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12

C H A P T E R

T W E L V E

Organizational Power
and Politics
Suggested topics
Describe a time when you had to deal with
“organizational politics”.
 Describe a situation where you saw...
Power
Empowerment

How to get it
How to use it
…without abusing it
Definition
A “four letter word”?
 Influence?
 Control over others?
 Being able to get things done?
 ??????

A shifting definition…
Reflects the new “reality” of organizations
 A new definition of “employee”

The Meaning of Power
Power is the capacity of a person,
team, or organization to influence
others.
– The potential to infl...
Why does having power matter?
With power you can…
 Intercede favorably on behalf of someone in trouble
 Get a desirable ...
The goal?
Overcome feelings of powerlessness
 Convert power effectively into interpersonal
influences in ways that avoid ...
To empower yourself
To facilitate the empowerment
of others
Relationship Among Social Influence, Power,
and Politics
Capacity to
exert influence

Organizational
politics

Use of powe...
Power and Dependence
Person B’s
counterpowe
r over Person
A

Person
B

Person
A

Person A’s
power over
Person B

Person
B’...
Types of Individual Power: A
Summary
Individual Power

Position Power
• Legitimate power
• Reward power
• Coercive power

...
Model of Power in
Organizations
Sources
Of Power

Legitimate
Reward
Coercive
Expert
Referent

Power
over Others

Contingen...
Legitimate Power
One’s structural position
 The power a person receives as a result of
his or her position in the formal ...
The Limits of Legitimate Power
The Caine Mutiny illustrates
the limits of legitimate power
in organizations. Captain
Queeg...
Reward and Coercive Power
Power that achieves compliance based on
the ability to distribute rewards that others
view as va...
Sources of Power
Legitimate Power
Reward Power
Coercive Power
Expert Power
Archive Photos

Referent Power
Expert Power


Influence is based on special skills or
knowledge
Referent Power


Influence is based on possession by an
individual of desirable resources or personal
traits



The desi...
Information and Power


Control over information flow
– Based on legitimate power
– Relates to formal communication netwo...
Contingencies of Power
Sources
Of Power

Power
over others
Contingencies
Of Power
Substitutability
Centrality
Discretion
V...
Increasing Nonsubstitutability
Differentiation

Controlling
Tasks

Increasing
Nonsubstitutability
Controlling
Labour

Cont...
Consequences of Power
Sources
of Power
Expert
Power
Referent
Power
Legitimate
Power

Consequences
of Power

Commitment

Co...
Sexual Harassment and Power






Harasser stereotypes the victim as subservient
and powerless
Harasser threatens job s...
Office Romance and Power
Co-workers believe that employees in
relationships abuse their power to favour
each other.
 High...
Organizational Politics


Attempts to influence others using
discretionary behaviours to promote
personal objectives
– Di...
Extent to Which Political Activity is Likely (range 0-3)

Organizational Politics: More Likely at
the Top
(1.22)

Politica...
Types of Organizational
Politics
Managing
impressions

Creating
obligations

Attacking and
blaming

Types of
Organizationa...
Impression management








Conformity: agreeing with another’s opinion to get their
approval
Excuses: Explanatio...
It was
John’s fault

You
scratch my
back…

Attacking and
blaming
I thought

you
knew…
Creating
obligations

Types of
Organ...
Conditions for Organizational
Politics
Personal
Characteristics

Scarce
Resources

Conditions
Supporting
Organizational
Po...
Conditions for Organizational
Internal
Politics
Perceived
locus of

alternatives?

control
Personal
Characteristics

Decei...
Political Antics Top the “Most Unethical
List”: Survey Results
Potentially
Situation

Gender discrimination
in recruitment...
Controlling Political Behaviour
Provide
Sufficient
Resources

Remove
Political Norms

Introduce
Clear Rules

Hire
Low-Poli...
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Power and politics

