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The influence of leadership power bases on employees job stress a study of vietnamese companies

UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS HO CHI MINH CITY
International School of Business

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LUONG THI THANH THAO

THE INFLUENCE OF LEADERSHIP POWER BASES ON
EMPLOYEE’S JOB STRESS
- A STUDY OF VIETNAMESE COMPANIES

MASTER OF BUSINESS (Honours)

Ho Chi Minh City – Year 2014


UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS HO CHI MINH CITY
International School of Business

------------------------------


LUONG THI THANH THAO

THE INFLUENCE OF LEADERSHIP POWER BASES ON
EMPLOYEE’S JOB STRESS
- A STUDY OF VIETNAMESE COMPANIES

ID: 21120110

MASTER OF BUSINESS (Honours)
SUPERVISOR: Dr. Pham Ngoc Thuy

Ho Chi Minh City – Year 2014


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Pham Ngoc Thuy, my Supervisor, for her
thoughtful guidance guidance, recommendations from the research proposal to the thesis
report. I really appreciate her patience during the whole instruction process for me to the
able to complete this study despite some location difficulties.
Secondly, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all professors, tutors and officers of
MBus Program for valuable lectures, academy knowledge and your experiences transfer
throughout the period of courses at International School of Business.
I want to express my special thanks to all my colleagues, friends for your advice,
cooperation and supports during the pilot and official survey.
Finally, special thanks to my family especially my parents for their support, encouragement
and inspiration that enabled me to finish the course. Without your support, I can not
successfully complete my thesis.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam,
06th Dec, 2014.

Luong Thi Thanh Thao

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ABSTRACT

The turnover rate in Companies in Vietnam is growing especially in Sales department of
FMCGs companies, there are few studies of the influence of leadership behaviors on both
organizational and leader effectiveness. That is why FMCG and employees who work in
sales sector are mainly focus of this study. The objectives of this research to identify
relationships between leadership power bases and employee‟s job stress in Companies in
Viet Nam. A convenience sample is collected from 289 employees from many companies,
largely from FMCGs and Sales department. The goal was to obtain the influence of
leadership power bases used by his or her leaders and the employees‟ job stress to determine
if an association exists between these two variables. The results indicated that perceived
leadership power bases correlate with job stress for employees in these companies. The
components of the Legitimate power base is positively related to job stress of subordinate,
whereas the Expert power, Reward Power and Coercive are related negatively. According to
the research including on legitimate leadership behaviors, these approaches may lead to high
job stress. However, using mostly Expert, Reward and Coercive power may result in
positive effects such as low stress levels. Leadership is at the heart of effective management.
The research, mainly focusing on companies in Ho Chi Minh City with convenient sampling
method to collect data analysis. Demographic factors might have affected the results. Most
of the participants were young with job tenure under three years. Moreover, most of the
samples chosen came from male gender. Finally, there may have been a self-selection bias
among the subordinates who participated in this study since participation was voluntary.
Key words: Leadership, Job stress, power bases.


Table of contents
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS............................................................................................... i
ABSTRACT ....................................................................................................................... ii
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 1
1.1.

Research background ............................................................................................... 1

1.2.

Research questions and research objectives............................................................. 2

1.3.

Research contribution/significance .......................................................................... 2

1.4.

Scope of the study and delimitation ......................................................................... 3

1.5.

Research structure .................................................................................................... 4

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................ 5
2.1 Literature review ........................................................................................................... 5
2.2 Concept of Leadership and the bases of power............................................................. 5
2.2.1

Legitimate power ....................................................................................... 7

2.2.2

Reward power............................................................................................ 7

2.2.3

Coercive power.......................................................................................... 8

2.2.4

Expert power ............................................................................................. 8

2.2.5

Referent power .......................................................................................... 9

