Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Anne Westhues

Advisor Role

Dissertation Supervisor


The primary focus of this dissertation was to understand more about the nature and bases of power that are available to Managers of Young Offender Custody Programs in Ontario. Within a pluralist view of organizations (Morgan, 1986) and French and Raven’s (1959) framework of social power, three major questions provided direction for this research: (1) What are the perceptions of managers and their power? (2) What are the differences between managers in their perceptions of their power? and, (3) What are the possible explanations for such differences? The research involved an exploratory, descriptive study of manager power in 141 Young Offender Custody Programs in Ontario. The participants in this study were the front line managers of these programs. A Manager’s Self-Perceived Power was defined as the manager’s perception of their ability to influence staff behaviour and was measured through a new Self Perceived Manager Power Scale developed in this study. The findings of this study suggest that the power of managers in situational in nature and varies under different conditions and the availability of differing power bases to managers is linked to situational variables within the custody programs. The presence of a union and the gender of managers were identified as the most significant predictors of a manager’s perceived power and its bases. Further, the status of an agency, i.e., for-profit, not-for-profit, in which a Young Offender Custody Program was situated, was also important in explaining a manager’s perceived power and its bases. The primary implications of this study are that manager power needs to be studied within an organizational context and mutual dependence (Kottner, 1987) and cooperation between manager and staff are essential antecedents to manager power. The study of power through the self perceptions of managers is essential to the understanding of power and its bases in organizations. Further, this study suggests that sex-role stereotypes are incongruent with women’s perceptions of power and female managers may fare better at influencing staff behaviour than is currently suggested. Perhaps the most appropriate way to investigate gender and stereotyping of women in management is to study actual managers in their own work environments.

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