Applying French and Raven’s Bases of Social Power: A Powerful Solution

Throughout history, people have told stories of leaders who have been corrupted by their power. The very definition of leadership as “a process by which an individual influences the group to achieve a common goal” implies the power to exert influence. Leaders must exert power in order to lead. But they must also strive to understand the complexities of power. Research by French and Raven and by others provides insight on the types, or bases, of power available to a leader, the process of choosing among those bases, and the motivations for leaders’ choices. Recent research also explores the effectiveness of using individual bases of power in particular situations and the effects the use of certain bases of powers have on leaders and those they lead. Armed with this information, leaders can avoid utilizing certain bases of power when the choice may lead to negative consequences. They can instead choose to wield power in ways that will foster organizational success. Understanding the bases also gives both leaders and followers insight into situations they observe and difficult interpersonal interactions they negotiate.

To prepare:

** Read and analyze Case Study 7.1, “Three Shifts, Three Supervisors” in Chapter 7 of course text.

**Post an analysis of the case study. Identify two of French and Raven’s bases of power in the case study and explain how these bases of power can be used to exert influence. Also, explain how you might use your knowledge of French and Raven’s theory to resolve one of the problems presented in the case study. Justify your response.