2.3 Job Stress....................................................................................................................... 9
2.4 Relationships among concepts .................................................................................... 10
2.4.1 Legitimate Power and Job Stress ................................................................. 10
2.4.2 Reward Power and Job Stress ...................................................................... 11
2.4.3 Coercive Power and Job Stress .................................................................... 12
2.4.4 Expert Power and Job Stress ........................................................................ 12
2.4.5 Referent Power and Job Stress ..................................................................... 13
CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ......................................................... 16
3.1 Research Process ......................................................................................................... 16
3.2 Research Design .......................................................................................................... 17
3.3 Measurement scales .................................................................................................... 19
3.3.1 Legitimate power ......................................................................................... 19
3.3.2 Reward power .............................................................................................. 20
3.3.3 Coercive power. .......................................................................................... 20
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3.3.4 Expert Power ................................................................................................ 20
3.3.5 Referent power ............................................................................................. 21
3.3.6 Job stress ...................................................................................................... 21
3.4 Questionnaire Design .................................................................................................. 22
3.5 Sampling Method ........................................................................................................ 23
3.6 Qualitative Survey....................................................................................................... 24
3.7 Main survey and data collection ................................................................................. 25
3.8 Data analysis methods ................................................................................................. 26
3.8.1 Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) ............................................................. 26
3.8.2 Reliability Analysis ...................................................................................... 27
3.8.3 Regression analysis ...................................................................................... 27
CHAPTER 4: RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS........................................................ 29
4.1 Descriptive analysis of the variables studies............................................................... 29
4.2 Measurement scale assessment ................................................................................... 31
4.2.1 Reliability Analysis - by Cronbach‟s Alpha ................................................ 31
.2.2 Results of the Exploratory Factor Analysis ................................................... 36
4.2.3 The KMO and Bartlett‟s Test....................................................................... 39
4.2.4 The revised research model.......................................................................... 40
4.3 Hypotheses testing ...................................................................................................... 41
4.3.1 Testing relationship of independent factors and dependent factor .............. 41
4.3.2 The results of the regression analysis .......................................................... 43
4.3.3 Hypotheses Testing ...................................................................................... 44
4.4 Discussion ................................................................................................................... 47
CHAPTER 5 – CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS .......................................... 48
5.1 Main findings .............................................................................................................. 48
5.2 Managerial implications .............................................................................................. 49
5.3 Contributions of the study ........................................................................................... 49
5.4 Limitations .................................................................................................................. 50
REFERENCES ................................................................................................................ 52
APPENDICES ................................................................................................................. 57
APPENDIX 1 – QUESTIONNAIRE IN ENGLISH ........................................................ 57
APPENDIX 2 – QUESTIONNAIRE IN VIETNAMMESE ............................................ 60
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APPENDIX 3 - DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS OF ITEMS ............................................. 63
APPENDIX 4 - EFA ANALYSIS RESULTS .................................................................. 64
APPENDIX 5 - RELIABILITY ANALYSIS RESULTS................................................. 65
APPENDIX 6: FREQUENCY TABLE ........................................................................... 66

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List of Table
Table 4-1: Descriptive Statistics of Sample ........................................................... 31
Table 4-2: Reliability analysis results. ................................................................... 35
Table 4-3: EFA analysis results for the variables .................................................. 37
Table 4-4: The total explained variance ................................................................. 37
Table 4-5: KMO and Bartlett's Test ....................................................................... 39
Table 4-6: Describe the correlation among variable .............................................. 42
Table 4-7: Hypotheses testing results..................................................................... 43
Table 4-8: Multiple Regressions results of model ................................................. 45
Table 4-9: Summary of hypothesis testing result ................................................... 47


List of Figures
Figure 1: Research model for leader power bases and job stress of employee ...... 14
Figure 2: Research Process .................................................................................... 16
Figure 3: Revised Research Model ........................................................................ 39

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ABBREVIATIONS

ANOVA:

Analysis Of Variance

EFA:

Explored Factor Analysis

KMO:

Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin

SPSS:

Statistical Package for Social Science

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

This chapter introduces the context of the study, including a short introduction of the market
of Viet Nam, and information FMCGs industry in Viet Nam, the research problem, and the
research objectives as well as the delimitation and contribution of the research.
1.1.

