Power politics and ethics


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Power politics and ethics

  1. 1. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriPOWER, POLITICS AND EHICSProfessor Jayashree SadriandDr Sorab Sadri
  2. 2. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriWHY STUDY POWER ANDAUTHORITY? To achieve excellence decisions haveto be strategically taken andimplemented so that organizationalgoals are met optimally. This process involves the interplay ofpower and authority hat must beunderstood.
  3. 3. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriDEFINITIONS: POWER(A) Ability to enforce a decision.(B) Capacity to influence attitude andbehavior of others.(C) Willingness and ability to use brute forceto carry forth a design.(D) Create general public opinion that isfavorable to self or desired objective.
  4. 4. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriEach of these four definitions has a positiveand negative aspect:(a) + When the values of both parties are identical –acceptance- When the values of both parties differ – rejection(b) + When you act by example and practice what youpreach-trust- When you say something and act differently – mistrust© + When you have an end and achieve it anyway – Clarity- Doing something for hidden agenda – confusion(d) + Building on strength and underplaying weakness –Creative- Finding faults in everything - destructive
  5. 5. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriManagers should use their power to create:1. Proper reward system (which should befair and transparent)2. Proper opportunities for publicrecognition(which is a better motivator)3. Effective counseling systems(to preventdeviant behavior).4. Create conducive workenvironment(where honesty, hard work,openness and integrity is rewarded).
  6. 6. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriEthics and Power For all four of them ethics is related toPower in so far as it affects people’sbehavior and their response to theenvironmental stimuli. If you want an ethical environment thenuse power fairly and selflessly.
  7. 7. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriThe Link As a rule certain causal relationship isaccepted:Power - Authority - Ethics
  8. 8. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriThe Link Authority legitimizes power. Alternatively,power when legitimized becomesAuthority What sustains authority is Ethics.
  9. 9. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriKinds of Authority Traditional (Culture specific) Charismatic ( Person specific) Rational-Legal (Structure specific)
  10. 10. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriEthics thus enters the calculus of power:1. How is power used? (Negatively or Positively)2. Who uses it? (Who is supposed to or who isnot supposed to)3. Why is it used? (For selfish interest or self-lessgoals)3. Why is it withheld? (To spite others or toprotect self-interest)
  11. 11. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriSubjective Perception Whether or not an action is ethical isdetermined by how one examines theissues raised by these four questions.E.g. According to the traditionalistreading the Mahabharata, Yujishthir was astayavadi (pursuer of truth) who on dyingwent straight to heaven (along with hisdog). According to an objective socialscientist he was a person who gambledaway his riches, his kingdom and his wife.
  12. 12. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriBases of Power Legitimate Power: is power that is granted byvirtue of one’s position in the organization. Illegitimate power: is power usurped or derivedthrough falsehood and deceit. (illusion) This is basically structural in context because theorganizational structure and design denoteswhere the person is located.
  13. 13. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriReward Power Reward Power is the extent to which a personcontrol rewards that are valued by another. In any organization where there is clarity andtransparency the disbursement of reward poweris positive and acts as a motivator. In an organization where the degree of discretionand arbitrariness is high reward power isnegative and promotes organizational politics.
  14. 14. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriExpert Power Expert Power is the extent to which aperson controls information that isvaluable to someone else. Control over information is a source ofpower in itself. Organizations where HRIS is developedand trust relations are evident, power ofinformation is positive.
  15. 15. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriCoercive Power Coercive power is the extent to which theperson has the ability to punish,physically or psychologically harmsomeone else. If used only as a deterrent to be seen butnever felt then it is positive.
  16. 16. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriReferent Power Referent Power is basically power throughidentification. This type of power comesfrom the desire on the part of the otherpersons to identify with the agent wieldingpower. Referent power does not alwayscorrelate with formal organizationalauthority.
  17. 17. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriEthicality of PowerKind of power Positive Trait Negative TraitLegitimate Helpful & Humble Pompous &RudeReward Open & Trusting Closed&SuspiciousExpert Promotes creativity PromotesPoliticsCoercive Discipline VindictiveReferent Promotes Growth PreventsGrowth
  18. 18. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriLink In understanding the relation betweenbasis of power and ethicality of power onething must be clear. The manager is moreoften than not the victim of his/herupbringing and takes his/her experienceon the domestic front into the office orshop floor. Such managers needpsychiatric help and counseling fromexpert HR facilitators. [Beware of self-styled NLP experts].
  19. 19. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriContd.. Their ethics are contingent upon theinfluence brought to bear on theirpersonal lives and the fact that they areunable to separate personal life fromofficial life.
  20. 20. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriA Clarification Many management thinkers speak ofdelegating authority. That is wrongsince authority is never delegated.What is delegated is the power to makedecisions.
