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Power and Politics
Ms. Vaishali Bapu Thorat
MBA (First Year)
MBA College, Loni, Tal-Rahata (Maharashtra)
2Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
• Power has been defined as
having control, influence, or
domination over something or
someone.
– Chandler (1992)
• Power is defined as ‘the ability
to get things done, to mobilize
resources, to get and use
whatever it is that a person
needs for the goals he or she is
attempting to meet’.
– Kanter (1993)
Power
3Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
“Power tends to corrupt; absolute
power corrupts absolutely”
Lord Acton
You can get much farther with a kind
word and a gun than you can with a kind
word alone. — A. Capone
4Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Power refers to a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of
B, so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes.
Power may exist but not be used. It is, therefore, a capacity or
potential.
Probably the most important aspect of power is that it is a
function of dependency. The greater B’s dependence on A, the
greater is A’s power in the relationship.
A Definition of Power
5Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Contrasting Leadership and Power
Power does not require goal compatibility, merely dependence. Leadership, on the
other hand, requires some congruence between the goals of the leader and those
being led.
A second difference relates to the direction of influence. Leadership focuses on the
downward influence on one’s subordinates.
It minimizes the importance of lateral and upward influence patterns. Power does not.
power can be used by groups as well as by individuals to control other individuals or
groups.
6Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Leadership
•Agreement
•downward influence
•lateral and upward
influence
•focuses on answers
Power
• acceptance
•Intimidation
•lateral and upward
influence
•gaining compliance
Leadership and Power
7Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
The National Front Government lead by V. P. Singh was supported by the Left (represented here by
Jyoti Basu) as well as the BJP (represented by L. K. Advani)
8Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Bases of Power
Coercive Power Power that is based on fear.
Reward Power Compliance achieved based on the ability to distribute
rewards that others view as valuable.
Legitimate Power The power a person receives as a result of his or her
position in the formal hierarchy of an organization.
Expert Power Influence based on special skills or knowledge
Referent Power Influence based on possession by an individual of
desirable resources or personal traits.
Positional Power
9Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
10Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
11Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
12Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
13Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Reward power
14Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
15Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
16Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
TOOLS FOR IMPROVING POWER IMAGE
 Communication skills
 Networking
 Mentoring
 Goal setting
 Developing expertise
 High visibility
17Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Sources of Power
• Tactics for Increasing Power
– Provide resources to other departments and
operating units
– Create dependencies
– Take responsibility for areas of high uncertainty
– Satisfy strategic contingencies
– Build coalitions
– Expand networks
– Control decision processes
18Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Sources of Power
• Authority linked to formal position
• Control over resources
• Control over decision-making processes and
information
• Network centrality
• Nonsubstitutability
• Management of strategic contingencies
19Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Sources of Power
20Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Power Tactics
Legitimacy
Rational persuasion
Inspirational appeals
Consultation
Exchange
Personal appeals
Ingratiation
Pressure
Coalitions
Ways in which individuals translate power
bases into specific actions.
21Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
There are seven tactical dimensions or strategies:
◆ Reason: Use of facts and data to make a logical or rational presentation of ideas
◆ Friendliness: Use of flattery, creation of goodwill, acting humble, and being friendly
prior to making a request
◆ Coalition: Getting the support of other people in the organization to back up the
request
◆ Bargaining: Use of negotiation through the exchange of benefits or favors
◆ Assertiveness: Use of a direct and forceful approach such as demanding
compliance with requests, repeating reminders, ordering individuals to do what is
asked, and pointing out that rules require compliance
◆ Higher authority: Gaining the support of higher levels in the organization to back
up requests
◆ Sanctions: Use of organizationally derived rewards and punishments such as
preventing or promising a salary increase, threatening to give an unsatisfactory
performance evaluation, or withholding a promotion
22Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
When Power Is Likely To Be Used
• For important decisions
• When performance is difficult to assess
• When there are uncertainties and
disagreement
• Interdependence
23Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Issues on Which Power
Is Likely To Be Used
• Four Domains
– Structural change
– Interdepartmental coordination
– Management succession
– Resource allocation and budgeting
24Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Employee Responses to
Use of Power
• Employees may react negatively to use of power
– Decreased trust in the organization
– Increased employee dissatisfaction
– Increased conflict within the organization
– Decreased morale and effort
– Increased employee turnover
• Power use may undermine future operations and
decision making
25Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
The Abuse of Power
in Organizations
• Necessary at times to achieve goals
– Personal goals
– Organizational goals
• Managers
– Necessary to understand that power is potentially abusive to employees
• Conditions Facilitating the Abuse of Power
– High information ambiguity
– High ends mean ambiguities
– Overly centralized decision making structure
– Scarcity of rival coalitions both internal and external to organization
– Low or one-sided interdependencies between key organizational stakeholders
– Culture of organizational complacency
– Short time horizons
26Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Politics: Power in Action
Those activities that are not required as part of one’s formal role in the organization,
but that influence, or attempt to influence, the distribution of advantages and
disadvantages within the organization.
The use of power to influence decision making. It is power and influence based on
coalitcs building.
-Pettigrew (1973)
Organizational power is linked to dysfunction in organization
– Allen et al (1975)
27Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Definition of Politics
Organizational Politics are the activities managers engage in to increase their
power and use it to achieve their goals.
Political strategies: specific tactics used to increase power and use it effectively.
 Political can be negative, but also is a positive force allowing needed
change.
 Everyone throughout the firm engagers in politics.
 Political activity allows a manager to gain support for an idea.
28Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Factors/Conditions influencing Political Behaviour
FACTORS
Ambiguous
goals
Scarce
resources
Technology &
enviornment
Complex
and
ambiguous
decisions
Organisational
change
Personnel
characteristic
29Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
30Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
31Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
32Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
33Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Reasons for Office Politics:
 Politics arrises when employees aspire to achive something
beyond their authority and control in a short span of time.
 Lack of supervision and control at the workspace.
 Too much of gossip at the work lead to politics.
 Arrogant superiors.
 Jealous colleagues.
34Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Political Tactics and Strategies
To make effective use of organizational politics, leader must be
aware of specific political tactics and strategies. There are
three major tactics –
 Gaining power.
Building relationship with superiors and co-workers.
Avoiding political blunder.
35Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Gaining power
 All political tactics are aimed to gaining and maintaining power,
even the power to avoid a difficult assignment.
 There are six techniques to gaining power:
 Develop power contacts
 Control vital information
 Control lines of communications
 Bring in outside expert
 Make a quick showing
36Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Building Relationship
 Muck of organization politics involve building relationship with
network member who can be helpful now or later.
 Strategies for building relationship:
$ Make and manage impression on others
$ Ask satisfied customers to speak about you
$ Be overly courteous, pleasant and positive
$ Flatter others
37Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Avoiding Political Blunders
A strategy for retaining power is to refrain from making power
eroding blunders which can prevent one from attaining power:
֍Criticiing the boss in public fourms
֍By passing the manager
֍Overt display of disloyalty
֍Being or perceived as a poor team player
֍Act in haste
֍Declining an offer from top management
38Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
39Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
40Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
41Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
42Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Power, Politics, and
Organizational Performance
• Can serve to facilitate implementation of important
decisions
• Approaches to Reducing Inefficiencies Due to Political
Activity
– Increase level of slack resources
– Reduce differentiation and heterogeneity among organizational
members and units
– Divide organizational rewards more evenly
43Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Conclusion
 Power is the ability to influence people and event.
 Managers need to use power effectively.
 Closely related to power is politics. Politics relates to the ways people gain
and use in organizations.
 Political activities in an organization are inevitable and managers should
manage them carefully.
 Power and politics are present in all organizations and are inevitable.
However, it depends on the shareholders whether to use it for their selfish
benefits or for an organizational development that can lead to everyone’s
benefits.
44Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Power and politics

  • 1. Power and Politics Ms. Vaishali Bapu Thorat MBA (First Year) MBA College, Loni, Tal-Rahata (Maharashtra)
  • 2. 2Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. • Power has been defined as having control, influence, or domination over something or someone. – Chandler (1992) • Power is defined as ‘the ability to get things done, to mobilize resources, to get and use whatever it is that a person needs for the goals he or she is attempting to meet’. – Kanter (1993) Power
  • 3. 3Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely” Lord Acton You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. — A. Capone
  • 4. 4Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Power refers to a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B, so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes. Power may exist but not be used. It is, therefore, a capacity or potential. Probably the most important aspect of power is that it is a function of dependency. The greater B’s dependence on A, the greater is A’s power in the relationship. A Definition of Power
  • 5. 5Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Contrasting Leadership and Power Power does not require goal compatibility, merely dependence. Leadership, on the other hand, requires some congruence between the goals of the leader and those being led. A second difference relates to the direction of influence. Leadership focuses on the downward influence on one’s subordinates. It minimizes the importance of lateral and upward influence patterns. Power does not. power can be used by groups as well as by individuals to control other individuals or groups.
  • 6. 6Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Leadership •Agreement •downward influence •lateral and upward influence •focuses on answers Power • acceptance •Intimidation •lateral and upward influence •gaining compliance Leadership and Power
  • 7. 7Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The National Front Government lead by V. P. Singh was supported by the Left (represented here by Jyoti Basu) as well as the BJP (represented by L. K. Advani)
  • 8. 8Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Bases of Power Coercive Power Power that is based on fear. Reward Power Compliance achieved based on the ability to distribute rewards that others view as valuable. Legitimate Power The power a person receives as a result of his or her position in the formal hierarchy of an organization. Expert Power Influence based on special skills or knowledge Referent Power Influence based on possession by an individual of desirable resources or personal traits. Positional Power
  • 9. 9Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 10. 10Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 11. 11Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 12. 12Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 13. 13Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reward power
  • 14. 14Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 15. 15Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 16. 16Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. TOOLS FOR IMPROVING POWER IMAGE  Communication skills  Networking  Mentoring  Goal setting  Developing expertise  High visibility
  • 17. 17Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Sources of Power • Tactics for Increasing Power – Provide resources to other departments and operating units – Create dependencies – Take responsibility for areas of high uncertainty – Satisfy strategic contingencies – Build coalitions – Expand networks – Control decision processes
  • 18. 18Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Sources of Power • Authority linked to formal position • Control over resources • Control over decision-making processes and information • Network centrality • Nonsubstitutability • Management of strategic contingencies
  • 19. 19Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Sources of Power
  • 20. 20Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Power Tactics Legitimacy Rational persuasion Inspirational appeals Consultation Exchange Personal appeals Ingratiation Pressure Coalitions Ways in which individuals translate power bases into specific actions.