Research background

Effective leadership is essential to ensure that change leads to increased efficiency and
profitability (Pittaway et al., 1998; Zhao and Merna, 1992; Slattery and Olsen, 1984). The
FMCG industry tends to be labor intensive and has increasingly harsh environmental
demands imposed upon it. Leadership skills may help organizations to utilize the available
human resources more effectively and to deal successfully with environmental pressures.
Leadership as a subject has been somewhat neglected within FMCG industry research in
Viet Nam. From human relations perspectives, employee‟s stress is related to the
personality traits of the superior which as his/her temperament, openness, industriousness,
pleasantness or not. The positive side of all of these traits can reduce stress and enhance
satisfaction of employee. If organizations understand the influence of leadership skills or
leadership styles may help organizations to utilize the available human resources more
effectively and to deal successfully with environmental pressures.
A brief introduction about turnover rate in Viet Nam.
According to Vietnam news online paper, (2013), the turnover rate among workers is likely
to grow this year as many hope to change their jobs, an online survey has found. Fastmoving consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, oil, and gas are predicted to be the top sectors of
turnover rate. The high turnover rate of employees comes from many reasons. One of the
most important reasons that lead to resignation of employee is not appropriate leadership.
Employees feel unsatisfied with their boss. They decide to quit job in short time of working.
The workplace stress is recognized, but little attention is given to the incidence of this

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problem in the this industry in Viet Nam, despite the growth of this sector, and the obvious
relevance of stress to fluid situations where much depends on inter-personal relations.
The subject of leadership is interesting for many people. The continued search for good
leaders has resulted in the development of many leadership theories. Leadership can be
defined as a social influence process. It involves determining the group or organization‟s
objectives, encouraging behavior in pursuit of these objectives, and influencing group
maintenance and culture (Yukl, 1994). Constructs like job stress, burnout, organizational
commitment, and job performance have been developed and empirically tested in
developed industrialized countries (Baba, Jamal & Tourigny, 1998; Maslach, 2003). Job
stress can be defined as an individual‟s reactions to characteristics of the work environment
that seem emotionally and physically threatening (Jamal, 2005). Stress can influence a
variety of variables including job performance, organizational effectiveness (Borucki,
1987), personal relationships, and health (Bosma, et al., 1998).
1.2.

Research questions and research objectives

The turnover rate in Companies in Vietnam is growing especially in Sales department of
FMCGs companies, there are few studies of the influence of leadership behaviors on both
organizational and leader effectiveness. That is why FMCG companies and employees who
work in sales sector are mainly focus of this study. The proposed research question is as
follows:
How do the leader power styles affect on job stress of employee?
The objectives of this research is identifying the relationships between leadership power
bases and employees' job stress in Companies in Viet Nam.
1.3.

Research contribution/significance

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The study findings add to the field of leadership with information on the relationship of
leaders and followers in terms of the degree to which leadership styles might relate to
employee‟s stress in the workplace.
There are relations between leader power bases and subordinates‟ job stress. The findings
support that Legitimate power base stimulate job stress, Reward power, Expert power and
Coercive Power do not stimulate to job stress. That helps the board director associates with
HR department of organizations train managers/leaders of companies to use effectively kind
of leadership styles to reduce job stress of subordinate and increase the effectiveness of both
the leader and the organization.
If an organization wants to succeed in a rapidly changing business environment, it is better
for managers to use, Reward power, Expert power and Coercive Power than Legitimate
power. Managers use various leadership styles to influence subordinates, decrease their job
stress and to get things done in organizations. Job performance will increase so that, it will
increase the success of their organization.
1.4.

Scope of the study and delimitation

The framework of this study is to analyze the interaction among major variables of power
bases depicted. The primary data used in this study is secured through survey questionnaire.
The respondents of this study are from many companies in Viet Nam but are largely from
Sales department and marketing department, which have high turnover rate according to
Market Remuneration Report from Hay Group (2013). This study has limitations that could
be future research topics, such as other sectors, demographic characteristics of the
participants, etc. The study focuses on employees and managers who work in popular
companies in Ho Chi Minh City of Viet Nam (Unilever, P&G, Colgate, Pepsi, Coca – Cola,
Vinamilk, Bank, IBM, KPMG, Etc.). This study focuses much on leadership power bases,
how it affects on job stress.

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1.5.