  21. 21. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriF U D Factor in Decision Making People who use the concept of powernegatively create dependency situationsso that they thrive at the expense ofothers. Then they feed on the FUD Factor:FEAR – UNCERTAINITY - DOUBT
  22. 22. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriManipulative Control We are used to parents threatening uswith ghosts and priests, pundits, dastoorsand mullahs speaking of hell. Manipulative managers similarly feed onthe fear they create intentionally in theminds of others and that is highlyunethical. They then create dependency situationsand thrive on it.
  23. 23. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriWhat creates dependency?The manipulative manager acts such that: Importance of the individual. Scarcity of ability to solve problem. Non Substitutability of the individual.
  24. 24. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriPersonal Power and Positional Power Personal Power resides in the person,regardless of the position being filled. Positional Power resides in the position,regardless of who is filling that position.
  25. 25. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriPositional Power Vs Personal Power. High Positional Power/Personal Power andLow Personal Power/Positional Power cangive the Manager only Moderate OverallPower. High Positional Power and High PersonalPower can give the Manager StrongestOverall Power.
  26. 26. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriDefinition of Politics When a person or a group works outsideits job responsibilities to influence adecision that is likely to bring benefitsdesired by the person or the group forpersonal interests then that person orgroup is said to be indulging inorganizational politics.
  27. 27. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab Sadri Organizational politics are activitiescarried out by people to acquire, enhanceand use power and other resources toobtain desired outcomes. These outcomes could be financial(kickbacks), situational (nepotism) ordominational (oppression).
  28. 28. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab Sadri Politics is power in action. There is no place where politics does notexist. Lord Acton said “ all power corrupts andabsolute power corrupts absolutely”
  29. 29. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriWe say All power corrupts and the threat of losingpower corrupts absolutely. Power is a great aphrodisiac
  30. 30. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriFactors influencing political behavior. Individual factors:High self-monitorsInternal Locus of ControlHigh match between man and jobOrganizational investmentPerceived job alternativesExpectations of success
  31. 31. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriOrganizational Factors Reallocation of resources Promotional opportunities Low trust relations Role ambiguity Unclear performance evaluation system Zero-sum reward practices Democratic decision making High performance pressures Self-serving senior managers
  32. 32. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriSomething to chew on It is generally believed that political behaviouris unethical. This is not so. It is generally believed that politicians arecorrupt. That is also not so.Ninety percent of politicians are corrupt andthat gives the rest ten percent a bad name.Henry Kissinger
  33. 33. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriThink this through In management too we must nevergeneralize. But treat each case objectivelyand on its merits. Political behavior is not per se unethical.
  34. 34. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriPerhaps If you are willing to tell a white lie for agood cause it is acceptable. If you are bending the truth for the greatergood of man then it is acceptable. If you are playing political game toimprove the general lot of workmen then itis ethical (e.g. Trade Unions).
  35. 35. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriThen Again If you are circumventing (not breaking)legal provisions so that a majority ofemployees benefit and society as a wholedoes not suffer then it is ethical.
  36. 36. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriImpression Management Every manager likes to put his best faceforward for public viewing and hide theside of his character that is ugly. He tries to always create a favorableimpression of his self in the eyes ofothers. That is called impressionmanagement.
  37. 37. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriI M Organizations are nowadays known toappoint Liaison Officers, Officers onSpecial Duty and Public RelationsAgencies to improve their organizationspublic image. This is ethical.
  38. 38. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriI M But in improving that public image certain vital facts aremassaged or important lacunae are hidden then it isunethical. When the principal task of the liaison officer or PublicRelations Officer is to convert black money into white thenit is clearly unethical.
  39. 39. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriBribery and Relationship BuildingWhen does bribery begin andrelationship building end?
  40. 40. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriBribery and Relationship Building. When you give someone a divali gift it is bribery? Is itunethical? When do you give a bribe and when do you build socialrelationships? Are you conscious of the difference?
  41. 41. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriThree conditions hold if an action is ethical. There is no clear quid pro quo. The value of the gift is not so high that eyebrowsare raised . (Giving a car as a divali gift.) All gifts that are received are declared by theexecutive receiving the gift to top managementso that transparency is ensured.(This is done inIBM, General Motors, Tata Steel, SundaramFasteners.etc.)
  42. 42. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriTechniques of Political Behavior. Controlling information Controlling lines of communication Using outside experts Controlling Agenda Game Playing Building Coalitions Controlling Decision Parameters
  43. 43. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriLimiting the effects of Political Behavior. Opening Communication. Reducing Uncertainty. Being Aware. These three enable us to raise the level ofsocial consciousness.
  44. 44. Jayashree Sadri and Sorab SadriTHANK YOU.