Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Legitimacy of Managerial Influence of Marketing Educators: Perceptions of Administrators and Marketing Faculty

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Legitimacy of Managerial Influence of Marketing Educators: Perceptions of Administrators and Marketing Faculty

Article excerpt


Management scholars have for many years been concerned with the topic of managerial power, influence, and authority. Power is the ability to influence someone to do something he or she would have not otherwise have done. Influence is the process of modifying the thoughts and behavior of other people. Authority is the right to influence of others (Middlemist & Hitt, 1988). Managers employ various strategies in attempts to influence their subordinates. Certainly, one of the least effective influence strategies is to pressure employees by use of demands, threats, or persistent reminders (Yuki et al, 1993; Yuki & Tracey, 1992). There exists a zone of indifference regarding the methods of exercising influence, and when the manager steps outside that zone, legitimacy to influence behavior ceases (Hellriegel et al, 1995).

A more viable managerial approach is to utilize a legitimacy that stems from position and mutual agreement. This is closely related to authority, but in legitimacy both the manager and the employee agree that the manager has the right to influence the employee (Nelson & Quick, 1994). It makes no difference whether or not the manager believes that he or she has the right to influence. If legitimate power is to have any effectiveness, the subordinate must also believe that the manager has the legitimacy to render influence.

Up to this point, most studies of the legitimacy of managerial influence have been limited to the context of manager-employee relationships within the non-academic organization. There exists a paucity of research pertaining to managerial influence within the university setting, especially relating to business school settings. Thus, this study explores the current perceptions of business school administrators and marketing educators as to the legitimacy of the marketing department chairperson to attempt to influence the behavior of members of the marketing department. The results of statistical analyses are reported to accentuate those areas of agreement and disagreement between the two groups.


In their seminal work, Schein & Ott (1962) developed a questionnaire comprised of fifty-five statements designed to elicit attitudes of business managers, college students, and union officers regarding the legitimacy of managerial influence. Each respondent placed the letter Y for "yes" next to those statements that he or she agreed that the manager had a legitimate right to influence subordinates, and placed the letter N for "no" next to those statements where the respondent believed the manager did not have the right to influence. If unsure, the respondent was instructed to leave the statement blank.

These researchers formulated an influence index to simplify data analysis by subtracting the number of "no's" and 0.2 times the number of blanks from the number of "yes" responses, dividing by the total number of respondents in the category, and multiplying the outcome by 100. The resulting index score ranged from +100 to -100. The higher the index score, the greater the degree of agreement with the statement on the questionnaire. Conversely, the lower the index score, the greater the degree of agreement that the issue was outside the boundaries of legitimate managerial influence. Schein & Ott concluded that there existed a high degree of agreement between the various sample groups on relative ranking of the statements, suggesting that there were well-defined areas of legitimate and non-legitimate managerial influence in our society.

Four years after this initial study, Schein & Lippitt (1966) administered the questionnaire to 504 respondents from various occupations ranging from police officers and Air Force personnel directors to supermarket managers and sales managers of manufacturing firms. Results indicated that the influence index of managers were different from non-managers, and there were even some differences between various groups of managers. …

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