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OB chapter 12.doc

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Carolyn Capretta

Chapter 12 – Power, Politics, and Ethics What is Power? • Power – the capacity to influence others who are in a state of dependence • Power is not always perceived or exercised • The target of power is dependent on the powerholder does not imply that a poor relationship exists between the two • Power can flow in any direction in an organization • Power is a broad concept that applies to both individuals and groups The (5) Bases of Individual Power • Power can be found in the position that you occupy in the organization or the resources that you are able to command. The first base of power – legitimate power – is dependent on one’s position or job. The other bases (reward, coercive, referent, and expert power) involve the control of important resources. • Legitimate Power – power derived from a person’s position or job in an organization [An organizations hierarchy displays members who possess more and more legitimate power] • Reward Power – power derived from the ability to provide position outcomes and prevent negative outcomes [Managers are given the chance to recommend raises, do performance evaluations, and assign preferred task to employees] • Coercive power – power derived from the use of punishment and threat [Managers might be permitted to dock pay, assign unfavourable tasks, or block promotions] • Referent Power – power derived from being well liked by others [People we like readily influence us] • Expert Power – power derived from having special information or expertise that is valued by an organization [A business school that has only highly published professor who is internationally known scholar and past federal cabinet minister] How Do People Obtain Power? Doing the right things • According to Kanter, some activies are “righter” than others for obtaining power • Extraordinary activities – what one needs is excellence performance in unusual or non- routine activities • Visible activities – people who have an interest in power are especially good at identifying visible activities and publicizing them • Relevant activities – if nobody sees work as relevant to the solution of important organizational problems, it will not add to one’s influence. Cultivating the Right People • It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Kanter explains that developing informal relationships with the right people can prove a useful means of acquiring power. • Outsiders – establishing good relationships with key people outside one’s organization can lead to increased power within the organization. • Subordinates – an individual can gain influence if she is closely identified with certain up and coming subordinates. • Peers – cultivating good relationships with peers is mainly a means of ensuring that nothing gets in the way of one’s future acquisition of power. • Superiors – liaisons with key superiors probably represent the best way of obtaining power through cultivating others Empowerment – Putting Power Where It Is Needed • Empowerment – giving people the authority, opportunity, and motivation to take initiative and solve organizational problems • The motivation part of the empowerment equation suggests hiring people who will be intrinsically motivated by power and opportunity and aligning extrinsic rewards with successful performance. • People who are empowered have a strong sense of self-efficacy, the feeling that they are capable of doing their jobs well and making things happen. Influence Tactics – Putting Power to Work • Influence tactics – tactics that are used to convert power into actual influence over others Tactics include: • Assertiveness – ordering, nagging, setting deadlines, and verbally confronting • Ingratiation – using flattery and acting friendly, polite, or humble • Rationality – using logic, reason, planning, and compromise • Exchange – doing favours or offering to trade favours • Upward appeal – making formal or informal appeals to organizati
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