Definition Power refers to a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B, so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes. Sources of power: formal power and personal power.
Formal powerFormal power is based on an individual’s position in an organization. Coercive power: based on fear; Reward power: gaining positive benefits; Legitimate power: represent formal authority; coercive, reward, and acceptance Information power: access to and control over information.
Personal powerPower that comes from an individual’s unique characteristics. Expert power: as a result of expertise, special skills or knowledge Referent power: based on identification with a person who has desirable resources or personal traits. Charismatic power: an extension of referent power; based on an individual’s personality and interpersonal style.
Dependency and power The greater B’s dependency on A, the greater the power A has over B. Dependency is increased when the resource you control is important, scare and non- substitutable.
Sources of dependency Importance: the thing (s) one controls must be perceived as being important. In organizations, those individuals or departments who have important functions have great power. Scarcity: A resource needs to be perceived as scarce to create dependency. Having scarce knowledge increases one’s power. Non-substitutability: the more that a resource has no viable substitutes, the more power is provided by having control over that resource.
Power tactics Power tactics refer to ways by which individuals try to get what they want by gaining power. Research has identified several tactical strategies in business contexts.
Power tactics (continued) Reason: Use of facts and data to make a logical or rational presentation of ideas. Friendliness: Acting humble and being friendly prior to making a request. Coalition: Getting the support of other organization members to back up the request. Bargaining (ingratiation): Use of negotiation through the exchange of benefits or favors. Assertiveness: Using direct and forceful approach. Higher authority (networking): Getting the support of higher levels. Sanctions: Use of organizationally derived rewards and punishments. Information management: Controlling and skillfully releasing critical information. Impression management: Creating a favorable image and impression of being important. People may use this tactic to build an image as knowledgeable, articulate, sensible, sensitive, and socially adept.
popularity of tactics (kipnis, et al., 1984)Most popular Managers for Managers for superiors subordinates reason reason coalition assertiveness friendliness friendliness bargaining coalition assertiveness bargaining higher authority high authority sanctionsLeast popular
Ethics and power tactics (continued) Robins has suggested that a political tactic must be chosen after answering to the following questions: Is the political action motivated by self-serving interests to the exclusion of the organization’s goals? Does the political action respect the right of the individual affected? Is the political activity fair and equitable?
Ethics and power tactics (continued)Some other important questions based on Sauser’s (2005) business ethics model: Does the power tactic violate the law? Does the power tactic violate your professional ethical codes? Does the power tactic violate your organization ethical codes? Does the power tactic violate societal values and norms? Does the power tactic violate your conscious and internalized standards?
Reading Please read page 394 to 413 of the text book.