1. Coercive Power:
Coercive power is based on fear. A leader exercising coercive power induces compliance from subordinates because failure to comply will lead to punishment such is reprimands, suspension or even dismissal.
2. Legitimate Power:
This power is based on the position held by the leader. Generally, the higher the position, the higher will be the legitimate power.
A leader who exercises legitimate power induces compliance because the subordinates feel that the leader has the right by virtue of his position to expect that his orders will be followed.
3. Expert Power:
Expert power is based on the leader’s expertise skill and knowledge. A leader having high expert power possesses high expertise and enjoys high respect which leads compliance to his orders.
4. Reward Power:
Reward power is based on the leader’s ability to provide rewards for the followers who believe that compliance will lead to positive incentives such as more pay, promotions, or recognition.
5. Referent Power:
Referent Power is based on the leader personal traits. A leader possessing high referent power is generally liked and admired by his followers because of his personal qualities and traits.
6. Information Power:
Information power is based on leader’s possession or access to information which is valuable. This power base influences the followers because they need the information or want to be informed about certain issues.
7. Connection Power:
Connection power is based on the leader’s connections with influential and important persons outside or inside the organisation. A leader having high connection induces compliance from his followers because they aim at gaining favour of the leader.
There has been some research on the categorization of power bases. Summarizing the finding of all these studies, Natemayer came to the following general conclusion: While expert and legitimate power bases appear to be the most important reason for compliance, and expert and referent power bases tend to be often strongly and consistently related to subordinate’s performance and satisfaction measures, the results are not clear enough to generalize about the best power base.
Several studies that directly tested the different bases of power found that corrective power induces greater resistance than reward power and users of reward power are liked better than those depending on coercive power. On the other hand, conformity to coercive power increases with the strength of the potential punishment, as the legitimacy of punishing act increases, the conformity also increases and expectances on one task increases the ability to expert influence on a second task.
On the basis of research conducted in five different organisations the following conclusion were drawn regarding the various bases of power:
1. Expert power was most strongly and consistently correlated with satisfaction and performance.
2. Legitimate power along with expert power was rated as the most important basis for complying with a supervisor’s wishes but was an inconsistent factor in organisational effectiveness.
3. Referent Power was given intermediate importance as a reason for complying and in most cases was positively correlated with organisational effectiveness’.
4. Reward Power was also given intermediate importance for complying but had inconsistent correlation with performance.
5. Coercive power was by far the least prominent reason for complying and was actually negatively related to organisational effectiveness.
The conclusion drawn from these research studies point out that the non-formal bases of power (expert and referent) have favourable impact on organisational effectiveness. Nevertheless, it can be noted that the selection of appropriate power base depend upon this situation.