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Chapter 8

COMM 292: Chapter 8

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COMM 292
Angela Kelleher

COMM 292: Organizational Behaviour Chapter 8 A Definition of Power  Power: capacity that A has to influence the behaviour of B, so that B acts in accordance to A's wishes o There is potential for power if someone is dependent on another  Power is a function of dependency, the more dependency on a person, the more power a person holds  The IT group of larger organizations often have considerable power (from employees to the CEO) Bases of Power Coercive Power:  Power that is based on fear o One reacts to this power base out of fear of the negative results that might occur without compliance o Includes infliction of pain, restriction of movement, controlling by force, etc.  In organizations, coercive power includes firing people, or assigning employees to unpleasant work Reward Power:  power that achieves compliance based on the ability to distribute rewards that others view as valuable o In organizations this is money, performance appraisals, promotions, information, etc. o Do not have to be a manager to exert reward power Legitimate Power:  Power that a person receives as a result of their position in the hierarchy of an organization o Positions of authority include coercive and reward powers o Includes acceptance by members of an organization of the authority of a position Expert Power:  Influence based on special skills or knowledge o Relies on trust that all relevant information is given out honestly and completely o The more information that is shared, the less expert power a person has Referent Power:  Influence based on possession by an individual of desirable resources or personal traits  If people admire someone to the point of modelling their behaviour and attitudes, that person possess referent power over people Information Power:  Power that comes from access to an control over information o Data/knowledge that others need can make others depend on them COMM 292: Organizational Behaviour Evaluating the Bases of Power:  Commitment: person is enthusiastic about the request, and shows initial and persistence in carrying it out o Associated with expert and referent power  Compliance: person goes along with the request grudgingly, puts in minimal effort and takes little initiative carrying out the request o Associated with reward and legitimate power  Resistance: person is opposed to the request and tries to avoid it with such tactics as refusing, stalling or arguing about it o Associated with coercive power Dependency: The Key to Power The General Dependency Postulate:  When you possess anything that others require but that you alone control, you make them dependent on you, and therefore you gain power over them o The person who has the most need is the one most dependent on the relationship  The more options you have, the less power you place in the hands of others What Creates Dependency?  Dependency is increased when the resources you control is important, scarce, and cannot be substituted Importance:  To create dependency, the thing(s) that you control must be perceived as important o What is important is situational o Varies among organization and overtime within any given organization Scarcity:  A resource must be perceived as scarce to create dependency  Possession of a scarce resource make those who don't have it dependent on those who do Non-substitutability:  The fewer substitutes there are for a resource, the more power comes from control over the resource  People are often able to ask for special rewards because they have skills that others do not Influence Tactics  There are nine tactics managers and employees use to increase their power 1. Rational persuasion: using facts/data to make logical or rational presentation of ideas 2. Inspirational appeals: appealing to values, ideals, and goals when making a request 3. Consultation: getting others involved to support one's objectives 4. Ingratiation: using flattery, creating goodwill, and being friendly prior to making a request 5. Personal appeals: appealing to loyalty and friendship when asking for something 6. Exchange: offering favours or benefits in exchange for support 7. Coalitions: getting the support of other people to provide backing when making a request COMM 292: Organizational Behaviour 8. Pressure: using demands, threats, and reminders to get someone to do something 9. Legitimacy: claiming the authority or right to make a request, or showing that it supports organizational goals or policies  Rational persuasion, inspirational appeals, and consultation tend to be the most effective o Pressure often backfires and tends to be the least effective  Rational persuasion works across all levels of the organizational hierarchy  Better to begin with softer tactics and then rely on harder tactics  Political skill: the ability to influence others in such a way as to enhance one's objectives  The culture of the organization in which a person works will influence the best tactics to be used Empowerment: Giving Power to Employees  Movement towards sharing power with employees by putting them in teams and by making them responsible for some of the decisions regarding their job o Empowerment: increasing responsibility Definition of Empowerment:  The freedom and the ability of employees to make decisions and commitments o Delegating decision making within a set of clear boundaries  Empowerment can either start at the top or bottom of the organizational hierarchy o Top: specific goals and tasks would be assigned, responsibility would be delegated, and people would be held accountable for their results o Bottom: considering employee needs, showing them what empowered behaviour looks like, building teams, encouraging risk-taking, and demonstrating trust in employees ability to perform  Employees must be able to access information and carry out decisions o Must also understand how they fit into the organization Degrees of Empowerment:  Job content: the tasks and procedures necessary for carrying out a particular job  Job con
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