Managing Power & Politics I. What is power? A. Power is “Something that person A has over another person B, to an extent that he can get B to do something B would not other wise do” Dahl (1957).
B. Power is linked to influence Influence is “the effect of power exerted: a person exercising such power.” (Chambers 20th Century Dictionary)
II. What are the various sources of power? A. Physical power This is the power of superior force. That of a bully or the tyrant or commander of the army. In few work organizations is physical power the source of individual influence. No organization has a right to detain an individual by force (except for those involved in public safety, prison service or some mental hospitals)…
Physical power is really used as a last resort when other sources of power appear ineffective.
B. Resource power Possession of valued resource is a useful basis for influence. Another term for it is reward power. This is the power source implicit for most calculated contracts. In order for this kind of power to be effective: There must be control of the resources, and The potential recipient must desire those resources.
C. Position power This is also known as ‘legal’ or ‘legitimate’ power and comes from one’s position in a group or organization. This is power residing in the position rather than in the individual. The value of this power really depends on the value placed by the guarantor of the position. If the occupant of a particular role either:
Does not receive backing from the organization, or the organization is not seen as controlling any desired or coercive resources Then the occupant will find that influence attempts will fail, because their power source is invalid. Position power gives the occupant potential control over some invisible assets such as information, right of access and right to organize.
D. Expert power Handy (1993) describes expert power as, “The power that is vested in someone because of their acknowledged expertise. E. Personal power This is more generally known as charisma and resides in the person and their personality. It can be enhanced by position or by expert status.
F. Negative power Handy (1993) points out that all these sources of power can be used legitimately or illegitimately. If they are used in the appropriate domain they are regarded as legitimate. If used outside the domain, the power is regarded as disruptive and illegitimate. This is the negative use of power.
Negative power is the capacity to stop things from happening, to delay them, to distort them or disrupt them. Negative power is latent; it does not operate all the time. It operates at times of low morale, irritation, stress, or frustration at the failure of other influence attempts. The use of negative power breeds lack of trust by the superior for the subordinate.
G. Departmental power Cowling et al’s (1988) comment that some departments can have more power than others can be seen in the distribution of perks and resources within an organization, and which departments take a more dominant role in meetings and decision-making.
III. What are some unseen methods of influence? A. Physical environment . B. Psychological and sociological environment. C. Magnetism.
IV. What is organizational politics? A. Politics is “the management of influence to obtain ends not sanctioned by the organization.” Bronston and Allen (1977) in Cowling et al (1988). B. Politics often has a distinct result as its goal.
V. In what areas do organizations tend to be political rather than rational? A. Resources B. Decisions C. Goals D. Technology and external environment E. Change
VI. What are some commonly used political strategies. A. Some of Luthan’s political strategies for gaining power in organizations. B. Yulk and Falbe’s 8 Political Tactics . 1. Pressure tactics – the use of demands, threats, or intimidation to convince you to comply with a request or to support a proposal.
2. Upward appeals – persuading you that higher management, or appeals to higher management for assistance in gaining your compliance with the request approve the request. 3. Exchange tactics – making explicit or implicit promises that you will receive rewards or tangible benefits if you comply with a request of support a proposal, or remind you of a prior favor to be reciprocated.
4. Coalition tactics – seeking the aid of others to persuade you to do something or using the support of others as an argument for you to also agree 5. Ingratiating tactics – seeking to get you in a good mood or to think favorably of the influence agent before asking you to do something
6. Rational persuasion – using logical arguments and factual evidence to persuade you that a proposal or request is viable and likely to result in the attainment of task objectives 7. Inspirational appeals – making an emotional request or proposal that arouses enthusiasm by appealing to your values and ideas, or by increasing your confidence that you can do it.
8. Consultation tactics – seeking your participation in making a decision or planning how to implement a proposed policy, strategy, or change.
C. Mintzberg’s Political Games. <ul><ul><li>Games to resist authority </li></ul></ul>The insurgency games – to sabotage the intentions of superiors <ul><ul><li>Games to counter resistance </li></ul></ul>The counter-insurgency games – more rules, regulations and punishments
<ul><ul><li>Games to build power-bases </li></ul></ul>The sponsorship game – hitching oneself to a useful superior, a star The alliance game – finding useful colleagues The empire game – building coalitions of subordinates
The budgeting game – getting control of resources The expertise game – flaunting feigning expertise The lording game – flaunting one’s authority
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