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Power and politics

  1. 1. 12 C H A P T E R T W E L V E Organizational Power and Politics
  2. 2. Suggested topics Describe a time when you had to deal with “organizational politics”.  Describe a situation where you saw evidence of power or influence being used in an organization  Describe a time when someone influenced you to act a particular way or do a particular thing that you would not of otherwise done. 
  3. 3. Power Empowerment How to get it How to use it …without abusing it
  4. 4. Definition A “four letter word”?  Influence?  Control over others?  Being able to get things done?  ?????? 
  5. 5. A shifting definition… Reflects the new “reality” of organizations  A new definition of “employee” 
  6. 6. The Meaning of Power Power is the capacity of a person, team, or organization to influence others. – The potential to influence others – People have power they don’t use and may not know they possess – Power requires one person’s perception of dependence on another person Southland Times, New Zealand
  7. 7. Why does having power matter? With power you can…  Intercede favorably on behalf of someone in trouble  Get a desirable placement for a talented subordinate  Get approval for expenditures beyond the budget  Get items on and off agendas  Get fast access to decision makers  Maintain regular, frequent contact with decision makers  Acquire early information about decisions and policy shifts
  8. 8. The goal? Overcome feelings of powerlessness  Convert power effectively into interpersonal influences in ways that avoid the abuse of power 
  9. 9. To empower yourself To facilitate the empowerment of others
  10. 10. Relationship Among Social Influence, Power, and Politics Capacity to exert influence Organizational politics Use of power for personal interests Power Successful Social influence Unsuccessful
  11. 11. Power and Dependence Person B’s counterpowe r over Person A Person B Person A Person A’s power over Person B Person B’s Goals
  12. 12. Types of Individual Power: A Summary Individual Power Position Power • Legitimate power • Reward power • Coercive power Personal Power • Referent power • Expert power
  13. 13. Model of Power in Organizations Sources Of Power Legitimate Reward Coercive Expert Referent Power over Others Contingencies Of Power
  14. 14. Legitimate Power One’s structural position  The power a person receives as a result of his or her position in the formal hierarchy of an organization 
  15. 15. The Limits of Legitimate Power The Caine Mutiny illustrates the limits of legitimate power in organizations. Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart, seated left) asked his crew to do more than they were willing to follow, so they staged a mutiny. Archive Photos
  16. 16. Reward and Coercive Power Power that achieves compliance based on the ability to distribute rewards that others view as valuable  Coercive Power: the opposite of reward power: the power that is based on fear of negative results. 
  17. 17. Sources of Power Legitimate Power Reward Power Coercive Power Expert Power Archive Photos Referent Power
  18. 18. Expert Power  Influence is based on special skills or knowledge
  19. 19. Referent Power  Influence is based on possession by an individual of desirable resources or personal traits  The desire to please…
  20. 20. Information and Power  Control over information flow – Based on legitimate power – Relates to formal communication network – Common in centralized structures (wheel pattern)  Coping with uncertainty – Those who know how to cope with organizational uncertainties gain power » Prevention » Forecasting » Absorption
  21. 21. Contingencies of Power Sources Of Power Power over others Contingencies Of Power Substitutability Centrality Discretion Visibility
  22. 22. Increasing Nonsubstitutability Differentiation Controlling Tasks Increasing Nonsubstitutability Controlling Labour Controlling Knowledge
  23. 23. Consequences of Power Sources of Power Expert Power Referent Power Legitimate Power Consequences of Power Commitment Compliance Reward Power Coercive Power Resistance
  24. 24. Sexual Harassment and Power    Harasser stereotypes the victim as subservient and powerless Harasser threatens job security or safety through coercive or legitimate power Hostile work environment harassment continues when the victim lacks power to stop the behaviour
  25. 25. Office Romance and Power Co-workers believe that employees in relationships abuse their power to favour each other.  Higher risk of sexual harassment when relationship breaks off. 
  26. 26. Organizational Politics  Attempts to influence others using discretionary behaviours to promote personal objectives – Discretionary behaviours — neither explicitly prescribed nor prohibited  Politics may be good or bad for the organization
  27. 27. Extent to Which Political Activity is Likely (range 0-3) Organizational Politics: More Likely at the Top (1.22) Political activity is perceived to increase at higher organizational levels 1.3 1.2 1.1 1.0 .9 (1.07) (.73) .8 .7 (.50) .6 (.54) .5 .4 .3 (.18) .2 .1 Production and Clerical and Technical and Lower Middle Upper blue collar white collar professional management management management Organizational Level
  28. 28. Types of Organizational Politics Managing impressions Creating obligations Attacking and blaming Types of Organizational Politics Cultivating networks Controlling information Forming coalitions
  29. 29. Impression management        Conformity: agreeing with another’s opinion to get their approval Excuses: Explanations of a predicament-creating event aimed at minimizing the apparent severity of the predicament Apologies: Admitting responsibility for an undesirable event and simultaneously seeking to get a pardon for the action Acclamations: Explanation of favourable events to maximize the desirable implications for oneself. Flattery: Complimenting others on their virtues in an effort to make oneself appear perceptive and likeable Favours: Doing something nice for someone to gain that person’s approval Association: Enhancing or protecting one’s image by managing information about people and things with which one is associated.
  30. 30. It was John’s fault You scratch my back… Attacking and blaming I thought you knew… Creating obligations Types of Organizational Politics Cultivating networks Look who I know… Controlling information Forming coalitions We agreed that…
  31. 31. Conditions for Organizational Politics Personal Characteristics Scarce Resources Conditions Supporting Organizational Politics Tolerance of Politics Complex and Ambiguous Decisions
  32. 32. Conditions for Organizational Internal Politics Perceived locus of alternatives? control Personal Characteristics Deceit is appropriate Conditions Supporting Organizational Politics Tolerance of Politics It works here Scarce Resources Zero-sum rewards Complex and Ambiguous Decisions Democratic decision making
  33. 33. Political Antics Top the “Most Unethical List”: Survey Results Potentially Situation Gender discrimination in recruitment or hiring Arrangements with vendors leading to personal gain Nonperformance factors used in appraisals Gender discrimination in compensation Not maintaining confidentiality Using discipline inconsistently Gender discrimination in promotion Sexual harassment Allowing differences in pay due to friendships Hiring, training, or promoting based on favouritism political behaviours (22.6) (23.1) (23.5) (25.8) (26.4) (26.9) (26.9) (28.4) (30.7) (30.7) 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Percentage Responding with a 4 or 5 on a five-Point Scale Measuring Degree of Seriousness (where 5=“very great”)
  34. 34. Controlling Political Behaviour Provide Sufficient Resources Remove Political Norms Introduce Clear Rules Hire Low-Politics Employees Free Flowing Information Increase Opportunities for Dialogue Manage Change Effectively Peer Pressure Against Politics

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