Lesson30Power&OrganizationalPolitics

Lesson30Power&OrganizationalPolitics - Lesson:-30...

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Lesson:-30 POWER AND ORGANIZATIONAL POLITICS During discussions of leadership, the question often arises: "Why or how are leaders able to get followers to follow?" We have already discussed the notion that followers follow if they perceive the leader to be in a position to satisfy their needs. However, our discussion also included frequent reference to the concept of "power". We are now in a position to take a closer look at power. Definitions of power abound. German sociologist, Max Weber defined power as "the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance." Along similar lines, Emerson suggests that "The power of actor A over actor B is the amount of resistance on the part of B which can be potentially overcome by A." Power appears to involve one person changing the behavior of one or more other individuals -- particularly if that behavior would not have taken place otherwise. power refers to A's ability to influence B, not A's right to do so; no right is implied in the concept of power. .. At this point it is useful to point out that power refers to A's ability to influence B, not A's right to do so; no right is implied in the concept of power. A related concept is authority. Authority does represent the right to expect or secure compliance; authority is backed by legitimacy. For purposes of differentiating between power and authority, let us examine the relationship between the manager of a sawmill and her subordinates. Presumably, the manager has the authority -- the right -- to request that the sawyer cut lumber to certain specifications. On the other hand, the manager would not have the right to request that the sawyer wash her car. However, that sawyer may well accede to her request that he wash her car. Why? It is possible
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that the sawyer responds to the power that the manager has over him -- the ability to influence his behavior. Classification of power : Etizoni has made the classification of power as follows: COERCIVE POWER : Involves forcing someone to comply with one's wishes. A prison would be an example of a coercive organization. UTILITARIAN POWER: Is power based on a system of rewards or punishments. Businesses, which use pay raises, promotions, or threats of dismissal, are essentially utilitarian organizations. NORMATIVE POWER : Is power which rests on the beliefs of the members that the organization has a right to govern their behavior. A religious order would be an example of a utilitarian organization. ORGANIZATIONAL POLITICS To help us understand organizations, we might consider them as political systems. The political metaphor helps us understand power relationships in day-to-day organizational relationships. If we accept that power relations exist in organizations, then politics and politicking are an essential part of organizational life. Politics
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This note was uploaded on 05/20/2010 for the course BUSINESS Organizati taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '10 term at Open Uni..

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Lesson30Power&OrganizationalPolitics - Lesson:-30...

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