Power Tactics: Understanding Influence and Manipulation in the Workplace - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-11-25
Power Tactics: Understanding Influence and Manipulation in the Workplace - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology Business Employment Behavior Behavior change
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 946 words
8 min read


The concept of power refers to one's capacity to influence or manipulate the behavior of another individual. Power tactics are ways utilized by individuals to achieve specific actions or goals from their power bases. The most commonly known organizational power tactics used by peers, bosses, and subordinates include inspirational appeals, rational persuasion, consultation, personal appeals, exchange, legitimating tactics, pressure, ingratiation, and coalition tactics. Responses to those power tactics usually include compliance, commitment, or resistance. Compliance occurs if the influence target complies with the request despite not necessarily wanting to obey. Resistance occurs when the target passively or actively repels the influence attempt and fails to comply. Commitment occurs when the target agrees and actively supports influence attempt. The paper is premised on power tactics towards superior.

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A typical example of a power tactic towards a superior is manifested in a local clothing boutique retail business. The retail business has a sales manager who coaches and lead (supervises) some salespersons. Initially, its target market was middle-class females. The retail business had a small annual budget with limited clothing.

One of the salespersons of the retail business utilized rational persuasion power tactic towards his supervisor, the sales manager (BĂ©langer et al., 2018). He was able to align his logics with the values and needs of the retail business. He achieved establishing influence on the sales manager since he provided vital information on how his solutions to existing challenges would enhance sales and increase returns on investment. The salesperson was able to influence the sales manager to understand the logic behind his thinking. For instance, he brought forward ideas such as branding and online presence, displays, and events, and advertisements. Through a well elaborate work plan on how to implement those ideas, he was able to persuade the sales manager who eventually materialized them. The salesperson was able to use garnered data, facts, and logical arguments to stand out among other salespersons in influencing the sales manager why his point is the best choice. His ability to present factual information which is timely, relevant, clear and specific saw the sales manager adopt his argument.

Expected Outcomes

The main expected outcome was to double the retail business customer base. Average daily customers being served were within the range of 70-120 persons. Initially, the retail business target market was restricted to only youthful females with moderate incomes. However, the target market was expanded to incorporate infant females. Increase in customer base would precipitate an increase in profit levels. The retail business expected its annual budget to scale up at a rate of at least 20 percent per annum.


Within six months following implemented changes, the retail business tripled its customer base, which consequently, yielded massive returns. The expected outcomes had been overwhelmingly realized within that short period contrary to the retail business expectations. When a year had elapsed, the returns realized enabled the retail business to triple its annual budget in the following fiscal year.

Probability of Achievement of Goal

As per the actual outcome, beyond a reasonable doubt, the implemented changes accelerated attainment of the retail business goals. Those implemented changes generated from rational persuasion power tactic of the salesperson towards the sales manager. Researchers have established that people rarely consider logics when coming up with decisions. However, when one is in a capacity to assist others in understanding the logic behind his thought, then he successfully influences them. That power tactic utilized by the salesperson towards his supervisor saw the retail business sail towards the right trajectory (Chaturvedi et al., 2019). A path which accelerated the probability of attainment of the retail business various goals.

Different Tactic 3

Based on the actual outcome, there is no need for one to opt for another power tactic towards his superior. Rational persuasion power tactic yields immeasurable positive results compared to other power tactics. A fact remains a fact despite who is telling it. It is much easier to prove one's argument with realistic facts, rational logics, or a valid reason. Rational persuasion power tactic efficiently yields commitment on the side of one's superior (Kim et al., 2020). This is because it carries along with shared aspirations and common good for all the parties involved. The logics brought forward often are in line with the values and needs of one's superior.


In summary, there exist various power tactics such as consultation, rational persuasion, exchange, and personal appeals, among others differently used towards peers, subordinates, or superiors. Rational persuasion power tactic works best when used towards superiors. Realistic facts or rational logic are always met by a commitment on the side of superiors. Commitment in the essence that the superiors not only agrees with the rational logics but also supports them as well. In most cases, rational persuasion power tactic meets the values and needs of the target group. For that reason, it is the most frequently used power tactic towards superiors.


BĂ©langer, J., Haines III, V. Y., & Bernard, M. (2018). Human Resources Professionals and The Cost/Benefit Argument: Rational Persuasion in Action in Municipal Organizations. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 29(16), 2431-2454. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09585192.2016.1277362

Chaturvedi, S., Rizvi, I. A., & Pasipanodya, E. T. (2019). How Can Leaders Make Their Followers to Commit to The Organization? The Importance of Influence Tactics. Global Business Review, 20(6), 1462-1474. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shakti_Chaturvedi/publication/334486825_How_Can_Leaders_Make_Their_Followers_to_Commit_to_the_Organization_The_Importance_of_Influence_Tactics/links/5ede5412299bf1d20bd8f32a/How-Can-Leaders-Make-Their-Followers-to-Commit-to-the-Organization-The-Importance-of-Influence-Tactics.pdf

Kim, T. E., & Gausdal, A. H. (2020). Leaders' Influence Tactics for Safety: An Exploratory Study in The Maritime Context. Safety, 6(1), 8. https://www.mdpi.com/2313-576X/6/1/8/pdf

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