HROB 2090 Lecture 12: HROB Chapter 12

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Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour
HROB 2090

1. Chapter 12 – Power, Politics and Ethics What Is Power? • Power is the capacity to influence others who are in a state of dependence. • It is not always perceived or exercised. • It does not imply a poor relationship between the power holder and the target of power. • Power can flow in any direction in an organization. • Power applies to both individuals and groups. The Bases of Individual Power • Power can be found in the position one occupies in an organization and the resources that one is able to command. • There are five bases of individual power: – Legitimate power – Reward power – Coercive power – Referent power – Expert power Legitimate Power • Power derived from a person’s position or job in an organization. • It is based on one’s formal authority and level in an organization’s hierarchy. • Legitimate power works because people have been socialized to accept its influence. Reward Power • Power derived from the ability to provide positive outcomes and prevent negative outcomes. • It corresponds to the concept of positive reinforcement. • Any organizational member can attempt to exert influence over others with praise, compliments, and flattery. Coercive Power • Power derived from the use of punishment and threat. • Lower-level organizational members can also apply their share of coercion. • When managers use coercive power, it is generally ineffective and can provoke considerable employee resistance. Referent Power • Power derived from being well liked by others. • It stems from identification with the power holder. • Referent power is available to anyone in an organization who is well liked. • Friendly interpersonal relations often permit influence to extend across the organization, outside the usual channels of legitimate authority, reward, and coercion. Expert Power • Power derived from having special information or expertise that is valued by an organization. • Expert power corresponds to difficulty of replacement. • Lower-level organizational members can have expert power. • Of all the bases of power, expertise is most consistently associated with employee effectiveness. • Employees perceive women managers as more likely than male managers to be high in expert power. Employee Responses to Bases of Power Empowerment: Putting Power Where It Is Needed • Empowerment means giving people the authority, opportunity, and motivation to take initiative and solve organizational problems. • Key components: – Authority – Opportunity – Motivation • People who are empowered have a strong sense of self-efficacy. • Empowering lower-level employees can be critical in service organizations. • Empowerment fosters job satisfaction, organizational commitment, OCBs, and high performance. • Empowerment puts power where it is needed to make the organization effective. • This depends on organizational strategy and customer expectations. • Could organizational members have too much power? Relationship Between Power and Performance Influence Tactics – Putting Power to Work • How does power result in influence? • Influence tactics convert power into actual influence over others. • They are specific behaviours that people use to affect others and manage others’ impressions of them. • Assertiveness • Ingratiation • Rationality • Exchange • Upward appeal • Coalition formation • What determines which influence tactics you might use? • The use of an influence tactic is determined by one’s base of power and who they are trying to influence (subordinates, peers, or superiors). • The use of rationality is viewed positively by others and it is frequently used. • Subordinates are more likely to be the recipients of assertiveness. • Rationality is most likely to be directed toward superiors. • Exchange, ingratiation, and upward appeal are favoured tactics for influencing both peers and subordinates. Organizational Politics – Using and Abusing Power • Not all uses of power constitute politics. • What is organizational politics? The Basics of Organizational Politics • Organizational politics refers to the pursuit of self-interest in an organization, whether or not this self-interest corresponds to organizational goals. • Politics frequently involves using means of influence that the organization does not sanction or pursuing ends or goals that it does not sanction. • Political activity is self-conscious and intentional. • It can be an individual or subunit activity. • Political activity can have beneficial outcomes for an organization even though the outcomes are achieved by questionable tactics. • We can explore organizational politics using the means/ends matrix. • It is the association between influence means and influence ends that determines whether activities are political and whether these activities benefit the organization. The Dimensions
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