lateral and upward influence patterns. Evidence of the same is gained from insights into research on power that has tended to encompass a broader area and focus on tactics for gaining compliance.