Research structure

The research is structured into five main chapters. Chapter 1 is the research background,
research problem, research questions and objectives, research delimitation, research
contribution/significance, scope of research and thesis structure. Chapter 2 presents the
literature review, which provides key concepts related to the researched topic, leadership
power bases and job stress. After that, conceptual research model and its hypotheses are
provided. Chapter 3 introduces the methodology used to test the research model. Chapter 4
presents research results of data analysis, hypothesis testing and discussion from the
research findings. Lastly, chapter 5 summarizes the research results; provide the findings,
limitations and recommendations.

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CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

This chapter introduces key concepts related to the researcher topic and literature relating to
leadership power bases and job stress of employee which includes in previous research
result, discussions and arguments. Through out this chapter, variables will be established
and grouped into relevant factors. This chapter also mentions some previous studies and
experiences related to the research topic.
2.1

Literature review

The extensive amount of research performed on leadership and stress over the past several
decades precluded an exhaustive review on each topic. The purpose of this study is to
provide an overview of leadership styles and job stress and lay the foundation for an
empirical review of the correlation between leadership styles and job stress. Erkutlu and
Chafra already examined the influence of leadership power bases on subordinates‟ job
stress at boutique hotels in Turkey in 2006.
Brian E. Daenzer (2009) also proved the quantitative correlation of leadership styles and job
stress in a Midwest United States auto company. Still now, there have not has study in Viet
Nam so far about the relationship of Leadership power bases and Job stress. The
investigation of topic is very necessary in every business and every occupation. Leadership
styles have an impact on the employee of an organization, and job stress might correlate
with certain styles of leadership. The research studied employee mainly from Sales
Department.
2.2

Concept of Leadership and the bases of power

Leadership dates back to the earliest days of human history. The great man theory suggested
that leaders were born into leadership positions while the trait theory suggested that leaders
possessed certain traits that gave them leadership ability (Gehring, 2007). Based on these
theories, leaders have acquired formal authority and the power to direct followers.

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Yukl (1991) stated that some studies on the power-influence approach attempted to explain
leadership effectiveness in terms of the degree of power possessed by a leader, types of
power, and how power is exercised, Gordon and Yukl (2004) concluded that the answer
remains elusive despite the countless studies carried out to identify effective leadership over
the past half-century. People have lost interest in the topic of power because of the flat
organizational structure and empowerment popular in today‟s world. Nevertheless, power
still exists in flattening organizations and empowerment still involves sharing power with
others. As always, understanding power is significant for understanding organizational
behavior and leadership effectiveness (Benfari, Wilkinson, & Orth, 1986; Pfeffer, 1981;
Rahim, 1989; Yukl & Falbe, 1991)
Earlier research (Rahim, 1988; Rahim & Afza, 1993; Rahim, Antonioni, Krumov, & Ilieva,
2000; Rahim & Buntzman, 1989; Rahim, Kim, & Kim, 1994; Student, 1968; Yagil, 2002)
on leader power mainly focused on business and political organizations, and seldom on the
area of education, health, and other public service organizations, and even more rarely on
science research institutions. (Rahim,1988).
Power does not arise spontaneously or mysteriously. Rather, it comes from specific and
identifiable bases. Power is an intangible force in an organization (Daft, 1999). In this study,
the term power is defined as the capability of an individual agent to influence the behavior
or attitudes of one or more designated target persons. This definition implies that this study
on power was limited to the influence of one individual (group leader) over other
individuals (group members).
Where does the capability of one person to influence another one come from? In other
words, where does power come from? Power bases have been conceptualized in a variety
of ways by scholars.
More than 50 years ago, social scientists John French and Bertrand Raven (1959) proposed
five sources of power within organizations: legitimate, reward, coercive, expert, and
referent. Many researchers have studied these five sources of power and searched for others
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(Carson & Carson, & Roe, 1993; Finkelstein, 1992; Podsakoff & Schreisheim, 1985).
For the most part, French and Raven‟s power sources remain intact.
2.2.1

