MGMT 3304 – Written Assignment 8

Charity Ah Loo
MGMT 3304
August 9, 2014
Written Assignment #8 – p. 445 Discussion Question #15
Which of the bases of power do you think are most commonly used by frontline supervisors
in a factory? What bases of power do you think are most commonly used by the top-level
executive managers of the factory?
Different levels of management will more commonly use different bases of power.
Frontline supervisors might largely use the legitimate or referent bases of power and top-level
executive manager might frequently use legitimate or reward power.
A frontline manager, who is hired directly into a management position from outside the
organization, has authority that comes from a legitimate power base. Employees that report to
this manager honor his authority because the organization has dictated so. It is an expectation of
their job responsibilities to report to the manager and abide by his or her authority.
Frontline managers who have been in an organization for a length of time may leverage a
referent power base. This manager has earned the respect and admiration of those he interacts
with. My former manager, who recently moved into a new position, had referent power. While
he also had legitimate power, it was his referent power that made him a good leader. He
maintained good relationship with each member of our team. We trusted his guidance and
followed his direction because of the referent power he built in our team. In fact, I believe it was
this referent power that he also had with his peers that positioned him for a new opportunity.
Like frontline mangers, top-level executives have legitimate power. Their power and
ability to motivate staff is the result of, not only their title or position, but also because of the
level of their position in the organization.
It’s because of their position in the organization that they would have a reward power
base as well. Top-level executives have strong influence, if not complete control over resources.
Charity Ah Loo
MGMT 3304
August 9, 2014
In our organization, budget requests, project approvals, and raise requests must be approved by
our group Vice President. Even certain hiring, firing, and professional development requests
must be reviewed and approved by a Vice President. Their power is the result of their influence
and ability to positively impact staff on the frontline.
While a frontline supervisors use the legitimate or referent bases of power with staff they
directly oversee and top-level executive managers might use legitimate or reward power, it’s
important to understand that, ultimately, the power base used managers and leaders is the result
of a number of reasons including who they are, what they do, and how they do it.