Presented October 28, 2009 by
Jake Russo, Rich Moran, Peggy Pughe and Joe Manildi
“The probability that one
actor within a social
relationship will be in a
position to carry out his
own will despite
resistance.” Weber, 1947,
Sources of authority—legitimate
Groups influence who
has authority & who
follows the authority
Authority relations in schools have
3 primary characteristics:
• Willingness of staff to comply
• A suspension of the staffs’ criteria for making a decision
prior to a directive
• A power relationship legitimized by the norms of a
Types of Authority
– Traditional authority: belief in the sanctity of the
status of those exercising authority in the past
– Legal authority: based on enacted laws that can be
changed by formally correct procedures
– Formal authority: vested in the organization and
is legally established in positions, rules, and
– Functional authority: variety of sources,
including authority of competence and authority of
– Informal authority: stems from personal behavior
and attributes of individuals.
Authority and Administrative
Behavior in Schools
• Chester Barnard (1938) “zone of indifference”
• Formal authority promotes limited compliance, but
doesn’t require employees to exert responsibility or
• This poses a challenge for school leaders
• Control through
– Leads to resentment
– Lack of loyalty
– Blau refers to this as the
Therefore, successful principals
do the opposite:
• They furnish services & assistance to faculty
• Results: enhanced development of loyalty and an
increase in the principal’s informal authority
• Supervisors should focus on helping, not directing
• Research supports these assertions
• “Close authoritarian control of teachers does not
generate informal authority; supportive and helpful
supervision does.” p. 223
Emotional detachment &
Important characteristics of principal-teacher
Emotional detachment: the ability to remain
cool/collected in challenging situations
Hierarchical independence: extent to which
administrators demonstrate their autonomy from
superiors (District level admin) as they interact w/
Principals get caught in the
middle all the time
An Administrator’s To Do List:
– Be considerate and supportive of their teachers: help
teachers be successful
– Be authentic: be straight, share in the blame, and avoid
– Be unfettered by bureaucracy: substitute good judgment
for rigid rules
– Demonstrate autonomy: be your own person
– Demonstrate influence: go to bat for your teachers with
– Stay calm and cool, especially in difficult situations:
don’t “blow up”
– Avoid the use of authoritarian behavior: it is doomed to
Sources of Power
• Reward Power: Influence staff by rewarding a desired
• Coercive Power: Influence the staff by punishing
them for undesirable behavior.
• Legitimate power: Influence behavior of staff
because of his/her formal position (principal).
• Referent Power: Influence behavior based on the
staff’s liking and identification with the administrator
• Expert power: Influence subordinate’s behavior
based on specialized knowledge or skill
Don’t abuse your power, just be
Be polite and clear.
Explain reasons when requesting
something from your staff.
Respond to concerns of staffers
Use legitimate authority.
Make sure you’ve got the right wine for that
cheese…it could get ugly if you don’t!
• Your effectiveness as an administrator is determined
by pairing the right type of power with the right
• There are five types of power (you’ve got the list in your
packet) and Yukl has identified three reactions that
they may elicit from your staff:
– Simple compliance
How’s about a little informal assessment…
Get your “Types of Power” cheat sheet.
Obtain a student responder.
Wait for me to tell you when to power up your
Log in with your three letter code located on the sheet
at your table (press slowly).
When answering, press only once.
B.) Simple Compliance
B.) Simple compliance
B.) Simple Compliance
B.) Simple Compliance
B.) Simple compliance
So, what do we get out of this?
Two of the five types of power will
maximize commitment from the
At the very least, the type of power
you choose should avoid resistance
Issues with each type of power.
Referent power most effective, but also most
difficult to achieve because it requires longevity.
Expert power requires the constant demonstration
of knowledge and skill (you may also have to
relinquish some control )
Reward power may guarantee simple compliance,
but we want to avoid bringing Ivan to the party.
Legitimate power is a possibility but limited in its
scope (i.e. grades).
Coercive power just gets ugly. You didn’t do what I
want so I’m going to do this to you…
There is also the possibility of sharing power.
Sharing EMPOWERS staff. Components of sharing
Shared decision making
Delegation of authority
Promotion of teamwork/collaboration
Minimizes the need to yield less productive types of
power and may have positive outcomes on student
Mintzberg’s Perspective on Power
Power is controlled by the individuals in a school that
control a resource, a technical skill, or a body of
knowledge. Do you have power if most people have a
skill that you have?
Case study – me.
Power can also come from a legal perogative.
Some people can wield power because they have
special access to those in the power structure.
Four Sets of Internal Power Systems
The System of Authority
Personal control (Administrative
Bureaucratic control (contractual
The System of Ideology
The System of Expertise
The System of Politics
What to do?