Legitimate power

Legitimate power is a person‟s ability to influence others‟ behavior because of the position
that person holds within the organization. Legitimate or position power is derived from a
position of authority inside the organization, often referred to as “formal authority.” That is
the organization has given to an individual occupying a particular position the right to
influence direct certain other individuals. Those with legitimate power have the understood
right to ask others to do things that are considered within the scope of their authority. When
a manager asks an employee to work late to complete a project or to work on one task
instead of another, he or she is exercising legitimate power. Managers can enhance their
position power by formulating policies and procedures. For example, a manager might
establish a requirement that all new hires must be approved by said manager, thus
exercising authority over hiring (DuBrin, 2009).
2.2.2

Reward power

Reward power is a person‟s ability to influence others‟ behavior by providing them with
things they want to receive. These rewards can be either financial, such as pay raises or
bonuses or nonfinancial, including promotions, favorable work assignments, more
responsibility, new equipment, praise, and recognition. A manager can use reward power to
influence and control employees‟ behavior, as long as employees value the rewards.
In accordance to French and Raven (1959), reward power depends on the power wielder
(individual or group) administering “positive valences and reducing or removing
negative valences”. This type of power needs to be used carefully to prevent followers
becoming accustomed to rewards and refusing to complete routine tasks without a reward.
Generally, rewards should not be offered to follower employees to complete duties
which are a normal part of their role. This is because as an employee, they are under a
contractual obligation to complete these tasks and they are already rewarded for this through
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their salary. The other reason why rewards should be offered carefully is that frequent use
can reduce the impact or influence that offering a reward initially had on the
follower. Followers will soon tire of the reward especially if the reward is small, for
example, chocolates or flowers. For example, if managers offer employees what they
think are rewards (a promotion with more responsibility), but the employees do not value
them (i.e., they are insecure or have family obligations that are more important to them than
a promotion), then managers really do not have reward power.
2.2.3

Coercive power

Coercive power is a person‟s ability to influence others‟ behavior by punishing them or
by creating a perceived threat to do so. This is the power to discipline, punish, and
withhold rewards; it is important largely as a potential, rather than an actual type of
influence. According to French and Raven (1959), the strength of coercive power depends
on the magnitude of the “negative valence of the threatened punishment multiplied by the
perceived probability that a power recipient can avoid the punishment by conformity”. For
example, employees may comply with a manager‟s directive because of fear or threat
of punishment. Typical organizational punishments include reprimands, undesirable
work assignments, with holding key information, demotion, suspension, or dismissal.
Coercive power has negative side effects and should be used with caution, because it
tends to result in negative feelings toward those who use it.
2.2.4

Expert power

Expert power is a person‟s ability to influence others‟ behavior because of
recognized knowledge, skills, or abilities. Physicians are acknowledged to have expertise,
special skills, or knowledge and hence expert power. Most people follow their doctor‟s
advice. Computer specialists, tax accountants, and economists have power because of their
expertise. Experts have power even when they rank low in the organization‟s
hierarchy. As organizations become increasingly more technologically complex and
specialized, expert power of organization members at all levels in the hierarchy becomes
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more important (Luthans, 2011). Some firms deliberately include lower-level staff
members with expert power in top-level decision making (Nebus, 2006). Knowledge is
power in today‟s high-tech workplaces (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2010).
2.2.5

Referent power

Referent power is a person‟s ability to influence others‟ behavior because they like,
admire, and respect the individual. French and Raven (1959) define referent power as “a
feeling of oneness or a desire for such an identity”. This kind of power involves the concept
of “identification”. The follower will address their leaders. This is created when the
followers believe that the leader possess qualities that they admire and would like to
possess. The followers identify with their leader and attempt to copy their leader. As
referent power is dependent on how the follower views the personality of their
leader, a leader will not have referent power over every follower they lead. Some leaders
will have referent power over just a few, whilst others such as Ghandi have led
millions through their personality and charisma. For example, suppose you are friends with
your boss. One day, she asks you to take on a special project that you do not like. To anyone
else, you would likely decline the request, but because of your special relationship with this
individual, you may do it as a favor. In this instance, your boss has power over you because
of your positive relationship.
2.3

Job Stress

Stress is a pervasive and essential part of life. It is defined as the reaction of individuals to
demands (stressors) imposed upon them. Stress plays a positive role by triggering the
mobilization of adaptive responses (Selye, 1976). Contrary to popular belief, stress can be
associated with both pleasant and unpleasant events (Levi, 1972) and only becomes
problematic when it remains unresolved because of lapses in the individual‟s adaptive
capacity. When this happens, the individual becomes disorganized, disoriented and therefore
less able to cope; stress related health problems may result.

