Influence without authority is a core skill in matrix management – see previous post. Understanding your ability to influence in a matrix organization structure depends in part on understanding what sources of power you have and how to apply them.

  • First we have to realise which of these types of power we have access to to get things done.

  • Second we have to consider what will be the consequences of using this style of power on our followers – this is rarely taken into account.

In this first  of two posts we will look at three sources of power

  1. Coercive – use of, or threat of force. This traditional style of power may no longer be available to you, strong worker protection in some parts of the world, or the need to retain talented people may mean this style is normally unacceptable. Even if this style of power is theoretically available to you the impact on your followers may be so negative that it negates the advantages of using it. This style of power may work in an emergency.

  2. Normative– based on values and right to manage – most people accept that there needs to be some authority in organizations and many will buy in to the “values” of good organizations they work for. These “softer” forms of power are extremely useful in large complex organization as they sit in the background subtly influencing decisions “it’s the way we do things around here” – and just as this power becomes more useful it becomes more difficult to develop in large, diverse, matrixed  and multi-site organizations where true values may be different and developing a common approach is more time consuming and expensive.

  3. Presence–  respect for the personal characteristics. This is great if you can develop it and we can all work to improve this one by earning respect. Multi-site and remote working makes this one more difficult to apply in complex companies – so when you do have the opportunity of presence use it to top up the “tank of goodwill” and reinforce relationships – not to deliver PowerPoint presentations to darkened rooms.

More on this from me later in the week.

What other sources of power work well for you in complex and matrix organizations?



About the author:

Kevan Hall Kevan Hall is a CEO, author, speaker and trainer in matrix management, virtual teams and global working. He is the author of "Speed Lead - faster, simpler ways to manage people, projects and teams in complex companies, "Making the Matrix work - how matrix managers engage people and cut through complexity", and the "Life in a Matrix" podcasts, videos, cartoons and blog. He is CEO and founder of Global Integration. Company profile: .

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