Combining systems of authority and ideology with a
pinch of expertise will allow you to maximize the
effectiveness of your power on campus.
The overarching message…
SHARE POWER WHILE LIMITING POLITICAL
Rationality vs. Rationalization
Rationality is the application of evidence and reason
to make decisions
Rationalization is an attempt to make a decision
seem rational after it has already been made.
The influence of Power on Reason
Possession of power spoils the free use of reason (Kant,
People in Power spin the truth to suit their own
purposes. (Sweetland and Hoy, 2000b).
Power defines reality!
People in power reinterpret evidence.
The influence of Power on Reason
Interpretation is itself a means of becoming master of
something and subduing and becoming masters
involves a fresh interpretation.
Self delusion may be part of the will to power.
Two types of power use
People who can force the issue
People who must use persuasion.
Rationalization and Power
Administrators often believe their own
An administrator unwilling to present a rational
argument is using the power to act.
Administrators are more likely to listen to reason when
power is Stable.
“Knowledge is power” Bacon (1597) but also “power is
ORGANIZATIONAL POWER AND
POLITICS pg. 236 – 238
Organizational Politics is informal and illegitimate.
Coalitions are groups of individuals who bargain for
Individuals have parochial needs and attempt to satisfy
those needs by forming groups.
Groups may be professional, departmental, gender,
ethnic, internal or external.
Achieve goals outside affected by external
of official decision coalitions
making process. Five types
Three types Personalized
THE POWER GAME pg. 238 – 240
Your options are…
Stay and play for power
Stay and contribute as
Politics can be good!
Politics creates conflict and can bring attention to an
Politics ensures and promotes:
Strongest members become leaders
All sides of issue are debated
Action on decisions.
Now let the GAMES BEGIN!!!!
Political power is
C.) Either depending on the situation
When a group of students begin to
protest an event, then students and
teachers take sides. The type of
internal coalition formed is
• Ingratiating: a tactic used to gain the goodwill of
another group doing favors.
• Networking: The process of forming relationships with
• Information Management: A tactic used to control
others or build status
• Impression management: Create a favorable
image…tout your accomplishments.
• Coalition building: the process of individuals banning
together to achieve a to; oppose or support a proposed
policy or change.
• Scapegoating: is blaming and attacking others when
things go wrong or not working
• Increasing indispensability: individuals make
themselves necessary to the organization.
• Rules establish opportunities or pathways by which people
gain access to positions, power and materials.
• Insurgency games: used to resist formal authority
• Power building games: Games that are used by participants to
build a power base.
• Alliance-building game: individuals develop a concern and
seek supporters or a group of individuals concerned about an
issue seek out an informal leader to effectively present their
• Empire building game: the attempt of an individual to
enhance his or her power base by collecting subordinates and
groups. Individuals are typically fighting over territory. This
type of game typically takes place during budgeting; Secure
resources, satisfy your constituents; retain power.
• Expertise game: Secure power through the development of
specialized skills necessary to the success of the organization
Lording: Those with legitimate power “lord over” subordinates;
often seen in the classroom.
• Line and staff game: Conflict between middle managers
with formal authority and staff advisors with specialized
expertise (District level coordinator -vs -principal)
• Rival-camps game: Two well defined groups square off.
Change Games: Designed to alter the organization or its
• Strategic-candidates game: Use the legitimate system of
authority to promote a proposal or project.
• Whistle blowing game: The use of inside information on a
particular behavior that violates an important norm or
perhaps the law. The informant typically circumvents the
legitimate channel of control and is subject to reprisal, the
contact is typically kept secret.
• Young Turks-game: an attempt to affect a change so
fundamental that is throws the legitimate power into
Your needs -vs.- needs of others
Assertive Competing Collaborating
• Conflict-management styles: Two basic dimensions of
behavior that can produce conflict: attempting to satisfy
one’s concerns and attempting to satisfy others’ concerns.
• Avoiding style: Unassertive and uncooperative. Ignore
• Compromising style: Balancing the needs between the
organization and individuals. Negotiate; focus on middle
• Competitive style: creates win lose situations-assertive and
uncooperative style which produces rivalry and creates a
situation in which the winner achieves his/ her goals at the
expense of others.
• Accommodating style: Unassertive and cooperative;
submissive and compliant.
• Collaborating style: Assertive and cooperative. Problems and
conflicts are seen as challenges. Differences are confronted
and ideas and information are shared. Attempting to s satisfy
organizational demands can be viewed along an assertive-
unassertive continuum: attempting to satisfy individual needs
can be conceptualized from uncooperative to cooperative.