Team Dynamics and Power


Relationships at work are very important for the effective functioning of an organization/team. But a successful organization usually involves some very strong personalities who may be the leaders or the subordinates. So, what are the different developmental stages of groups? What are the possible motivators to gain power? How do these strong personalities work together in an organization?


Let’s consider the example of one of the organizations that I was a part of in my sophomore year in college. I was the President of Multicultural club- a group whose sole focus was to educate the locals about diversity and introduce them to new cultures. I had 3 other students working directly under me on my executive board, I had an advisor, and I also had about 15-20 students as members of the club. The club was a success overall since we managed to pull off 2 major events, one of which was a completely new event and both of which were featured in local newspapers. Through this club, I also started a campaign to build a meditation room on-campus, made the administrators become aware of the urgent need of this room.


According to Tukman, there is a cycle that dictates the different aspects of group formation which include, forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. The group first entered the norming stage by the exec board first having a meeting and then having an ice breaker activity during our general body meeting. In the storming stage, we finalized our roles in the group and faced our first few conflicts. Even though everyone was determined to perform their jobs according to their roles, we did have some conflicts when it came time to prepare for various events. As we entered the norming stage, we stayed with our original roles. We also solidified some of the norms of the group, such as meeting in the afternoons to work on event prep or for me and my vice-president to have meetings in our free time to discuss event planning details. In the performing stage, we successfully pulled off the event and reached our goals. We also entered the adjourning stage by restarting this cycle once the first project was completed.


Power was a phenomenon that was helpful in some ways while stressful in others. A struggle for power occurred between me and my advisor. While I was the clear and elected leader of the group, my advisor wanted to treat me as a subordinate and so the power struggle began. My advisor had expert power, so I was influenced by her knowledge and was forced to follow her lead in some aspects. However, I had legitimate power, which is given through an official title. As a result, there were frequent cases of conflict between my advisor and I. I believe my advisor had a need for power, or a desire to influence others. I do not believe that she wanted personalized power but was rather more focused on socialized power since I do believe that she wanted the group to prosper at the end of the day.


While the struggle for power was definitely a cause for concern for me, it did not hinder our progress as a group. The team continued to progress through all of Tukman’s developmental stages for groups. In the end, we were able to pull off two of the largest on-campus events while starting a new campaign for the future of the campus.



Nelson, A. (2017). Organizational Life and Teams. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from



1 comment

  1. Power, especially in terms of work place activities, can pose so many different issues. Conflicts over even the most petty of things can arise.

    I was unaware that there were different types of power that existed. I thought that power was always power and used in one way per se. According to Business Insider, there are seven different types of power within the workplace. These are legitimate power, coercive power, expert power, informational power, reward power, connection power, and referent power (Giang, 2017).

    Legitimate power is the power that is used within organizations that states that a higher position most often has more control than lower positions. Coercive power is the power used that is lead by threats and force (Giang, 2017). Overall, this is an ineffective use of power in my opinion. I am less likely to respect and listen to leaders who “force” me into things. I do recall walking out a job because my supervisor belittled me to the point where I didn’t care any longer. It was a dumb move on my part overall, but I can understand how this is an ineffective use of power in the long run. Expert power is power possessed by an individual who is thought to have superior skills and knowledge (Giang, 2017). This can be a respectful type of power in most cases. I would rather have a leader that is knowledgable and understanding. Even if they are slightly harsh, if they know what they are doing and get things done I could respect them for this. Informational power is a short term power where an individual possesses information that is wanted (Giang, 2017). I see this as extremely limiting because once you give up the only piece of information that makes you valuable, what other power could you possess? It really makes you think. Reward power is power used by offering rewards, promotions, and other appealing, well, rewards (Giang, 2017). I can see this as effective if you want to motivate individuals. However, in the long run, this can provide an environment for employees to only produce their best work if they expect instant gratification. Connection power is power given because you know someone of high position (Giang, 2017). It isn’t what you do, it’s who you know. Does that ring a bell? People use this to their advantage when they have little else to offer sometimes. I don’t consider this a credible power. You can know absolutely nothing about your field, but if you know someone who does, does this instantly make you important? I think not. Lastly, there is referent power. This is the most important and sought after type of power. Referent power is the ability to convey a sense of personal acceptance or approval (Giang, 2017). These individuals are admired by others. This allows them to influence by means that are credible and valuable. I would most want to work under someone who possesses this type of power.

    Great post!!

    Giang, V. (2017). The 7 types of power that shape the workplace. Retrieved from

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