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Job stress is synonymous with occupational stress, and organizational stress. These terms
reflect excessive strain leading to harmful physical or emotional responses that occur when
the capabilities of the worker cannot match the resources or requirements of the job
(Spielberger & Vagg, 1999).
Job Stress Survey (JSS).The JSS is an instrument used in a wide variety of work settings to
measure generic sources of occupational stress encountered by men or women. The JSS
identified the frequency and severity of specific stressors. The respondents‟ ratings were
tabulated to calculate measures of overall job stress, job pressures, and lack of
organizational support (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999).
The term stress will at times be interchangeable with job stress. In the general definition of
stress for the study, stress is a measure of physiological and twenty-two psychological
stressors as well as the frequency and severity of specific stressors that are specific to
workplace stress (Spielberger & Vagg, 2005).
2.4

Relationships among concepts

Karasek‟s (1979) job demands-control model offers a theoretical basis for exploring the
relationship between perceived supervisor power and subordinate stress. Perceived
supervisory legitimate, reward, and coercive power would be positively related to
subordinate stress because they are likely to evoke a sense of lack of personal control at
work.
2.4.1 Legitimate Power and Job Stress
Subordinates play a major role in the exercise of legitimate power. If subordinates view the
use of power as legitimate, they comply (Gibson, Ivancevich, Donnelly, &
Konopaske, 2012). That is, legitimate power covers a relatively narrow range of
influence and, therefore, it may be inappropriate to overstep these bounds Greenberg,
2011). For example, a boss may require his secretary to type a company document.

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However, it would be an abuse of power to ask that secretary to type his doctoral
dissertation. The secretary may decide to complete the task, but doing so would not be
within the scope of the boss‟s formal authority. Legitimate authority is a person‟s
authority to make discretionary decisions as long as followers accept this discretion
(Barnard, 1938: McShane & Von Glinow, 2012).
Perceived legitimate power of the supervisor positively related to stress, because the
subordinate is reminded of responsibilities to be fulfilled and realizes that his or her
performance will be monitored and evaluated. The constant focus on duties and evaluation
will likely increase subordinate stress. Leaders have the right to influence and employees
have the obligation to accept this influence, this kind of power may show negative relation
with the stress of employees.
Hypothesis 1: Legitimate power has the positive relation to job stress of employee
2.4.2 Reward Power and Job Stress
Reward power can lead to better performance, as long as the employee sees a clear
link between performance and rewards. To use reward power effectively, therefore, the
manager should be explicit about the behavior being rewarded and should make clear the
connection between the behavior and the reward (Nelson & Quick, 2012). Employees also
have reward power over their managers through the use of 360-degree feedback
systems (McShane

