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MHR405 Chapter 10 Power and Influence in the Workplace

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Human Resources
MHR 405
Robin Church

CHAPTER 10 POWER AND INFLUENCE IN THE WORKPLACE Power – capacity of a person, team, or organization to influence others… Power is neutral as it is what you choose to do with it is that makes power positive or negative. 1. Power is not about influencing others, it is potential to do so 2. Power is based on target’s perception of powerholder that has a valuable resource that could help them achieve their goal. You have no power if everyone perceives you to be powerless. 3. Asymmetric (unequal) dependence of power. Person A wields power over Person B as he/she controls the resources as could help or hinder B’s achievements. But person B wields countervailing power in an unequal scale over A as employees are the ones that provides sales and/or operates a business, something A, the power holder, depends on for profit or rewards. Person A (powerholder) Power Control: help/hinder Person B Countervailing Person B’s Goal Sources of power - where our power comes from. Numerous sources of power can be drawn upon simultaneously. Legitimate does not belong to person, but belongs to the position the person legitimately holds, such as a manager’s legitimate power. Agreement amongst organizational members that people in certain roles could influence others. There is a mutual agreement to obey and follow leadership. There is a zone of indifference, a set of behaviours that individuals are willing to engage in at the other person’s request. It only gives them the right to ASK for a range of behaviours from others. The range of indifference varies depending on culture (high-low power distance) and personality (values conformity and tradition or not). A norm of reciprocity is a felt obligation and social expectation of helping or otherwise giving something of value to someone who has already helped or given something to you. So if a co- worker helped you previously, you perceive they have the power to influence you to do something in return. Gatekeepers hold exceptional power, especially in mining operations where maps and location information is critical but held by few. Information passes through gatekeepers. Coercive Influence others to do things by applying punishment to employees if they do not behave as required. Employees could do this, such as ostracizing and being sarcastic. Employers can fire or demote. Reward Influence others do to things by giving rewards if they do so. Supervisor gives rewards (promotions, pay bonuses, vacations) but employees also have reward power as they give 360- degree feedback to supervisors, who could also be rewarded (promotion, bonuses, etc…). Note that both coercive and reward powers are drawn from legitimate power. Expertise Powers that comes from one’s skills and abilities. They have experience, valuable knowledge, etc… which influences you. People must know of your expertise. 3 types of expertise that cope with uncertainty: -Prevention: prevent environmental changes from occurring. Financial experts acquire power by preventing organization from experience cash difficulties. -Forecasting: predict environmental changes. In this case trendspotters, economic analysts, marketing specialists gain power by predicting changes in consumer preferences. -Absorption: absorbing and/or neutralizing the impact of environmental shifts as they occur. Ability to manage crew when machines break down. Note: Just like legitimate power, people perceive the power and reacts without much thought. Referent People are influenced by their desire to associate with those with power. People have referent power when others want to identify, like or otherwise respect them. Largely a function of one’s interpersonal skills and tends to develop slowly. Charisma is a personal characteristic or special “gift” that serves as a form of interpersonal attraction and referent power over others. Charisma produces high: trust, respect, and devotion towards the charismatic individual. Note that neither of which are drawn from legitimate power and comes from the actual person. Contingencies of power do not give us power if we do not have it, they are moderators that strengthen or weaken our existing power. Substitutability – We have more power if we are not substitutable. If there are several people whose expertise could be drawn upon, your power is weakened. To increase non-substitutability, resulting in increased power: -Exclusive right to perform medical procedures (expertise) -Control over skilled labours -Exclusive knowledge to repair equipment (being few or only one in firm with such expertise) -Differentiate resources form others Centrality – degree and nature of interdependence between power holder and others. What is the powerholder’s importance based on the degree and nature of interdependence between the powerholder and others? -The more central you are, the more powerful you are. What this means is that you are the go-to person between groups of people. -Centrality could be communication-based. -A huge factor is how quickly and how many people are affected by you. -A garbage man in a conservative country could be seen as of lower social class. But such individual could effectively shut down an entire city if they tried. That is an example of high centrality: people depend on the powerless, yet powerful garbage man. Discretion -Freedom to exercise judgment without being limited to rules. -Rules limit discretion, limit power -Also a perception – acting as if you have discretion -People may perceive you to hold a lot of power but you might be limited by specific rules. Visibility – making people aware of your power. They can be literal (you’re there, people see you) or symbolical. You display your power to remind everyone of your power and ability to influence. -Make others aware of your presence. More face time and ability to contact. -Symbols such as diplomas, trophies, clothing, etc… all show power visibly. Hang them on the walls; remind everyone who is the boss! The general idea with contingencies of power is that they add to or take away from the power powerholders already have when they influence others. Social Networks – social structures of individuals or social units that are connected to each other through one or more forms of interdependence. You can generate power through social capital – the goodwill and resulting resources/benefits shared among members in a durable network. The 3 power resources through s
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