ORGANIZATION POWER AND POLITICS NOTES

POWER
INTRODUCTION
Power means the capacity of individuals to overcome resistance on the part of others, to exert their will and to produce results, consistent with their interests and objectives (Dahl 1957).

Definitions
“Powers is the capacity to change the behaviour or attitudes of another is a desired manner” “ Power is referred to as a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B so that B nets in accordance with A’s wishes”. “Power is the ability to get things done the way one wants them to be done”. Power is a mechanism that is continually used to achieve organizational, group and individual
goals (Gibson, 1999). The most important aspect of power is that it is a function of dependency . The study of power and its effects is important to understanding how organizations operate. Every interaction and every social relationship in an organization involves an exercise of power.

Power involves a relationship between two or more people.(Robert Dahl 1957) According to Weber power involves some coercion authority is a subset of power it does not carry the implication of force. It rather involves the a suspension of judgment on the part of
its recipients Authority is the formal power that a person has because of the position that he or she holds in the organization. Authority has the following properties

  • It is invested in a person’s position.
  • It is accepted by subordinates.
  • Authority is used vertically. It flows from the top to the bottom

BASES OF POWER
They are categorized into two

  • Formal power
  • Personal power

1. Formal power
Formal power is based on an individual position in an organization. Formal power can come from the ability to coerce or reward or from formal authority.

Coercive power
This base is dependent on fear .One reacts to this power out of fear of the negative results that might occur if one failed to comply. It lies on the application or the threat of application ,of physical sanction, such as the inflicting of pain, generation of frustration through restriction of movement ,or controlling by force of basic physiological or safety needs.

Reward power
This is opposite of coercive power .People comply with the wishes or directives of another because doing so, produces positive benefits therefore one can distribute rewards that others view as valuable and will have power over those others .

Legitimate power
This represents the formal authority to control and use organizational resources .It broader than the two because it includes acceptance by members in an organization of the authority of a position.

2. Personal power
This power comes from individuals unique characteristics.

Expert power
Expert power is influence wielded as a result of expertise , special skill , or knowledge. Expertise has become one of most powerful sources of influence as the world has become technologically oriented .As jobs become specialized , experts are needed to achieve goals

Referent power
Referent power is based on identification with a person who has desirable resources or personnel traits .Referent power develops out of admiration of another and a desire to be like that person .

DEPENDENCY THE KEY TO POWER
Dependency mean the greater B’s dependency on A ,the greater the power A has over B .When you possesses anything that others require but that you alone control, you make them dependent on you and therefore you gain power over them . Dependency is increased when the resource you control is,

Important
To create dependency on the things you control, must be perceived as being important .

Scarcity
If something is plentiful ,possession of it will not increase your power. A resource needs to be perceived as scarce to create dependency.

Non substitutability
The fewer viable substitutes for a resource ,the much power the control over that resource provides.

POWER TACTICS
Power tactics is the ways in which individuals translate power bases into specific actions

Legitimacy
Relying on one’s authority position or stressing that a request is in accordance with organizational policies or rules.

Rational persuasion
Presenting logical arguments and factual evidence to demonstrate that a request is reasonable.

Inspirational appeals
Developing emotional commitments by appealing to targets values ,needs ,hopes and aspirations

Consultation
Increasing the targets motivation and support by involving him or her in deciding how the plan or change will be done .

Exchange
Rewarding the target with benefits or favors in exchange for following a request .

Personal Appeals
Asking for compliance based on friendship or loyalty.

Ingratiation
Using flattery ,praise ,or friendly behaviour prior to making a request .

Pressure
Using warnings, repeated demands, and threats.

Coalitions
Enlisting the aid of other people to persuade the target or using the support of others as a reason for the target to agree.

POWER IN GROUPS

Coalitions
Coalition is an informal group bound together by the native pursuit of a single issue. The natural way to gain influence is to become a power holder . Coalitions in organizations often seek to maximize their size. In political, science theory , coalitions move the other way, they try to minimize their size. Coalitions in organizations affects decision making in organizations, does not end just with selection from among a set of alternatives. For implementation of decisions , coalitions in organizations should seek a broad
constituency to support the conditions objectives.

Coalitions relates to the degree of interdependence within the organizations hence they are formed when there is great deal of task and resource Interdependence. Coalition formation finally will be influenced by the actual task that workers do.

UNEQUAL POWER IN THE WORKFORCE
Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is any unwanted activity of a sexual nature that affects an individuals employment and creates a hostile work environment . Organizations have made considerable progress in the past decade toward limiting overt forms of sexual harassment .
This includes unwanted physical touching ,recurring request for dates when a person is not interested and coercive threats that a person will lose the job if he or she refuse a sexual proposition . This subject is about an individual controlling or threatening another individual which is wrong .

A manager’s role in preventing sexual harassment is critical.
Managers protect themselves and their employee from sexual harassment by the following:

  • Make a policy that defines what constitutes sexual harassment ,that informs employees that they can be fired for sexual harassing another employee.
  • Ensure employees will not encounter retaliation if they issue a complaint.
  • Investigate every complaint and include the legal and human resource department.
  • Make sure that offenders are disciplined or terminated.
  • Set up in house seminars to raise employee awareness of the issues surrounding sexual harassment.

POLITICS (Power in action)
INTRODUCTION
Organizational politics is actions not officially sanction (approved) by an organization taken to influence others in order to meet one’s personal goals. Political behaviour is activities that are not required as part of ones’ formal role in organizations but that influence or attempt to influence ,the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organization.

Political behaviour is divided into two:

  • Legitimate political behavior
    It refers to normal everyday politics e.g. complaining to your supervisor , by passing the chain of command , foaming coalitions , obstruction of organizational policies or decisions through inaction or excessive adherence to rules and developing contacts
    outside the organizations through one’s professional activities.
  • Illegitimate political behaviour
    These are extreme political behaviour that violates the implied rules of the game . Those who pursue such extreme activities are often described as individuals who play handball illegitimate activities include sabotages , whistle blowing and symbolic protest
    such as groups of employees simultaneously calling in sick .

EMPLOYEE’S RESPONSES TO ORGANIZATIONAL POLITICS
When people perceive politics as a threat rather than as an opportunity, they often respond with defensive behavior. Defensive behaviour are often associated with negative feelings towards the job-work environment . People consistency rely on defensiveness, find that eventually, it is the only way they know how to behave.

IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT
This is the process by which individuals attempt to control the impression others form of them . Low self monitors tend to present images of themselves that are constituent with their personalities ,regardless of the beneficial or determined effects for them .
High self monitors are good at reading situations and molding their appearances and behaviour to fit each situation .

IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES

  • Conformity
    Agreeing with someone else’s opinion in order to gain his /her 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 pardon for the notion
  • Self promotion
    Highlighting one’s best qualities , downplaying one’s deficits and calling attention to one’s achievements.
  • Flattery
    Complementing others about their virtues in effort to make oneself appear perceptive and likeable.
  • Favors
    Doing something nice for someone to gain that person’s approval.
  • Association
    Enhancing or protection one’s image by managing information about people and things with which one’s associated
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