Week 5: Power and Leadership (Sep 25 - Oct 02)
Week 5 Introduction
Where Have We Been?
Last week, we covered the seemingly incongruous topics of conflict and communication. We learned that
without positive or functional conflict, it would be impossible for good ideas to triumph over ideas and
strategies of lesser merit. Or, as was the case with Alan Mulally at Ford, had he not been willing to preside
over conflict, the significant changes he brought about would not have happened. Conflict has a place in
any successful organization. We also focused on communication as the cornerstone of organizational
success, and we highlighted the increasing depersonalization of communication, as we adopt more and
more electronic methods of communication and embrace more virtual workplaces. As future managers
and leaders, overcoming the potentially isolating effects of virtual communication will be a key to success.
Looking back over the course to date, we have navigated our organizational continuum starting with
individual differences and individual motivation theories, moved through a review of teams and teamwork,
and addressed the processes of communication and conflict. Each week is an incremental build on the
week before, covering the classic components of organizational behavior theory with a focus on current
adaptations and issues.
Where Are We Headed?
This week, we move along our organizational continuum to the study of power and leadership. Our first
chapter takes us through a discussion of the types and sources of power, authority, and the nature of
obedience. From there, we move into empowerment and it’s increasing, yet changing nature in modern
organizations, a continuation of one of our core themes of valuing our employees. Organizational politics
is reviewed, and, similar to when we covered conflict last week, we move beyond the usual interpretation
of ‘politics’ as being bad and into a deeper review of the subject. Our first discussion question focuses on
executive power and comes from the Leaders on Leadership highlight on Edward J. Zore of Northwestern
Following our discussion of power, we are going to focus on the nature of leadership in organizations. Our
reading takes us through a review of the differences between leadership and management. As we will
investigate the various sources of power, we will delve into different approaches to leadership including,
trait, behavior, and situational. We will review in detail several situational leadership theories that tend to
highlight how leadership is a reciprocal process between leaders and followers. Any discussion of