Power & Resistance in Organizations

Published: 2021-06-28 16:55:04
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Power, as the most important factor, is used in many forms in a workplace. In 1956, John French and Bertram Raven identified five bases of power – reward, coercive, referent, legitimate, and expert. Reward power consists of having the authority to give incentives to another person in monetary or non-monetary forms. Coercive power is forcing the worker to do something that he does not have a choice over by creating fear. When excessively exercised, this power creates conflicts and problems, leading to decrease in levels of morale and dissatisfaction in the workplace.
Referent power is the ability to administer to another sense of personal acceptance or personal approval, and usually will be looked upon as a role model. Legitimate power is an agreement where people of certain roles have the ability to request certain behaviors of others, and rewards and punishments can be expected. Expert power is ability to administer to another individual information, knowledge and expertise. Having the necessary set of skills allows the individual to understand and solve problems efficiently. 2. 1 Power
According to Fleming and Spicer (2007), the four faces of power include coercion, manipulation, domination, and subjectification. Coercion involves using authority and force onto workers into complying and performing tasks that are out of their control. An example would be Taylor’s scientific and Fordist mass production regimes, where workers are constantly under supervision. Manipulation is the modification of the worker’s mind set or company plan by doubting and questioning the efforts of the workers. Domination refers to having control over workers, where they are monitored of their activities at all times.
Subjectification involves moulding people with a certain set of mutual understanding of themselves and the world. It moulds people into a certain type, using knowledge to produce compliance. 2. 2 Resistance According to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1848), Marxism was one of the methods amongst many others that encouraged autonomy and freedom for workers in organizations. During the Industrial Revolution, workers were severely underpaid for the amount of work performed. Workers were obligated to perform tasks, and workers whom did not perform their tasks properly were punished harshly. Resistance was thus introduced.
The four faces of resistance include refusal, voice, escape, and creation. Workers who refused to comply with working rules were confronted by their supervisors. Their aim was to block the effect of power by turning down the authority than changing it. Voice is where workers form up unions in order to dispute on behalf of other workers for their work benefits. To mentally untie from work, workers escape by changing their attitudes and adopting a different identification from the norm. Creation adopts dominion in creation of something that was not proposed by the higher authorities. Voice and creation are often related during resistance.

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