Status & Power.
On this site, and in society in general, people tend to form unjustified beliefs about their individual status and power as well as others standing and rankings. In order to clear up any misconception on whos who and whats what and to help some determine their nice, Ive decided to write this.
In a group of people, status and power are determined by different requirements and flexibilities which we will explore below:
Status is perceived importance and refers to the amount of importance an individual has. It influences who you speak with, who speaks with you and the content of your interpersonal communication. Interpersonal communication is inescapable, irreversible, complicated and contextual. Its important to know your status when communicating. A person with status does not necessarily always lay golden eggs,so to speak. It is always important for individualization to occur and for others to review the validity of ideas or messages presented before accepting them.
Characteristics of a high-status person:
Tendency to talk more
Is listened to by others
Addresses comments to an entire group
Has influence over others
Power refers, in this case, to ones ability to influence. Sometimes status and power go hand in hand but this is not always the case. Through classical discussion, fiver power bases have been determined to explain why certain people have certain powers and what qualifications have to be met for each.
1. Legitimate Power
This is power that comes from a position of responsibility (jobs are an example). This puts someone in a position of power. Legitimate Power gives authority and dictation. It can be given and taken away. This power decreases when certain responsibilities are not being met. As an example: mods on this site. They serve a function and because of their positions they hold legitimate power. Those with legitimate power generally hold one or more of the other powers.
2. Referent Power
Referent Power is power given when people generally like and/or accept you. People with stronger connections have more influence than others. People will identify you by the ideals you stand for, your manner of speaking/thinking/acting, along with many other subunits that make up your personal image. Charisma and charm can be used to boost ones Referent power. A negative image lessens your influence.
Any person on this site may have referent power. It depends on the individual. It does not necessarily make you better than others in any shape, fashion, or form.
3. Expert Power
This is the power that gets mistaken the most. Expert power comes from your knowledge in a specific area or over a variety of subjects through which you are able to influence. Subordinates may even have this power. Its most effective when combined with one or more other powers. A subcategory to this would be informational power- where the power is dependent upon your giving and/or withholding of information or knowledge you may posses that others do not. Just because you believe that you know something doesnt make you an expert, and it does not give you the power and influence that comes with the title.
Generally those deemed knowledgeable on this site exert expert power due to the amount and content of knowledge they posses and their ability to express it.
This power can be a great tool when combined with other powers.
4. Reward Power
This power can be gained from ones ability/capacity to reward compliance. It is generally a subset to legitimate power, as those with legitimate powers are more capable of giving said rewards. These people are generally sent positive, supportive messages. Rewards are individualized and can be given several different forms: the reward of a position (such as contributor, mod, editor), the reward of friendship, the reward of knowledge. So on and so forth.
5. Coercive Power
The exact opposite of reward power. Coercive power is the power given when one can punish others through some form or another. It is the ability to make other uncomfortable and or to make them experience something unpleasant. (Ex: getting gagged for bad behavior shows the coercive power of a mod) It must be clear that the person with coercive power will actually use said power, or it becomes ineffective.
All in all, when you are part of the whole on this site or in life you must understand how each individual functions and serves a purpose. When communicating it is important to understand your own personal status and powers, your amount of knowledge and your abilities so that you see where you fit into the group. Hopefully, you now know.