The power game in business


POWER is defined as the ability to influence or control the behaviour of people. In the corporate environment power is often expressed as upward or downward.

When a company exerts upward power it is the subordinates who influence the decision. With downward power, a company’s superior influence subordinates. In most businesses in Zimbabwe downward power is used.

In some instances, however, the subordinates are involved in crafting the strategy which then becomes the roadmap for the businesses.

There are many types of power. These are often used interchangeable to bring about the results that are required by a business. I will attend to each in a little detail as given below:

Coercive power

This power is based on fear. This is power that in my opinion is military. Failure to comply may bring serious repercussion to the offender. Punishment may be unavoidable in this instance. This type of power may work if the staff are perceived to be lazy and need consistent supervision.

This kind of work environment would already be problematic in its nature and could be a huge subject in its own right. The weakness of this type of power is that the workers will do only that which is required. They are not motivated to think out of the box or be creative. This kind of power also frustrates those people who might otherwise volunteer to do other tasks that are not necessary in their brief.

Connection power

This is power that is based on who the person in power knows. Normally the person who they know would be in an influential position. Subordinates are therefore consistently reminded of the person in authority and their closeness to this person. The weakness of this kind of power is that it becomes political.

 Charisma power
Charisma power is based on personality. This kind of power hopes to influence subordinates by the personality of the leader. The problem with this kind of power is that smiles and warm feelings cannot replace the truth.

Competence power

It is based on the ability to get results. Obviously every business wants to get concrete results out of their efforts and it is pleasing to all concerned when results show clearly. The disadvantage of competence power is that raw ability is good, but not if it alienates or fails to empower people.

Christmas power
This a type of power that is based on gifts bestowed. It is also known as reward power. This type of power can lead to corruption as those who give gifts may get their way even if at that point it is not necessarily what is best for the business or industry. The weakness with this kind of power is that people want what they don’t need and want what they do not desire.

That is it on the power game. On a different note tomorrow Southern Eye will undertake a charity walk from the City Hall to Hillside Dams.

Greens Supermarket and Edgars will sponsor this good cause. It should follow that companies who give back to the community are recognised and in deciding to do business it should also follow that consumers would choose these.

Sponsorship of good causes is undoubtedly a good way of marketing communications. I hope that other companies will follow suit for the good of Bulawayo.

Till next week keep reading the red publication and remain Brand Savvy.