Chapter 12 Notes

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Published on 1 Jun 2011
Management (MGH)
Chapter 12 Power, Politics, and Ethics Notes
What is Power?
power the capacity to influence others who are in a state of dependence
first, notice that power is the capacity to influence the behaviour of others
second, fact that target of power is dependent on power holder does not imply that poor relationship exists between two
third, power can flow in an direction in an organization
finally, power is a broad concept that applies to both individuals and groups
The Bases of Individual Power
Legitimate Power
legitimate power power derived from a person’s position or job in an organization
it constitutes the organization’s judgment about who is formally permitted to influence whom, and it is often called authority
in theory, organizational equals have equal legitimate power
organizations differ greatly in the extent to which they emphasize and reinforce legitimate power
when legitimate power works, it often does so because people have been socialized to accept its influence
Reward Power
reward power power derived from the ability to provide positive outcomes and prevent negative outcomes
reward power often backs up legitimate power; that is, managers are given the chance to recommend raises, do performance
evaluations, and assign preferred tasks to employees
Coercive Power
coercive power power derived from the use of punishment and threat
it is a support for legitimate power; managers might be permitted to dock pay, assign unfavourable tasks, or block promotions
of course, coercive power is not perfectly correlated with legitimate power
Referent Power
referent power power derived from being well liked by others
referent power is especially potent for 2 reasons—(1) it stems from identification with the power holder; and (2) anyone in the
organization may be well liked, irrespective of his or her other bases of power
interpersonal relations permit influence to extend across firm, outside channels of legitimate authority, reward, and coercion
Expert Power
expert power power derived from having special information or expertise that is valued by an organization
the more crucial and unusual this expertise, the greater is the expert power available
one of the most fascinating aspects of expert power occurs when lower-level organizational members accrue it
of all the bases of power, expertise is most consistently associated with employee effectiveness
How Do People Obtain Power?
Doing the Right Things
activities lead to power when they are extraordinary, highly visible, and mainly relevant to solution of organizational problems
what one needs is excellent performance in unusual or non-routine activities
extraordinary activities will fail to generate power if no one knows about them
people who have an interest in power are especially good at identifying visible activities and publicizing them
extraordinary, visible work may fail to generate power if no one cares
if nobody sees the work as relevant to the solution of important organizational problems, it will not add to one’s influence
Cultivating the Right People
establishing good relationships with key people outside one’s organization can lead to increased power within the organization
sometimes this power is merely a reflection of the status of the outsider, but, all the same, it may add to one’s internal influence
an individual can gain influence if she is closely identified with certain up-and-coming subordinates
cultivating subordinate interests can provide power when a manager can demonstrate that he or she is backed by a cohesive team
cultivating good relationships with peers is a means of ensuring that nothing gets in the way of one’s future acquisition of power
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
in practice, having the authority to solve an organizational problem means having legitimate power
having opportunity usually means freedom from bureaucratic barriers and other system problems that block initiative
opportunity also includes any relevant training and information about the impact of one’s actions on other parts of the firm
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Document Summary

Power is the capacity to influence others who are in a state of dependence. People have power by virtue of their position in the organization (legitimate power) or by virtue of the resources that they command (reward, coercion, friendship, or expertise). People can obtain power by doing the right things and cultivating the right people. Activities that lead to power acquisition need to be extraordinary, visible, and relevant to the needs of the organization. People to cultivate include outsiders, subordinates, peers, and superiors. Empowerment means giving people the authority, opportunity, and motivation to solve organizational problems. Power is thus located where it is needed to give employees the feeling that they are capable of doing their jobs well. Influence tactics are interpersonal strategies that convert power into influence. They include assertiveness, ingratiation, rationality, exchange, upward appeal, and coalition formation. Rationality (logic, reason, planning, compromise) is generally the most efficient tactic. Effective managers often have a high need for power.