Organizational Communication

Course Description Lecture Syllabus Lab Syllabus Assign. Due Dates
Course Assignments Lecture Notes Lab Notes Training Resources

last updated 11/3/2016

Elements of Powers Systems

All can be used by the individual

  1. Rule Systems - formal - connects power to the organization's structure and hierarchy 

  2. Power Bases - connected to the person (e.g. expertise and interpersonal relations)  "Social Capital"

  3. Power Bases - connected to resources (e.g. information access, rewards and punishments, coalitions

  4. Cultural Elements - unobtrusive but connected to the organization’s interaction patterns, values,etc.

  • Limits on procedures - Forums effect what can be done

  • "Standard” ways of doing business limit what is thought or can be done; e.g. habits. 

  • Limits on topics and reasons - i.e. argument forms

  • Topoi

  • Metaphors and language

  • "Good” reasons

  • Organizational goals and values

  • Limits on information flow: privacy, secrecy, politeness


Power can be Overt or Unobtrusive

  • Overt power can be seen and is normally used only when the system or person is threatened.  Weakness is usually involved.

  • Unobtrusive power (norms ofpower use) is far more common and powerful, in part because is is not contested.


Gaining power is important for YOUR organizational success.