The Concepts of Power in International Business Negotiations Paper Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1143 Words
Date:  2022-11-21

Power to Influence

In a business environment, managers face different pressures regarding short deadlines, stringent federal and state laws, unrealistic expectations, and stiff competition among others. In most cases, these pressures make employees develop negative attitudes and disengage from their job. In this regard, managers need to influence the attitudes of these stakeholders to enable them to embrace these pressures and achieve organizational goals through the use of appropriate individual power bases. Herein discussed are individual power bases that are relevant to my workplace and examples, power bases making employees receptive, and power bases that can be utilized positively.

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Bases of Individual Power

The ability to influence others is contingent on the base of individual power and the setting in which it is administered. In my current workplace, I relate most with three individual power bases. Imperatively, reward, legitimate, and referent powers have had positive impacts on my attitude, desire, and involvement in achieving organizational goals and objectives.

Reward Power

This type of power refers to the manager's ability to give monetary or non-monetary awards to employees for their achievement as far as organizational goals are concerned (Matsushima, 2013). It is essential to note that the reward is aimed at influencing employees to overstretch their potential in their organizational duties by encouraging healthy competition among them. The reward is also tailored towards encouraging employees to adhere to orders or instructions from their seniors. Additionally, it promotes employee loyalty to the firm or organization they serve, which subsequently improves retention. These rewards may include, but not limited to, extra time off, recognition, bonus, gifts, and pay rise.

Legitimate Power

Legitimate power is the formal authority that a person holds in an organization as far as a particular situation is concerned (Matsushima, 2013). In this type of power, subordinates comply with the directives they receive from holders of formal authority since they believe that in the position's legitimacy. Legitimate power is dependent on a person's position in the organizational hierarchy. Notably, the higher the position an individual holds, the more power that person holds. In my workplace, laws and rules underpin legitimate power, and this implies that a subordinate who fails to adhere to the boss's directive is susceptible to disciplinary actions. It is, however, worthy to elucidate that a person who exercises legitimate power needs to have additional leadership skills like a servant or transformational leadership to be a good leader.

Referent Power

Referent power entails the desire of an individual to be like another person who holds the position of power (Matsushima, 2013). This type of power is particularly achievable in instances where organizational leadership entails influence and collaboration rather than control and command. This implies that the holder of power must have interpersonal skills to build strong relationships with their subjects or subordinates. In turn, the follower will have respect and admiration for the leader. An example of how managers use referent power to influence subordinates is by delegating increased autonomy as well as authority to their followers over time. Additionally, managers can model their behaviors over time to align with those they expect from their subordinates.

Bases of Power that Make Audiences Receptive or Responsive

The first individual power base that most people are receptive to is legitimate power. As stated previously, organizational laws and rules underpin legitimate power. The ramification for this is that employees or audiences have no otherwise but to adhere to directives of those who hold legitimate power lest they receive punishment or possible dismissal from the organization they serve. It is for this reason that audiences are quick to accept suggestions from their superiors since they believe in the legitimacy of the positions they hold.

Audiences are also responsive to expert power as it entails the belief that those who hold power have the expertise or special knowledge (Matsushima, 2013). It is prudent to understand that audiences will follow suggestions or ideas from those who hold expert power for they believe that these people are knowledgeable and their pieces of advice supersede their own understanding. Thus, audiences have to adjust and embrace views of those with expert powers quickly.

Another individual power base in which audiences are responsive to is coercive power. It is paramount to explain that this individual power base encompasses applying punitive measures to audiences who subvert the authority's directive. These punitive measures include demotion, withdrawing employee benefits, and firing an employee among others. Employees are usually responsive to coercive power lest they lose their benefits or their jobs altogether.

Bases of Power that can be used in a Positive Way

Individual power bases, when applied appropriately, can result in desirable organizational outcomes. However, referent power is the most likely power base to bring the best out of subordinates without using enticing or threatening them. This type of power can be used positively to remove bureaucratic obstacles that can hinder achievement of organizational goals by enhancing effective collaboration and good working relationships between employees and the management (Khakhar & Ahmed, 2017). Additionally, referent power models employees' conduct, a situation that leads to the elimination of counterproductive behavior. Furthermore, this power inspires employees to commit and engage in their jobs without external influences such as rewards or punitive measures. Also, individual power base aims at inspiring employees to become future leaders who command respect and admiration from their followers and other stakeholders.

Another power base that can be used positively to achieve unprecedented results is reward power. Noteworthy, when people are motivated, they can explore their maximum potential and achieve the desirable organizational outcome (Khakhar & Ahmed, 2017). Reward power helps in motivating employees to work hard and achieve organizational tasks. As mentioned earlier, holders of this power may use motivational factors like promotions, offering benefits, recognition, and pay rise to increase employee engagement and loyalty to the organization they serve. Consequently, employees may increase their productivity in a bid to receive these rewards, which in turn improves the profitability of the firm as well as employee retention.


In general, organizations need to bestow individual power bases to its management personnel to enable them help in influencing employees. It is essential to pinpoint that reward, legitimate, and referent powers are vital in a workplace environment. For instance, reward power influences people to achieve organizational goals by awarding them if they accomplish their assigned tasks effectively and efficiently. On the other hand, legitimate power is reinforced using organizational laws and rules, which make employees to recognize its validity. Lastly, referent power inspires subjects to desire to be future leaders. Leaders should positively use these powers by utilizing additional leadership skills like servant leadership to enable their audiences to be highly responsive to their directives.


Khakhar, P., & Ahmed, Z. U. (2017). The concepts of power in international business negotiations: An empirical investigation. Journal of Transnational Management, 22(1), 25-52.

Matsushima, R. F. (2013). How to Improve Your Ability to Influence Others. Contract Management, 53(3), 8.

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The Concepts of Power in International Business Negotiations Paper Example. (2022, Nov 21). Retrieved from

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