Status and Power: The Principal Inputs to Influence for Public Managers



The authors identify status and power as the principal bases of influence for public managers and describe how managers can use this conceptual distinction to increase their influence. Status is defined as the degree to which one is respected by one's colleagues, and power is defined as asymmetric control over valued resources. Different social and relational processes govern (1) how people determine who is, and who ought to be, high status versus powerful and (2) how status and power affect individual psychology and behavior. To illustrate key points, the authors provide examples of individuals from the public sector and public service organizations. The framework of interpersonal influence gives practitioners behavioral strategies for increasing their status and power as well as a way to assess and diagnose interpersonal dimensions of their own performance in their jobs and careers.