An Empirical Investigation of the Impact of Supervisory Power Bases on Subordinates

Kim Lian Lee


The study seeks to explore the relationships between superior’s bases of power and subordinates’ satisfaction with supervision in Malaysian corporations.  The non-coercive bases of social power (i.e. expert, referent, reward and legitimate) showed positive relationships with satisfaction with supervision.  In terms of rank ordering, referent power scored the highest among other power exercises.   This was followed by expert power and reward power.  The ranking of intercorrelation was somewhat similar to the study of Rahim and Buntzman in 1989 which they concluded that referent and expert power as the most favorable and legitimate power the lowest among the non-coercive power bases in eliciting subordinates’ acceptance.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)    Email: 

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