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Critically evaluate any ONE model of managerial power, in context of the operation of a specific operating organisation. How useful is the model in helping mangers to understand their role? Having worked in the central London branch of Warehouse

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Critically evaluate any ONE model of managerial power, in context of the operation of a specific operating organisation. How useful is the model in helping mangers to understand their role? Having worked in the central London branch of Warehouse, a large women's fashion retailer for the past year, I will be evaluating French and Raven's model of power in this context. While there is no one categorization scheme of power, the typology put forth in 1959 by French and Raven is still widely applicable. They identified five main bases of power, and define power "as the ability to exercise influence and influence as the ability to bring about change." (French and Raven 1959) A manager is a 'person who is in charge of an organization or group of staff, responsible for administering and regulating the activities, and training of a group'1. The manager should be able to coordinate his time effectively in order to implement and complete tasks on time. It can be said that every manager has a basic yet similar set of duties, for example, coordinating staff, disseminating information, reporting to senior management & stakeholders, effective time management and dealing with staff queries. ...read more.


It can therefore be said that a drawback of coercive power is that it "leaves the individual losing referent power, while an application of expert power may mean the individual gains referent power."6 Referent power is the type of power that a person gains if others show admiration for or a desire to be like that person. Referent power is therefore a power that is "given" to a person by those who relate in some way either directly or indirectly. It is interesting to note that referent power does not have to relate to a formal position within an organization. For instance, in Warehouse, there are several sales assistants who have obtained referent power due to their outgoing personality, their ability to complete their tasks with efficiency, at the same time as maintaining friendly and casual relationships with the senior staff. Managers who possess referent power over their employees may not realize that they possess this form of power. If a manager is approachable and understanding it will naturally be easier for the employee to speak to that manager. Therefore, anyone in an organization can gain referent power by their actions, behaviour, or appearance, although a person's reputation and status have much to do with the amount of referent power they have. ...read more.


Firstly, it is very likely that there will exist in the organization, staff that have worked there for a considerable period of time and will therefore have much knowledge and experience with the company. These staff will occasionally be given charge of the shop floor and, for that time, will undertake the responsibilities and duties of the management team. This is a good example of how it is not only the mangers who exercise and are given power. Another shortcoming of the French and Raven model is that it was established in 1959, a time where managers would not necessarily take into consideration the individual expertise and skills of their employees. Instead, employees would be delegated tasks according to their manager's choice. Today, managers allocate tasks to their employees according to what they are best at doing. For example, in Warehouse, sales staff that are more successful at opening store accounts are positioned at the cash desk, whereas staff more efficient at working in the stockroom would be positioned there. In order to implement French and Raven's model in a method that would be more beneficial, I feel that more emphasis should be placed on expert power and this should be carried down to the floor staff. For instance, in order for the store to reach, and exceed, its targets, sales assistants should be given tasks or placed in departments in which they excel. ...read more.

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