Coercive Power in Leadership: Definition & Examples

Definition of Coercive Power

Coercive electricity is the capacity of a supervisor to pressure an worker to comply with an order through threatening the worker with punishment if the worker does now no longer follow the order.

The maximum essential idea to recognize approximately coercive electricity is that it makes use of the software of pressure. It seeks to pressure or compel conduct in preference to to persuade conduct via persuasion. Examples of coercive electricity encompass threats of write-ups, demotions, pay cuts, layoffs, and terminations if personnel do not comply with orders. In order to be powerful, the supervisor need to be capable of comply with via at the chance.

If failure to conform does not bring about punishment, chance of punishment will become meaningless or even counterproductive due to the fact personnel might also additionally quit to appreciate the legitimacy of the supervisor’s authority.

More details

Power within side the place of business can exist in lots of one-of-a-kind forms. It can exist even with out a proper organizational hierarchy in place, and it may exist outdoor of any formal hierarchy this is in place. One specific sort of electricity is referred to as Coercive Power.

Coercive Power is one of The five Types of Power diagnosed through psychologists John R. P. French and Bertram Raven in 1959.

Coercive electricity is described as using pressure to get an worker to comply with an coaching or order, in which electricity comes from one’s capacity to punish the worker for noncompliance. This electricity is in use, for example, whilst an worker incorporates out an order beneath Neath worry of dropping their process or their annual bonus. In effect, they’re compelled to carry out the task.

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As you could see from the above definition, coercive electricity is a proper sort of electricity, and now no longer a private electricity. Where does referent electricity come from? Unlike private electricity, coercive electricity comes from one’s formal authority and capacity to punish others. Examples of coercive electricity encompass lack of privileges, demotion, lack of bonus, and suspension.


While coercive electricity can be powerful within side the short-term, it may create critical troubles for organizational effectiveness within side the lengthy run. Coercion has a tendency to decrease process satisfaction, which should not an excessive amount of of a surprise – who likes intimidate on a every day basis? If you aren’t glad together along with your process, you may bail as quickly as viable for a higher one. Constant turnover is costly, and it additionally hurts productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Additionally, a few theorists argue that coercive management additionally stymies creativity and innovation due to the fact you are now no longer a lot inquisitive about taking dangers and being innovative in case you stay in an surroundings of worry and insecurity.

You need to handiest simply use coercive electricity if you have no different preference and also you need to place a direct prevent on terrible behavior.

Some of the pitfalls of coercive electricity encompass:

  • Lowers process satisfaction: human beings resent it getting use on them as they sense beneath Neath a microscope.
  • Backlash chance: there’s constantly the chance of a backlash whilst the usage of coercive electricity. Employees might also in the end retaliate or are looking for change employment. Moreover excessive worker turnover could be very costly to an organization.
  • Close supervision needed: It is handiest beneficial. In case you as a supervisor are capable of maintain a near eye on what’s going on.
  • Only works if used sparingly: Coercion as your widespread supply of place of business electricity. It isn’t sustainable withinside the lengthy term.
  • Doesn’t paintings in case you aren’t capable of perform the chance: In this example the chance is counterproductive. Additionally your authority as a frontrunner may undermined.
  • Reduces innovation: as anyone is beneathneath a microscope beneathneath chance of punishment there’s no room for creativity and innovation.


Coercive electricity comes from one’s capacity to punish a subordinate in the event that they don’t carry out as instructed. Whilst it may be very beneficial in positive situations. It need to constantly use very sparingly and handiest. Additionally it is use whilst there’s no different option, as there are some of drawbacks related to it.

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