What gives a person Power/ Influence?

  1. Coercive power: A person has coercive power if he has the power to punish if things aren’t done the way he wants them to be done
  2. Power of reward: If the person can offer a motivating reward, he is more likely to have the power to get people to do things as he wants.
  3. Legitimate power: This is when a person is granted a power by some authority. In this case, it is the law or the authoritative body that has the real power and the person in charge is just the figure-head. And what gives the law or authority power? Social respect for the law (eg for justice/ fairness), or for authority. What gives people respect for these things? Trust that they will bring order and do the right thing, based on their history of actions. So here, power comes from a long-established history which brings trust and respect (see referent power).
  4. Expert Power: Where knowledge is an important factor, having a good education and/or experience in a field helps a person gain power, trust and respect
  5. Referent Power: Referent power refers
    to admiration or respect.  When we look up to people because of their
    accomplishments, their attitude, or any other personal attribute, we tend to
    give them more power over us.  Imagine being asked to do something by
    your "hero" or your favorite movie star; we are very likely to
    comply out of admiration or respect.

Source: http://allpsych.com/psychology101/obedience_power.html


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