  • 21. 21Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. There are seven tactical dimensions or strategies: ◆ Reason: Use of facts and data to make a logical or rational presentation of ideas ◆ Friendliness: Use of flattery, creation of goodwill, acting humble, and being friendly prior to making a request ◆ Coalition: Getting the support of other people in the organization to back up the request ◆ Bargaining: Use of negotiation through the exchange of benefits or favors ◆ Assertiveness: Use of a direct and forceful approach such as demanding compliance with requests, repeating reminders, ordering individuals to do what is asked, and pointing out that rules require compliance ◆ Higher authority: Gaining the support of higher levels in the organization to back up requests ◆ Sanctions: Use of organizationally derived rewards and punishments such as preventing or promising a salary increase, threatening to give an unsatisfactory performance evaluation, or withholding a promotion
  • 22. 22Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. When Power Is Likely To Be Used • For important decisions • When performance is difficult to assess • When there are uncertainties and disagreement • Interdependence
  • 23. 23Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Issues on Which Power Is Likely To Be Used • Four Domains – Structural change – Interdepartmental coordination – Management succession – Resource allocation and budgeting
  • 24. 24Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Employee Responses to Use of Power • Employees may react negatively to use of power – Decreased trust in the organization – Increased employee dissatisfaction – Increased conflict within the organization – Decreased morale and effort – Increased employee turnover • Power use may undermine future operations and decision making
  • 25. 25Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The Abuse of Power in Organizations • Necessary at times to achieve goals – Personal goals – Organizational goals • Managers – Necessary to understand that power is potentially abusive to employees • Conditions Facilitating the Abuse of Power – High information ambiguity – High ends mean ambiguities – Overly centralized decision making structure – Scarcity of rival coalitions both internal and external to organization – Low or one-sided interdependencies between key organizational stakeholders – Culture of organizational complacency – Short time horizons
  • 26. 26Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Politics: Power in Action Those activities that are not required as part of one’s formal role in the organization, but that influence, or attempt to influence, the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organization. The use of power to influence decision making. It is power and influence based on coalitcs building. -Pettigrew (1973) Organizational power is linked to dysfunction in organization – Allen et al (1975)
  • 27. 27Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Definition of Politics Organizational Politics are the activities managers engage in to increase their power and use it to achieve their goals. Political strategies: specific tactics used to increase power and use it effectively.  Political can be negative, but also is a positive force allowing needed change.  Everyone throughout the firm engagers in politics.  Political activity allows a manager to gain support for an idea.
  • 28. 28Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Factors/Conditions influencing Political Behaviour FACTORS Ambiguous goals Scarce resources Technology & enviornment Complex and ambiguous decisions Organisational change Personnel characteristic
  • 29. 29Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 30. 30Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 31. 31Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 32. 32Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 33. 33Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reasons for Office Politics:  Politics arrises when employees aspire to achive something beyond their authority and control in a short span of time.  Lack of supervision and control at the workspace.  Too much of gossip at the work lead to politics.  Arrogant superiors.  Jealous colleagues.
  • 34. 34Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Political Tactics and Strategies To make effective use of organizational politics, leader must be aware of specific political tactics and strategies. There are three major tactics –  Gaining power. Building relationship with superiors and co-workers. Avoiding political blunder.
  • 35. 35Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Gaining power  All political tactics are aimed to gaining and maintaining power, even the power to avoid a difficult assignment.  There are six techniques to gaining power:  Develop power contacts  Control vital information  Control lines of communications  Bring in outside expert  Make a quick showing
  • 36. 36Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Building Relationship  Muck of organization politics involve building relationship with network member who can be helpful now or later.  Strategies for building relationship: $ Make and manage impression on others $ Ask satisfied customers to speak about you $ Be overly courteous, pleasant and positive $ Flatter others
  • 37. 37Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Avoiding Political Blunders A strategy for retaining power is to refrain from making power eroding blunders which can prevent one from attaining power: ֍Criticiing the boss in public fourms ֍By passing the manager ֍Overt display of disloyalty ֍Being or perceived as a poor team player ֍Act in haste ֍Declining an offer from top management
  • 38. 38Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 39. 39Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 40. 40Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 41. 41Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 42. 42Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Power, Politics, and Organizational Performance • Can serve to facilitate implementation of important decisions • Approaches to Reducing Inefficiencies Due to Political Activity – Increase level of slack resources – Reduce differentiation and heterogeneity among organizational members and units – Divide organizational rewards more evenly
  • 43. 43Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Conclusion  Power is the ability to influence people and event.  Managers need to use power effectively.  Closely related to power is politics. Politics relates to the ways people gain and use in organizations.  Political activities in an organization are inevitable and managers should manage them carefully.  Power and politics are present in all organizations and are inevitable. However, it depends on the shareholders whether to use it for their selfish benefits or for an organizational development that can lead to everyone’s benefits.
  • 44. 44Copyright © 2006 by Thomson Delmar Learning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.