Margaret is a supervisor in the online sales division of a large clothing retailer. She has let it be known that she is devoted to the firm and plans to build her career there. Margaret is hard-working and reliable, has volunteered for extra projects, has taken in-house development courses, and joined a committee dedicated to improving employee safety on the job. She undertook an assignment to research ergonomic office furniture for the head of the department and gave up several lunch hours to consult with the head of human resources about her report. Margaret filed the report late, but she explained the delay by saying that her assistant lost several pages that she had to redraft over the weekend. The report was well received, and several of Margaret’s colleagues think she should be promoted when the next opening arises. Some are concerned.

Evaluate Margaret’s skill in building a power base.

  1. What is a referent power base and what actions has she taken that might undermine her building a referent power base?  What could she have done differently?
  2. What actions has she taken that might help her build a referent or expert power base?
  3. Why do you think someone with an expert power base might be important in a learning organization?  Explain your response.



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