Chapter 12 Individuals, Groups & Organizations
Power, Politics & Ethics
What is Power?
Power: The capacity to influence others who are in a state of dependence
A lot of people don't use all their power
The target of power is dependent on the power holder but that doesn’t mean that a poor relationship exists
between the 2
Power can flow from any direction in the org
The Bases of Individual Power
Legitimate Power: Power derived from a person’s position or job in an org.
It says who is formally permitted to influence whom and is often called authority
Members usually at higher levels have higher authority
When legitimate power works it does so b/c people have been socialized to accept its influence
Reward Power: Power derived from the ability to provide positive outcomes & prevent negative outcomes
Managers are given chance to recommend raises or do performance evaluations and assign preferred tasks
Coercive Power: power derived from the use of punishment and threat
Isn’t perfectly correlated w/ legitimate power
Referent Power: Power derived from being well liked by others
We are prone to consider points of view, ignore failures, seek approval and use them as role models
It stems from identification w/ the power holder – and therefore represents a truer or deeper base of power
than reward or coercion which may stimulate more compliance to achieve rewards or avid punishment
Anyone in the org. may be well liked so is available to anyone at any level of the org.
Expert Power: Power derived form having special info or expertise that is valued by an org.
We tend to influenced by those who perform jobs well
The more critical or unusual this expertise, the greater is the expert power available
How Do People Obtain Power?
Doing the Right Things
Extraordinary Activities: Excellent performance of a routine job might not be enough so going above & beyond
in activities, tasking risks etc.
Extraordinary activities will fail to generate power if no one knows about them
Extraordinary work will fail if no one cares
If nobody sees the work as relevant to the solution of important organizational problems, it wont add to
Cultivating the Right People
Establishing good relationships w/ key people outside one’s organization can lead to increased power
within the org.
Org. members who are on boards of directors of other companies might acquire critical info about business
conditions that they can use in their own firms
A person can gain influence if she is closely identified with certain up & coming subordinates (“I taught
her everything she knows”
Could be chance that subordinate will be your boss one day
Cultivating subordinate interests can also provide power when a manager can demonstrate that he/she is
backed by a cohesive team
Cultivating good relationships w peers is mainly a means of ensuring that nothing gets in the way of one’s
future acquisition of power
Doesn’t want to get stabbed in the back” for a past misdeed
Liaisons w/ key superiors probably represent the best way of obtaining power through cultivating others
Superiors can often be mentors or sponsors
Can introduce you to the right people
Empowerment – Putting Power Where It Is Needed
Empowerment: Giving people the authority, opportunity & motivation to take initiative & solve organizational
Opportunities means freedom from barriers & other system problems that block initiative
Authority usually means legitimate power to solve problems
The motivation part of empowerment suggests hiring people that will be intrinsically motivated by power
and opportunity of aligning extrinsic rewards w/ successful performance
People who are empowered have strong self-efficacy, the feeling they are capable of doing their jobs well
and “making things happen”
Influence Tactics – Putting Power to Work
Influence Tactics: Tactics sued to convert power into actual influence over others
Behaviours power holders use to affect others…
Assertiveness – ordering, nagging, setting deadlines, and verbally confronting
Ingratiation –using flattery, friendliness, politeness, humble etc.
Rationality – using logic, reason, planning & compromise
Exchange – doing favors or offering trade
Upward Appeal – making formal or informal appeals to org. superiors for intervention
Collation Formation – seeking united support from other org. members
Your bases for power might determine what tactics you use
Dependent on whom you are and whom your trying to influence
A particularly ineffective style is “shotgun: where focus on all tactics is high
Who Wants Power?
People who are high in McClelland’s N Pow in “pure” form conform to the negative stereotype of power
being a manifestation of evil – they are rude, sexually exploitative, abuse alcohol, and show great concern
w/ status symbol
When n Pow is controlled & responsible, negative properties aren’t observed
McClelland says the most effective managers
Have high n Pow
Use their powers to achieve e organizational goals
Adopt participative or “coaching” leadership style
Are relatively unconcerned w/ how much others like them
McClelland calls such managers institutional managers b/c they sue their power for the good of the
institution rather than for self-aggrandizement
They refrain from coercive leadership but don't ply favorites, since they are worried about being well
Good at giving subordinates a sense of responsibility, clarifying org. goals, and instilling team spirit
Power: the capacity to influence others who are in a state of dependence. A lot of people don"t use all their power. The target of power is dependent on the power holder but that doesn"t mean that a poor relationship exists between the 2. Power can flow from any direction in the org. Legitimate power: power derived from a person"s position or job in an org. It says who is formally permitted to influence whom and is often called authority. Members usually at higher levels have higher authority. When legitimate power works it does so b/c people have been socialized to accept its influence. Reward power: power derived from the ability to provide positive outcomes & prevent negative outcomes. Managers are given chance to recommend raises or do performance evaluations and assign preferred tasks to employees. Coercive power: power derived from the use of punishment and threat. Referent power: power derived from being well liked by others.