Business Management

Power And Organization

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Assessment Type

Case Study

Word Count

1500 words


Organisational Behaviour


4 Days

Assignment Criteria

Drawing on your own personal experience, write a mini case-study (max 1500 words) on one of the following OB-related topics:

  • When Teamwork failed to meet its objective
  • The appropriate use of power in the workplace
  • Organisational Change

Following the case-study, two questions should be posed which encourage the reader to examine and analyse different aspects of the case in close detail. Students should also provide a brief 200-300 word example answer for each question in order to demonstrate the potential learning outcomes of the case. 

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Assignment Solution

'Is power created to form impression or it is designated to attain a result oriented approach' …. 

John kept thinking about it all day before joining for his new assignment in his dream organization Oracle after many years of hard work. He's read a lot about the organizations using different kinds of power with employees sometimes to create leadership among their employees, motive them with complete autonomy and designate authority to exercise their command to achieve results. Also there were many organizations that had seen a bad scenario using power in an unhealthy way resulting to misleading guidance and loss to its reputation. 

Is power used in the organizations mainly to command people with a set of guidelines that would direct them to perform task assigned to them in order to achieve objectives as per timelines? Is it a systematic use of authority to delegate work to people after having an understanding of the capabilities and potential for each individual? …This wondered him all the more as the days of joining the company came close by. On the first day at his orientation he was introduced to the company's senior officials, his co workers, his team mates as well as to a road map of company's future growth with respect to its past performance. He was warmly welcome by everyone in his team and was later assigned a challenging task as his first assignment. He was proud of the fact that his team leader was rated as the best professional expert in the industry who knew every small detailing of his expertise field by the management (Barksdale, 2008).  Days passed and he got into the system quite well and after spending six months of probation in the company he understood the meaning of power to some extent. Though his work was done as per required parameters he has still not been able to understand his senior expectation accurately and has been unable to impress him with his presentations. Somewhere something was missing and it was making him difficult to confront his superior all the more.

Power creates a dynamic relationship of the organization with the employees working for it and creates a connection between the leader and his follower channeled through communication, cooperation and commitment (Baldoni, 2004). He learned that power in the workplace can exist due to the structure or organization's system to influence people as well as control behavior. It is the power that reflects the organization and individual beliefs and behavior for their leader or employees working for them. There are different forms of relationship that exists in the organization such as manager to employee, employee to employee and manager to manager. In the manager to employee relationship, the use of power is extremely critical as well as crucial as it is the communication and interaction between the two drives the smooth workflow. In this relationship, communication behaves as a medium to transmit and command power in the workplace. As he confronted with his fellow colleagues for making his performance better and appropriate as per the work culture, he learned several forms of power that are used at the workplace (Johnson, 2015). 

Forms of Power

The power is segregated in two forms i.e. Social Power and Personal Power exercised within the organization. These bases help in mobilizing employee as well as resources to achieve targets within the organization along with creating subordinate satisfaction and achieve commitment from their end. Starting from Legitimate Power uses at the manager's end, it is the structure of the organization that brings in this power in the system as it defines the role and responsibility of each employee. It flows in the hierarchy but its nature (Dunbar and Burgoon, 2005). Then reward power, it defines manager's ability to administer individuals through rewards and recognition among his subordinates. It may be formal, informal, verbal etc depending upon his decision as well as organization's policy. Followed by Expert power, this one is interesting as it is mainly based on the expertise, knowledge, ability to assess the job and skills set of the manager. This is mainly optioned through empowerment as well as reasoning attitude of the manager. This kind of power is mainly known to be a source of personal power. This reminded of him the title of employee of the month or star performer rated by his senior often at the end of every the month's meeting. Moving further to the Referent Power, this power though exercised by the manager but it gives authority to the employees to rate the manager. It makes manager admirable by his subordinates and makes him an ideal for others (Barksdale, 2008). It is this referent power that works on the basis of admiration and is independent of the hierarchical job title and position. The expert power is closely related to referent power as the manager using these powers is mainly unbiased and have lost concentration on the work ethics and performance irrespective of the job title. Lastly, it is the coercive power which is used by managers to administer and control the team members or subordinates when they make a mistake. It is mainly done in the form of punishment such as written letter, pay cuts, suspension in a severe matter etc. These powers are exercised when the employee attitude, as well as his action, is intolerable as per the company's rules and policies. It is mainly a way of showing the unacceptable attitude of people in the organization in an assertive manner (Katz, 1998).

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