& Von Glinow, 2011). Employee feedback affects managers‟

promotions and other rewards, so managers tend to behave differently toward employees
after 360-degree feedback is introduced into the organization (Mabey, 2001).
If one conforms to gain acceptance, reward power is a work. However, if conformity takes
place to forestall rejection. This power derives from control over positive or rewarding
outcomes for subordinates are expected to be an effective may increase the satisfaction of
employee. Otherwise, if the reward is not worthy, the employee can be dissatisfaction and
easy look for other job opportunity.
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Hypothesis 2: Reward power has a positive relation to job stress of employee
2.4.3 Coercive Power and Job Stress
The availability of coercive power varies from one organization and manager to another.
Most organizations now have clearly defined policies on employee treatment. Clearly
defined rules and procedures that govern how coercive power is used prevent
superiors from using their legitimate power (formal authority) arbitrarily and unethically.
The presence of unions also can weaken coercive power considerably. One need not be in a
position of authority, however, to possess coercive power. Employees also have coercive
power, including the use of sarcasm and fear of rejection, to ensure that team members
conform to group norms. Many organizations rely on the coercive power of team members
to control employee behavior.
The threat of being disciplined for not arriving at work on time is effective in influencing
many employees to be punctual. In the positive facet, if leader use this kind of power as a
potential than actual type of influence, he or she can create the pleasant for employee to
work. In the other hand, leader use this kind of power as a tool to control employee and
force them to obey, he or she can make the disappointed and stressful to employees.
Therefore, the hypothesis is as follow:
Hypothesis 3: Coercive power has the positive relation to job stress of employee.
2.4.4 Expert Power and Job Stress
Expert power is based on the extent to which followers attribute knowledge and expertise to
the power holder. Experts are perceived to have expertise in well-defined functional
areas but not outside them. To be granted expert power, followers must perceive the
power holder to be credible, trustworthy, and relevant (Luthans, 2011). Credibility is
acquired by having the appropriate credentials. For

example,

physicians, computer

specialists, and tax accountants, who have shown tangible evidence of their expertise,

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will be listened to closely and thereby granted expert power. These specialists may not be
granted expert power in other functional areas. The person seeking expert power also
must be trustworthy, that is, have a reputation for being honest. In addition to credibility and
trustworthiness, a person must have relevance.
More specifically, expert power of the supervisor serves to reassure the subordinate in terms
of reducing job uncertainty, handling task complexity, enabling role, and goal clarity
(Busch, 1980), thus leading to lower stress. Leader who uses this kind of power will make
employee feel more pleasant to work, eager to learn from their leaders also feel less stress.
The hypothesis is as follow:
Hypothesis 4: Expert power has the negative relation to job stress of employee.
2.4.5 Referent Power and Job Stress
Referent power develops out of admiration of another and a desire to be like that person.
This helps to explain why celebrities are paid millions of dollars in endorsements.
Marketing research shows that people such as Michael Jordan and Serena Williams have the
power to influence your choice of athletic shoes and tennis products (Craig &
Douglas, 2006). The same could be said of leaders in business firms who have a good
reputation, attractive personal characteristics, or a certain level of charisma (Kudisch,
Poteet, Dobbins, Rush, & Russell, 1995). A charismatic leader can ignite an entire
organization (Tosi, Misangyi, & Fanelli, 2004). Referent power of the supervisor increases
the attraction and acceptance of the supervisor by the subordinate thus enhancing the
pleasantness of the work and lowering stress. Previous research has showed that expert
power and referent power are positively correlated with subordinate affect (Podsakoff and
Schriesheim, 1985).
Perceiving one‟s supervisor to be high on expert and referent power can be seen as similar
to having a strong social support system at work. The subordinate would consider the
supervisor‟s expertise to be a source of work support (e.g. resource for clarifying issues and
13


tackling difficult problems) while the supervisor‟s personal appeal and likeability would
induce a sense of interpersonal support.
We may like their personalities, admire their accomplishments, believe in their causes, or
see them as role models. This base of power has a tremendous impact on interpersonal
relationship. Therefore, the hypothesis is as follow:
Hypothesis 5: Referent power has the negative relation to job stress of employee.
Proposed research model:

Legitimate

H1

power
Reward power

H2

Coercive

H3

Employee’s

Job Stress

power
Expert power

Referent

H4

H5

power

Figure 1: Research model for leader power bases and job stress of employee.
LIST OF HYPOTHESES
Hypothesis

Statement of Hypothesis

H1

Legitimate power has the positive relation to job stress of employee.

H2

Reward power has a positive relation to job stress of employee.

H3

Coercive power has the positive relation to job stress of employee.

H4

Expert power has the negative relation to job stress of employee.

H5

Referent power has the negative relation to job stress of employee.

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Chapter 2 summary
A variety of models has been used to measure the influence of leadership power bases on
job stress of employee. In this research, there are 6 constructs used in the research model, in
addition to typical constructs of model including construct: Legitimate Power, Reward
Power, Coercive Power, Expert Power, Referent Power and Job stress. The following
chapters will present how we develop measurement scales for each constructs in the
research model.

15


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