Leadership and Power

Sources of Power (Pfeffer, 1992)

  1. Personal traits: energy, endurance, physical stamina, sensitivity, focus personal energy avoiding wasted effort, flexibility, personal toughness, ability to submerge ego and be good team player
  2. Formal position in hierarchy: Control over resources, physical space, decision making power of position
  3. Location in Communication network
    1. Work-flow network
    1. Informal communication network
    1. Friendship network (allies)
  4. Information: “Knowledge is power” – Information to support decisions, Reliance on specialist data to argue case, Use of consultants
  5. Performance: measured against an objective standard of correctness – accomplish things that make the subunit and the boss look good
  6. Structural Power: Gaining control of a unit rich with resources, Criticality of the unit / pervasiveness in the organisation, Being irreplaceable
  7. Symbolic action:
    1. Political language
    1. Appeal to emotions
    1. Symbols and ceremonies

Suggested Readings

  • Chapter 7 – ‘Leadership and Power’ – in Schedlitzki and Edwards (2017)
  • Gordon, R.D. (2011) Leadership and power. In A. Bryman, D. Collinson, K. Grint, B. Jackson and M. Uhl-Bien (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Leadership. London: Sage, 195–202. VleReader
  • Film – Made in Dagenham (2010): Made in Dagenham | IMDb
  • Based on a true story – Explores the movement that caused a significant law reform
  • Rita O’Grady (a fictional character) leads the 1968 Ford sewing machinists strike at the Ford Dagenham plant, where female workers walk out to protest sexual discrimination, demanding equal pay.
  • The strike drew major attention around the world because it was considered contrary to women’s traditional family roles.
  • The successful strike led to the Equal Pay Act 1970.

Activity B

Respond to each of the following questions in your learning diaries:

  1. Which of sources of power do you have? How might you use these sources of power in a management / leadership role?
  2. Which of these sources would you look to develop? How might you do this?
  3. How could you leverage your power to affect change?
  4. Which of these sources of power are most used within organisations? Why?

Assessment Criteria for Self                Assessment Criteria for Leadership

Reflection -Component A            Interview -Component B

Recommendations are made but they are sometimes difficult to follow. Provides brief details of the interview

No recommendations are made.

No details of the interview are provided


Ability to communicate using an academic format.  MARK         MARK

[15] Adept handling of the material, well reasoned, [15] [13] with a clear line of thought. [13]

The writer’s voice or signature is clearly present.

12      References are accurately and appropriately 12 recorded.

[11]                                                                                                     [11]

[11]     Material is well-handled, with clear evidence of           [11] reasoning and narrative thread.

10      The writer’s voice or signature can be seen and            10 heard.

[10]       References accurately and appropriately recorded.        [10]

[9]      Satisfactory handling of the material, but the               [9] reader may sometimes have to work to follow the line of thought.

8 The writer’s voice or signature is sometimes lost. 8 References adequately recorded but may contain

[7]         occasional minor errors.                                                      [7]

[7]       Poor handling of the material and the reader has        [7] to work to follow the line of thought.

    6       The writer’s voice or signature is weak.                           6

Referencing may contain errors

[5]                                                                                                         [5]

[4] Handling of the material is weak, with little/no [4] obvious line of thought.

3        The writer’s voice or signature is faint or missing.      3 Referencing very weak.

[1]                                                                                                         [1]

[0]                                                                                                         [0]

Do I need to construct some kind of an argument?

  • Yes.  this is always preferable. Better essays almost always have an argument they are trying to make, rather than being a collection of unconnected mini-essays. Establish some through line of thought, or a core theme
  • This argument cannot be dictated to you by teaching staff. It is up to you to decide, given that it is based on your own research. Interviews that are well prepared, by those who have a deep understanding of the topics at hand, and perhaps an idea of where they want the overall discussion to go are generally more effective than those that are unprepared, or ‘hit and hope’.

How much information from the diary should I include?

  • do not concentrate on either theory or practice at the expense of the other. This is precisely where the notion of ‘analysis’ comes in
  • your ability to use theory and practice together, rather than (a) giving a predominantly theory-led account, with very little reference to the learning diary, or (b) giving a point-by-point rundown of the learning diary, with little in the way of theoretical insight.
  • As a starting point, once your learning diary is complete, think about what the key themes are, from here, you can be more selective. It is highly suggested that you read through published academic work (such as those that we review in seminar activities) to see how researchers integrate reflection data and theory.

Am I expected to be ‘mainstream’ or ‘critical’ in my account?

  • The narrative of the module hinges on the relationship between ‘mainstream’ and ‘critical’ ideas.
  • That is, mainstream approaches to leadership are not presented unproblematically, and critical perspectives are introduced in order to shed new light on existing ideas. Hopefully, this will be reflected in your learning diary, and in your written work.
  • Focussing on just one ‘angle’ will only allow you to tell half a story, and will not show an engagement with the full depth and breadth of the module.
  • Mainstream: The ideas, attitudes, or activities that are regarded as normal or conventional; the dominant trend in opinion

The lectures, textbook and core articles contain a lot of information on the various topics. How am I supposed to fit all of this into the word count?

  • Do not include all of the points made in the lecture, textbook chapters and readings – doing so will leave you little room for actually answering the question and analysing the content of your learning diary.
  • Your job is to pick out the elements that are most relevant to you, explain why you are using them / why they are relevant, and use them to construct your essay. The lecture slides and textbook should provide you with a ‘toolbox’ that indicates and points to a number of avenues to pursue, rather than a prescriptive tick-list.

How much descriptive work do I need to do?

  • With an essay of this length, you should avoid being too descriptive, and leave room for analysing the learning diary and linking the theory and practice together. This will test your ability to be concise and to-the-point when it comes to describing ideas and topics.
  • For the learning diary: do not just describe what the diary says – go well beyond this, and tell us what it means. For example, does it fully support what previous theories have said? Or can you add something else in? A critique? An augmentation or supplement? Doing this may help you to construct an argument, rather than just recounting the learning diary point-by-point.

How much outside reading should I do?

  • The lecture / seminar materials and core text are intended only as a stepping off point for your research. If you only use them, your mark for ‘Theory, knowledge and understanding’, ‘Literature awareness’ is likely to be at the lower end.
  • You are expected to read more widely around the topics that you have chosen from other academic sources, such as journal articles, textbooks and book chapters. Some indicative sources are given in the AiL module handbook, and you can also begin by following up on references offered in the lecture and core text, as well as conducting your own independent research.
  • Regarding the specific number of references to include, please see the question: How many references should I have?

I find that certain websites – such as BizEd and

BusinessBalls – offer concise understandings of Organisation Studies’ topics, is it ok to use them?

  • No. Various sources, particularly certain websites, are not appropriate for inclusion in your academic work. Where journal articles and books are put through a rigorous review process, these others are not, making them untrustworthy and unreliable. Using such sources within your essay will see you incurring a 10% reduction in your overall mark for that coursework.
  • An indicative (but not exhaustive) list includes: Wikipedia; BizEd; BusinessBalls; BusinessStudiesOnline; Ebea; Tutor2u; TopMarks; RevisionStation; BusinessCaseStudies; Tes; RewardLearning; RevisionGuru; Mindtools
  • Exercise appropriate caution when choosing your sources. The list of textbooks and journals provided in the module handbook, and the reading list for each lecture topic, all provide you with some research possibilities, meaning that you need not rely on such questionable websites and sources.