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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 BU288.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Ping Zhang

BU288 Chapter 12 – Power, Politics, and Ethics Week 11 What is Power? -Power – the capacity to influence others who are in a state of dependence -Power is the capacity to influence the behaviour of others -Power is not always perceived or exercised -The target or power is dependent on the power holder does not imply that a poor relationship exists between the two -Power can flow in any direction inn an organization -Power is a broad concept that applies to both individuals and groups 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 commence -Legitimate power is dependent on one’s position or job -The other bases (reward, coercive, referent, and expert power) involve the control of important resources -If other organizational members do not respect your position or value the resources you command, they will not be dependent on you, and you will lack the power to influence them Legitimate Power -Legitimate power – power derived from a person’s position or job in an organization -Formally permitted to influence who, an it often called authority -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 -Can often back up legitimate power -Managers are given the change 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 -A support for legitimate power -Managers might be permitted to dock pay, assign unfavourable tasks, or block promotions -When managers use coercive power, it is generally ineffective and can provoke considerable employee Referent Power -Referent power – power derived from being well liked by others -We are prone to consider their points of view, ignore their failures, seek their approval, and use them as role models Expert Power -Expert power – power derived from having special information or expertise that is valued by an organization -We tend to be influenced by experts or by those who perform their jobs well BU288 Chapter 12 – Power, Politics, and Ethics Week 11 -Expert power corresponds to difficulty of replacement -It is a valuable asset for managers How do People Obtain Power? Doing the Right Things -Activities lead to power when they are extraordinary, highly visible, and especially relevant to the solution or organizational problems Extraordinary Activities -Ex. 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 -People who have an interest in power are especially good at identifying visible activities and publicizing them Relevant Activities -If nobody sees the work as revenant to the solution of important organizational problems, it will not add to one’s influence Cultivating the Right People -Developing informal relationships with the right people can prove a useful means of acquiring power Outsiders -Establishing good relationships with key people outside one’s organization can lead to increased power within the organization -It may add to one’s internal influence Subordinates -An individual can gain influence if she is closely identified with certain up-and-coming subordinated -Cultivating subordinate interests 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 manly a means of ensuring that nothing gets in the way of one’s future acquisition of power -People often avoid contact with peers whose reputation is seen as questionable Superiors -Liaisons with key superiors probably represent the best way of obtaining power through cultivating others -Mentors can provide power in several ways -It is useful to be identified as a protégé of someone higher in the organization -Mentors can introduce you to the “right people” BU288 Chapter 12 – Power, Politics, and Ethics Week 11 Empowerment – Putting Power Where it is Needed -Empowerment – giving people the authority, opportunity, and motivation to take initiative and solve organizational problems -Having the authority to solve an organizational problem means having legitimate power -Having opportunity means freedom from bureaucratic barriers and other system problems that block initiative -The motivation part of the empowerment equation suggests hiring people who will be intrinsically motivated by power and opportunity and aligning extrinsic rewards with successful performance -Leaders who express confidence in subordinates’ abilities can contribute to empowerment -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” -Empowerment fosters job satisfaction and high performance -Empowerment puts power where it is needed to make the organization effective -People are empowered and should exhibit effective performance when they have sufficient power to carry out their jobs -Excessive power can lead to abuse and ineffective performance Influence Tactics – Putting Power to Work -Influence tactics – tactics that are used to convert power into actual influence over others -These tactics include: -Assertiveness – ordering, nagging, setting deadlines, verbally confronting -Ingratiation – using flattery and acting friendly, polite, or humble -Rationality - using logic, reason, planning and compromise -Exchange – doing favours or offering to trade favours -Upward appeal – making formal or informal appeals to organizational superiors for intervention -Coalition formation – seeking united support from other organizational members -The use of influence tactics is dependent on whom you are trying to influence – subordinates, peers, or superiors Who Want Power? -The need for power is the need to have strong influence over others -Most effective managers: -Have a high need for power -Use their power to achieve organizational goals -Adopt a participative or “coaching” leadership style -Are relatively unconcerned with how much others like them -These managers are called institutional managers because they use their power for the good of the institution rather than for self-aggrandi
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