Authors said, “One cannot understand leadership without understanding the concepts of power, influence, and influence tactics (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 1993, pp. 339).
Power is identified as the “Capacity or potential to exert influence” (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 1995) on to others. Power is a form of one’s ability to influence others as he or she wishes them to behave or change one’s methods. The power one has will be determined by change imposed on an individual. It is to say that people with power have some control over individuals before them (followers).
A person cognizant the relationship between power and influence and leadership; this person should first know what scholars and researchers define them. According to Hughes, Ginnett, and Curphy (1993, p. 339) power is “The capacity to produce effects on others” and influence is “The change in a target agent’s attitudes, beliefs, values, or behaviors.” In the other hand, leadership is “Influencing an organized group to accomplishing its goals” (Hughes, Ginnett & Curphy, 1993, p. 43).
From the definitions above power could use different views. Power can be seen in a person because of his or her job, which called legitimate power. A person with a position, power can be used on followers and around that person would be a manager or a leader or both. There is a strong correlation between power and influence; influence needs power to act. There are leaders who bound the influence on their followers by using some powers. Powerful leaders are using their strengths to change people attitudes and behaviors (Hughes, Ginnett & Curphy, 1993, pp. 341-343).
The relationships among power, influence, and leadership are sometimes used synonymously. “Leadership motivation involves the desire to influence and dominate others and is often equated with the need for power” (Hughes, Ginnett, & Cruphy, 1995). As attributed by Hughes (2005), leadership does not imply that an individual has the power. It is a personal need to persuade and lead others. These leaders will have some power, but it power is not restricted to only leaders. Followers too can have the power to dominate their own decisions and influence others.
A leader is someone who will have full power of his or her group. Therefore, superior leadership is to have the power within a group to take complete control and influence them to a common goal (Follett, 1949). Leadership, power, and influence are used interchangeably because they are terms used to identify an outstanding leader. Leadership requires individuals to influence and motivate their followers to one goal. This can only be done by having some power over followers that do not involve force or manipulation, but influence them in a way that they are inspired to follow that one common goal. Leaders should not look for power because it could easily be procured by the method of influence on others. In procuring the power, these individuals have leadership because they have influenced their group to this one common goal.
The foundation of any leader's authority is built on these concepts of power and influence within the organization, and it is the follower's perceptions needs that drive the exchange. French and Raven (In Hampton, Summer, & Webber, 1987) identify six bases of power only operational depending on their ability to meet the needs and expectations of followers. This model suggests that leaders can assess a situation based on stakeholder needs and fluidly can function from the requisite source of power depending on those assessed needs. These bases of power are:
1. Coercive power is based on a follower's perception that an influencer can inflict castigation and that the chastisement will be unpleasant or will annoy some need.
2. Reward power is based on a follower’s perception that an influencer has the capacity to provide some reward and that the reward will be amiable or will satisfy some need.
3. Legitimate power is based upon followers' internalized values, which inspire them that an influencer has the legitimate right to influence and that they are bound to accept. This base of power is at the core of a traditional influence system, which endows leadership positions with formal authority.
4. Referent power is based on a follower's desire to identify with a charismatic leader who is followed out of blind faith. The identification can be maintained while the follower behaves as the leader directs. Referent power is the primary source of charismatic influence.
5. Expert power is based on a follower's perception that the leader has significant cognizance or expertise, which can be useful in fulfilling one of the follower's needs.
6. Representative power is based on followers’ democratically delegating power to the leader to representing their interests and making decisions in his or her behalf. (pp. 150-151)
Accord followers' desires are needed to using the power "given" by them to influence their behavior. Influencing others is dependent upon the power held by the influencer and the expectations of the followers. Surely, some bases of power are more effective than others, depending on the situation, and they are when the leader becomes dependent on one power that his or her effectiveness begins to deteriorate. It is also dependent on the power motives of the leader and how those are interpreted by the stakeholder. A leader who celebrates the power through the empowerment of others, despite the changes, an organization may be working on (Kotter, 1996), and despite the models being used to achieve these changes (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 1993), the relationship between the leader's power and his or her authority seems to be reflected in these bases defined by French and Raven.
Hampton, Summer, & Webber (1987) suggest that influence is the process by which someone follows another's advice. Power is the attribute of the person or position that bestows him or her ability to influence, and authority is only one basis of power that may be used French and Raven (1970) suggests that authority is legitimate power induced by a person's position, and power is the essence of formal or informal authority.
When is said and done, I think that Simon (1976) had the best and most succinct response when he suggested that power is the fact that makes authority effective. Grimes also suggests that the discrepancy between the two is essentially one of permission and the resulting degree of influence, where power controls another without permission and control exercises to influence with consent. This is a link that leaves most to believe defensive in the face of power and less so with the concept of authority.