5 Types of Psychological Power

Psychological Power

What gives you power over someone else? Why can one person make a demand and a bunch of other people will listen without question? What divides the powerful from the powerless and where does their power come from power, governs how you think act, and make decisions in almost any social setting?

No matter where you go, you’re constantly searching for ways to relate yourself to the people in your environment.

Now. Imagine yourself at the grocery store most people wouldn’t think of this as a very power-heavy place, but it is as a customer. You weigh your power against that of a cashier or a manager that comparison tells you what you can and can’t do. You can, for example, ask for service or request something from an employee, and you do have enough power to expect that they’ll help you out now. On the other hand, you don’t have the power to decide if an item is on sale or restock an empty shelf. In this way, every environment creates a unique hierarchy of power. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean every instance of power is inherently different. In the late 1950s leading social psychologists, john French and Bertram raven published a transformative study on psychological power.

They discovered that there are essentially five bases of power. Every power dynamic, whether you’re in class at work or just at the grocery store, stems from one of these fundamental categories, but before we discuss each kind of psychological power, let’s cover one last question: why is learning about power so important on the surface? Psychological power seems like an excuse to manipulate the people around you and, if used for the wrong reasons, it certainly can be, but understanding power serves a much more important purpose. It allows you to reflect on why you listen to certain people over others to gain a better grasp on where you stand in the dozens of social spheres that you interact with, daily, to become a more capable leader, and to motivate all the people who Depend on you for guidance, so, whether you like it or not, power will play a significant role in your life. It will impact your career, your relationships, and your future success. The sooner you recognize the power dynamics in your life, the better prepared you’ll be to manage and overcome them all right. Now, let’s dive into the five types of psychological power number one is reward power. When someone has something, you want, they have some degree of power over it. You think about perks like raised parking spots and opportunities for advancement if used correctly rewards can be an incredible motivator. People are far more willing to invest work into something when they feel like they’re. Getting a fair reward, for example, some employers use reward power by paying a fixed price salary. Let’s say your job is to build model cars normally you’re paid about $ 20 an hour when you work at an average pace.

You usually build five cars every hour, but if you worked harder, you could finish ten cars instead of five. Knowing this, your employer might use their reward power to try to increase your productivity, so instead of an hourly wage, they might offer you $ 4 per car.

You could continue making five cars and earn the same amount of money as you did before, or you could pick up the pace and gain twice as much now. In some cases, reward-based power flows back and forth. Let’s say you want to purchase a TV from someone. The owner of the TV has the power to ask for a certain amount of money. Now, of course, you, the seller can then exert a bit of power back onto the owner.

Why? Because you now have something they want, you have money that gives you the right to negotiate until you land on a price that you’re happy with. It’s really important. Remember that reward power has to benefit both sides in some way.

You can’t charge a million dollars for your TV and expect people to pay for it. Just like you can’t ask people to work harder without offering them a greater reward. Competition generally throws a wrench in these gears, but that’s a topic for another video good leaders should use reward power to inspire and motivate their followers not to undercut and ostracize.

Psychological Power

The key is to balance the group’s external rewards with your internal gains. That way, people will trust you and keep coming back for more numbers. Two coercive powers. Coercive power works almost exactly like reward power.

You just turn rewards into punishments. Someone has coercive power when they’re capable of punishing you or negatively affecting your life. Let’s say your boss begins laying people off at work.

You notice that he only fired people who didn’t follow orders since you’re scared of losing your job too. You do exactly as he says. You assume that you’re going to be punished. If you disagree with him, in other words, the punishment is effectively changing your behavior.

You accepted your boss’s demands to avoid a harmful outcome. Coercive power should be used sparingly. If at all, it’s rarely a good decision to intentionally use fear to gain power over others, it’s ethically questionable and it breeds contempt in the workplace if used recklessly rewards and punishments can make people feel manipulated and taken advantage of so make sure you never use your Power to justify an act of bullying number 3 expert power, even if someone can’t reward or punish you, they can still have significant power over you.

It’s important to remember that power dynamics aren’t always an exchange of resources. Expert power is a great example. It depends solely on your perception of another person’s expertise. If you’re a young entrepreneur, you would attribute more power to a successful businessman right.

That businessman has much more experience, so his advice would be more valuable than yours. His expertise grants him power over someone who has less knowledge. Expert power doesn’t usually result in concrete changes.

Instead, it affects thoughts and abstract ideas. An amateur artist might base their style on an expert that they admire. That expert has no direct control over the artists. Behavior, however, influenced changed the way the artist was thinking now.

Of course, a new mindset can affect every nook and cranny of your life, so don’t make the mistake of thinking. Expert power doesn’t do anything number four legitimate power. Legitimate power is probably the most complicated of the five foundational powers.

It’S the reason why a CEO can boss around his subordinates. It’S why the president is considered a more powerful person than a single, senator or governor. When someone has legitimate power, the powerless believe the power has a formal right to give orders.

The powerful person usually has some sort of technical, positional, or legal right to do so, so naturally, they expect less powerful people to listen and obey. Legitimate power comes from a simple thought process in life.

There are things you should do and things you shouldn’t. Do French and Raven call this contrast? The feeling of honesty these shoulds and shouldn’t derive from just about anywhere from your parents, from your school from your friends, they’re, often products of hidden interactions between all kinds of people and experiences.

Sometimes you have no idea where your aunt Nanae’s legitimate power relies on honesty to exist. Imagine, for example, that your boss gives you some notes on a project that you’re working on, but you disagree you like the project the way it is so should you listen to your boss or should you ignore her suggestions? Let’S say you decide to make changes to your project, even though you didn’t like them.

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