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COLLAB 2N03 Study Guide - Final Guide: Assertiveness, Machiavellianism, Job Satisfaction

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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
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
Reward power
Power derived from the ability to provide positive outcomes and prevent negative
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
Expert power
Power derived from having special information or expertise that is valued by an
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
Employees are likely to have the following responses to each base of managerial power:
Coercive power  Resistance
Reward power  Compliance
Legitimate power  Compliance
Expert power  Commitment
Referent power  Commitment
How Do People Obtain Power?
How do people get power?

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Rosabeth Moss Kanter has provided a succinct recipe.
People obtain power in organizations by doing certain activities and developing informal
relationships with the right people.
Doing the Right Things
Some activities are “righter” than others for obtaining power.
Activities lead to power when they are:
Extraordinary activities
Excellent performance in unusual or non-routine activities.
These are activities such as occupying a new position, managing substantial
changes, and taking great risks.
Visible activities
Highly Visible:
Extraordinary activities will fail to generate power if no one knows about
Activities must be visible to others and publicized.
Relevant activities
Extraordinary, visible work may fail to generate power if no one cares.
The activities must be relevant to the solution of important organizational
Cultivating the Right People
Developing informal relationships with the right people can be a useful means of acquiring power.
The right people can include:
Establishing good relationships with key people outside of one’s organization can
lead to increased power within the organization.
Cultivating outsiders might also contribute to more tangible sources of power.
Being closely identified with certain up-and-coming subordinates.
Subordinates can provide power when a manager is backed by a cohesive team.
Good relationships with peers is a means of ensuring that nothing gets in the way
of one’s future acquisition of power.
As one moves up the ranks, favours can be asked of former associates.
Good relationships with peers is a means of ensuring that nothing gets in the way
of one’s future acquisition of power.
As one moves up the ranks, favours can be asked of former associates.
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:
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?
Empowerment should lead to effective performance when people have sufficient power to carry
out their jobs.

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Excessive power can lead to abuse and ineffective performance.
Influence Tactics – Putting Power to Work
Influence tactics convert power into actual influence over others.
They are specific behaviours that people use to affect others and manage others’ impressions of
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
Using rationality as an influence tactic has been found to be particularly effective for men.
A particularly ineffective influence style is a “shotgun” style that is high on all tactics.
Using ingratiation as an influence tactic has been found to be particularly effective for women.
Who Wants Power?
Need for power (n Pow) is the need to have strong influence over others.
It is a reliable personality characteristic – some people have more n Pow than others.
When n Pow is responsible and controlled, its negative properties are not observed.
The most effective managers use their power for the good of the organization. They are called
institutional managers.
Effective institutional managers :
Have a high n Pow.
Use their power to achieve organizational goals.
Adopt a participative or “coaching” leadership style.
Are relatively unconcerned with how much others like them.
Institutional managers are more effective than personal power managers (who use their power for
personal gain), and affiliative managers (who are more concerned with being liked than with
exercising power).
Institutional managers are superior in giving subordinates a sense of responsibility, clarifying
organizational priorities, and instilling team spirit.
Need for power can be a useful asset, as long as it is not a neurotic expression of perceived
Controlling Strategic Contingencies - How Subunits Obtain Power
Subunit power refers to the degree of power held by various organizational subunits, such as
How do organizational subunits acquire power?
Subunits gain power by controlling strategic contingencies.
Strategic contingencies are critical factors affecting organizational effectiveness that are
controlled by a key subunit.
The work other subunits perform is contingent on the activities and performance of a key subunit.
Conditions under which subunits can control strategic contingencies:
Differences in subunit power are likely to be magnified when resources become
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