If one is in the position of having influence on others, do they also then hold power? Lesson 7 covered the perspectives of power and influence, as these concepts are often thought of as interchangeable, but this is not always the case. Pfeffer mentions that you can earn power yourself by use of strategies and tactics instead of waiting around to receive it from your boss (2011). When considering social power, there are many aspects that can affect one’s power.
There have been times at work I have witnessed someone who is not in a position of power but still holds a great influence or negative influence over others. It seems to be that if you are a well-respected person who is good at what you do, there will surely be others who look up to you and follow your lead. Influence is the change in a target agent’s attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors as a result of influence tactics (PSU WC, 2019, Lesson 7). By knowing that, it is easy to see why influence differs from power. It shows that you don’t have to be someone’s boss to affect them and their behaviors in whatever situation you may be in.
I have personally been influenced by others, specifically coworkers, who worked at the same level as I did and held the same job title as me at the time. When someone has a positive, respectable, and admirable work ethic, it is influential on those around them and rubs off on others. This time I am referring to is when a coworker and I were both cake decorators in the bakery at our store. There was a girl who was experienced in the bakery as she had worked there for some time and she made the best quality product out of everyone else, including the boss in that position. Not only did she make great quality product, she also was the quickest and most efficient at the same time. Her work ethic and positive attitude truly had an effect on me and influenced me to want to do better and work up to her standards. After a short time, we were seen as equals. We loved working together because we would always be on the same page, working at the same pace, and producing beautiful product. The other girl who was in a position of power at that time eventually became threatened by our impactful working relationship and was also envious that we worked so efficiently (more so than she did). This became an issue later on in the department, but it all worked out in the end. Although my friend no longer works there, by her own choice as she is now a school teacher, I will always remember the great influence she had on me and how she challenged me to be a better worker.
People who have these effects on others just due to their personalities and behaviors are the ones that are influential. This simply goes to show that one does not have to be in a position of power to have influence on others.
Jeff Pfeffer: Power and Influence in the Collaborative Age. (2011, Feb 18). Mlabvideo. Youtube. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/BXGQqwVb018
Pennsylvania State University World Campus. (2019) PSYCH 485. Lesson 7: Taxonomy of Social Power. Retrieved from: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1972967/modules/items/25704923