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Chapter 12

MGHB02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Scapegoating, Job Satisfaction, Extraversion And Introversion


Department
Management (MGH)
Course Code
MGHB02H3
Professor
Julie Mc Carthy
Chapter
12

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Questions and Exercises prepared by Alan Saks.
I. What Is Power?
Power is the capacity to influence others who are in a state of dependence. This does not necessarily
imply that a poor relationship exists between the power holder and the target, as most friendships
involve reciprocal influence processes.
Power can flow in any direction in an organization, although members at higher levels typically have
more power. Power is a broad concept that applies to individuals as well as to groups.
II. The 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. Legitimate power is dependent on one's position or job. The other bases (reward, coercion,
referent, and expert power) involve the control of important resources.
A. Legitimate Power
Legitimate power derives from a person's position or job in the organization. It constitutes the
organization's judgment about who is formally permitted to influence whom, and it is often called
authority. As we move up the organization's hierarchy, we find that members possess more and more
legitimate power. Legitimate power works because people have been socialized to accept its influence.
Even across various cultures, employees cite legitimate power as a major reason for following their
boss's directions.
B. Reward Power
Reward power exists when the power holder can exert influence by providing positive outcomes and
p
reventing negative outcomes. It corresponds to the concept of positive reinforcement. It is often used to
back up legitimate power.
C. Coercive Power
Coercive power is available when the power holder can exert influence by the use of punishment and
threat. Although it too is employed as a support for legitimate power, its use by managers is generally
ineffective and can provoke employee resistance.
D. Referent Power
Referent power exists when the power holder is well liked by others. It is potent because it stems from
identification with the power holder and represents a truer or deeper base of power than reward or
coercion. Second, anyone in the organization may possess referent power.
E. Expert Power
Expert power is derived from having special information or expertise that is valued by an organization.
This power can be obtained by lower-level organizational members and is especially likely to exist for
those members in scientific and technical areas. Of all the bases of power, expertise is most consistently
associated with emplo
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ee effectiveness. Emplo
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ees perceive women mana
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than male
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managers to be high on expert power.
Employees will respond differently to the bases of power. Coercion is likely to produce resistance and
lack of cooperation. Legitimate power and reward power are likely to produce compliance with the
boss’s wishes. Referent and expert power are most likely to generate true commitment and enthusiasm
for the manager’s agenda. </PARA>
III. How Do People Obtain Power?
People get power by doing the right things and cultivating the right people.
A. Doing the Right Things
Activities lead to power when they are extraordinary, highly visible, and especially relevant to the
solution of organizational problems.
Extraordinary Activities. Excellent performance in unusual or nonroutine activities is required to obtain
p
ower. Such activities include occupying new positions, managing substantial changes, and taking great
risks.
Visible Activities. Extraordinary activities will fail to generate power if no one knows about them.
Therefore, people who seek power must try to publicize their efforts and ensure that they are visible.
Relevant Activities. Extraordinary, visible work may fail to generate power if no one cares. Activities
must be relevant to the needs of the organization for power to accrue. Therefore, being in the right place
at the right time and doing the right things are important in the effort to gain power.
B. Cultivating the Right People
To obtain power, one must develop informal relationships with the right people. The right people can
include organizational subordinates, peers, and superiors as well as crucial outsiders.
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. Subordinates can also provide power when a manager can demonstrate that he or she is
backed by a cohesive team.
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. As one moves up through the ranks, favours can be asked of
former associates.
Superiors. Liaisons with key superiors probably represent the best way of obtaining power through
cultivating others. Mentors, for example, can provide special information and useful introductions to
other "right people."
IV. Empowerment – Putting Power Where It Is Needed
Power need not be seen as somethin
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b
ottom of the organization if it is largely held at the top. Empowerment gives people the authority,
opportunity, and motivation to take initiative and solve organizational problems. Authority comes from
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ushing legitimate power down to lower levels so that decisions can be made by those with the
information to make them. Opportunity means freedom from bureaucratic barriers and any relevant
training and information about the impact of one's actions on other parts of the organization. The
motivation part of empowerment works when people are intrinsically motivated by power and
opportunity and see their rewards linked to their 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." Empowering lower-level employees can be critical in service organizations, where providing
customers with a good initial encounter or correcting any problems that develop can be essential for
repeat business. There is also growing evidence that empowerment fosters job satisfaction and high
p
erformance. Used properly, empowerment puts power where it is needed to make the organization
effective.
V. Influence Tactics-Putting Power to Work
Power is the potential to influence others. Influence tactics are tactics that are used to convert power
into actual influence over others. These tactics include assertiveness, ingratiation, rationality, exchange,
upward appeal, and coalition formation. Which tactics are used may be influenced by the power bases of
the individual exercising power and who you are trying to influence. Men using rationality as an
influence tactic received better performance evaluations, earned more money, and experienced less work
stress. A particularly ineffective influence style is a "shotgun" style that is high on all tactics with
articular emphasis on assertiveness and exchange.
VI. Who Wants Power?
The old concepts of power seekers were that they were neurotics covering up feelings of inferiority;
striving to compensate for childhood deprivation; and substituting power for lack of affection. There is
little doubt that these characteristics do apply to some power seekers and some seek it for its own sake
and use it irresponsibly.
According to psychologist David McClelland, power can also be used responsibly to influence others.
N
eed for power is the need to have strong influence over others. It is a reliable personality characteristic.
Some individuals have a need for power which can make them effective managers when used in a
responsible and controlled manner. In addition to having a high need for power, they use their power to
achieve organizational goals; they adopt a participative or "coaching" leadership style; and they are
relatively unconcerned with how much others like them.
McClelland calls these managers institutional managers because they use their power for the good of the
institution. He stresses the greater effectiveness of these managers compared to personal power
managers, who use their power for personal gain, and affiliative managers, who are more concerned
with being liked than with exercising power.
VII. Controlling Strategic Contingencies - How Subunits Obtain Power
Subunit power is the degree of power held by various organizational subunits, such as departments.
They obtain this power through the control of strategic contingencies, which are critical factors
affecting organizational effectiveness that are controlled by a key subunit. This means that the work
p
erformed b
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other subunits is contin
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subunit. A
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