The Role of Power Within Organizations

The important role of power within an organization and its different forms was discussed in interviews with Rainbow Days company’s CEO, middle manager, and a new employee. The interviews illustrate how within one company, employees from different layers of the organization could have different opinions on the role of power within an organization. The difference in perception of power among employees emphasizes the fragile balance of power and leadership that the managers should maintain.

The first interview with the CEO, Tiffany Beaudine, illustrates how the viewpoint on power could be influenced by the person’s position and its connection with the organization’s goal. Mrs. Beaudine follows directions from the board of directors, which sets goals for the organization’s performance. Due to the close connection of Mrs. Beaudine’s functions with the organization’s goals in delegating tasks to other directors, her position implies a certain level of responsibility. Thus, her opinion on the use of power within the organization focuses on the legitimate form of power. She also states that the use of power, in her opinion, includes a level of respect to employees as it increases productivity. Therefore, the power in high levels of administration within an organization mainly relies on legitimate and referent forms of power due to the weight of responsibility and close connection to the organization’s goals.

The second interview with Anthony, who works in the position of a middle manager, provides insight into how an organization’s goals are achieved through the work and what methods are used to manage employees’ work. As middle managers also experience the weight of responsibility in leading the company’s work towards achieving goals, they also utilize a legitimate form of power. However, Anthony also suggests that the key to effective management is balancing legitimate power with referent power, as his position implies a close connection with employees. Then his interview states that the last resort in managing the employees is using coercive power based on punishment measures.

The last interview with a waitress at a local restaurant, Sara, provides a low-level employee perspective on power and what form of power is more effective to manage low-level employees. The interviewee accepts the use of coercive power as the most effective form of power, which is different from the other two interviews. As low-level employees do not have many responsibilities and often do not experience connection with the organization’s goals, they assume that punishment is necessary to boost productivity.

In my understanding, the interviews illustrate the dynamics in preferred forms of power and the number of employees’ responsibilities, and their understanding of the organizations’ mission and goals. From my experience, the use of coercive power in management works for a short-term increase of productivity but pressures the employees’ mental health and results in loss of motivation and low level of satisfaction with work in the long term. I assume that using coercive power could be avoided with measures geared towards aligning the employees’ goals with the organization’s mission.

Another learning outcome from the interviews is that high amounts of responsibilities favor the use of the legitimate form of power. Thus, providing clear statements of responsibilities for employees and setting them with specific goals could also increase productivity without resorting to coercive power. On the other hand, the distribution of power in an organization could be viewed through the prism of leadership (Basuki et al., 2020). Therefore, as an alternative method, in my opinion, leadership training courses could improve managers’ ability to use referent power.


Basuki, B., Susiladewi, A., & Widyanti, R. (2020). Do leadership style and organizational communication increase to organizational commitment? Study among hospital staff. Holistica Journal of Business and Public Administration, 11(2), 17-24.

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