Power and Control in a Workplace

Power and control are two major forces present in a workplace. In this article, you will be able to learn about the different types of power and how conflict occurs in order to achieve power at work. Furthermore, you will learn about the importance of control in an organization.

Power in the Workplace

Power in the Workplace

Power is about having the authority to take action. Power is usually given to someone who has the ability to undertake the tasks effectively. Someone should have the following characteristics to be able to gain power:

  • Mental Attributes: such as problem-solving skills
  • Physical attributes: depending on the demand of the work
  • Skills: such as communication skills, interpersonal skills, customer service skills and so on.
  • Experience
  • Status: such as social networks and wealth

Seven Types of Power:

  • Coercive Power: this is like a dictatorship. The leader uses threats and force to get their employees to work.


  • Expert Power: the power is given to someone who has the broad experience and knowledge of the work.


  • Legitimate Power: the leader in a higher position has the right to control his subordinates and pass orders.


  • Informational Power: the power is given to someone who has a broad knowledge of a particular task.


  • Reward Power: this is when the leader encourages his subordinates to work hard in return for increased wages, promotions and awards.


  • Connection Power:this is when someone gets the power because he knows or is related to someone influential.


  • Referent Power: this is usually to someone who is loved and respected by all the workers.

Abuse of Power

Abuse of Power

Abuse of power is about the leader causing harm to someone because he is in power.

Examples of Power Abuses are:

  • Swearing at their subordinates
  • Threaten their subordinates
  • Demand sexual favors in return for promotion
  • Demand money in return for offering a job
  • Corruption
  • Bullying subordinates

How to Stop the Abuse of Power at Work

  • Report abuses to your local human rights council and your employment rights council
  • Report abuses to senior management
  • Seek help from colleagues to act as an eyewitness

Control in the Workplace

Control in the Workplace

Control is a basic function of management. Control is the process of monitoring performance and taking action to ensure the subordinates attain the goals and objectives.

The Control Process 

There are four steps to control the process:

  • Step 1 is to establish objectives and standards
  • Step 2 is to measure actual performance
  • Step 3 is to compare results with objectives and standards
  • Step 4 is to take needed action

The best controls in organizations are:

  • To plan work in advance
  • Mutual understanding between leader and subordinates
  • Encouragement of self-control
  • Results-oriented
  • Effective time management
  • The leader is positive
  • The leader gives fair treatment to everyone

Types of control

  • Preliminary Control

It is also known as feed-forward controls. The leader ensures that the right resources are available to do the work and everyone is assigned a role in the project.

  • Concurrent Control

It is also known as steering. The leader monitors the ongoing work and manages the ongoing operation effectively.

  • Post-Action Control

It is also known as feedback control. The leader focuses on the results rather than monitoring the inputs and activities.

  • Internal Control

This is when the leader relies upon the subordinates to self-manage their own behavior and be self-motivated.

  • External Control

This is when the leader manages the behavior of his subordinates and motivates them to work.

The Characteristics of a Leader to Be Able to Control Effectively:

  • They need to act on an immediate basis.
  • They need to appreciate the work of their subordinates not their personalities.
  • They need to support their subordinates.
  • They need to set realistic objectives and deadlines.
  • The need to provide subordinates with adequate information concerning the project.


So, what is your point of view on power and control in the workplace?


You may also like