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the ability to influence the behavior of others to get what you want.



people’s tendencies to behave consistently with social norms. Conformity can refer to small things such as how people tend to face forward in an elevator.



the more that a person or unit is dependent on you, the more power you have over them.



the uniqueness of a resource.



the value of the resource. The key question here is “How important is this?” If the resources or skills you control are vital to the organization, you will gain some power.



one’s ability to find another option that works as well as the one offered. The question around whether something is substitutable is “How difficult would it be for me to find another way to this?” The harder it is to find a substitute, the more dependent the person becomes and the more power someone else has over them.


legitimate power

power that comes from one’s organizational role or position. For example, a manager can assign projects, a police officer can arrest a citizen, and a teacher assigns grades. Others comply with the requests these individuals make because they accept the legitimacy of the position, whether they like or agree with the request or not.


reward power

the ability to grant a reward, such as an increase in pay, a perk, or an attractive job assignment. Reward power tends to accompany legitimate power and is highest when the reward is scarce.


coercive power

the ability to take something away or punish someone for noncompliance. Coercive power often works through fear, and it forces people to do something that ordinarily they would not choose to do.


expert power

comes from knowledge and skill. Jeff Bezos, CEO of, has expert power from his ability to know what customers want—even before they can articulate it.


information power

distinguished by access to specific information. For example, knowing price information gives a person information power during negotiations.


referent power

stems from the personal characteristics of the person such as the degree to which we like, respect, and want to be like them.


self-focused impression management

promoting and enhancing one’s qualities to create a specific image in the eyes of the other person regarding one’s qualities. A statement such as “I am a hard worker” or “I really enjoy customer interaction” are examples of self-focused impression management in a job interview context.


other-focused impression management

complimenting or praising the other party, doing favors to them, or conforming to their opinions to make oneself more attractive and likeable to the other party. Statements such as “I fully agree with you—it is important for a salesperson to be proactive” or “You must really have excellent time management skills; I have a lot to learn from you” are examples of other-focused impression management tactics.


political skill

people's interpersonal style, including their ability to relate well to others, self-monitor, alter their reactions depending upon the situation they are in, and inspire confidence and trust.


central connectors

people linked to the greatest number of people


boundary spanners

people who connect one network to another within the company or even across organizations.