Power: If you want to use your power effectively, learnt about the other parry’s needs, interests, and goals. AllenR. Cohen. Power basically is the function of dependency which does not require goal compatibility. In the words of Max Weber: “Power is the probability that one actor within the relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance. ” “Power refers to a capacity that one has to influence the behavior of other so that other does something he or she would not otherwise do. ” According to Bass and Stogdill: In the words of Honore de Balzac: Power is not revealed by striking hard or often,but by striking true. ” BASES OF POWER Formal Power Personal Power Formal Power Formal power, also known as Positional power, emerges from the position that an individual holds in an organization. Thus, it is similar to authority that vests in a position. This may include to give rewards, to inflict punishment, and to share information with others. The position holder, depending on his style of working, may use the power to gain the control over others, of course, within the overall framework provided by the organization. Positional power may be of four types: Coercive Power Reward Power
Legitimate Power Coercive Power The coercive power base is dependent on fear. It rests upon the application or the threat of application of physical sanctions. In organizational situation, it may be in the form of action for or threat for dismissal, suspension, demotion, or other method of embarrassment for the people. Reward Power Reward power is opposite of coercive power. It is based on one’s control and allocation of material resources and rewards. This power is based on the old saying that ‘wealth is power’. In the organization situation, this power is based on the control of salaries, wages, commissions, fringe benefits, and amenities.
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Reward power may be in the form of normative power also. The symbolic rewards may be in the form of prestige, affection, esteem etc. Legitimate Power In formal groups and organizations, probably the most frequent access to one or more of the power bases is one’s structural position. This is called legitimate power. It represents the formal authority to control and use organizational resources. It commonly held values allowing one person to have power over another person. Such legitimacy may be either formal, as is the case with the organization, or may be informal, as is the case with social units.
In organizational setting, this legitimacy is in the form of authority, which is delegated to the positions of organizational members. Though a person may derive authority from other sources in the organization, the superior-subordinate relationship is enough to comply subordinates’ behavior as directed, particularly in bureaucratic organizations. Personal Power: For having power, you don’t need a formal position in an organization. Many of the most competent and productive chip designers in many organizations have power but they aren’t managers and have no formal power. What they have s personal power – power that comes form an individual’s unique characteristics. These qualities help him in persuading others to follow him willingly. Because of followers’ willingness, an individual with personal power often can inspire greater loyalty and dedication in followers than someone who has only positional power. Personal power may be of two types: Expert Power Referent Power Expert Power The influence of this power is based on the special skills or knowledge. Expertise has become one of the most powerful sources of influence as the world has become more technologically oriented.
Expert power is based on the famous proverb ‘knowledge is power’. Expert power is that influence which one wields as a result of one’s experience, special skill, or knowledge. This power occurs when the expert threatens to withhold his knowledge or skill. Since more organizations are gradually falling under the category of high technology; they will have to utilize the services of these individuals. Consequently, organizational choice of replacing these people will be limited. Since any person who is not easily replaceable has more power as compared to those who are easily replaceable, these people will have greater power over others.
Referent Power The influence of Reference Power is based on the possession by an individual of desirable resources or personal traits. It develops out of admiration of another and a desire to be like that person. One of the ways in which individuals acquire Referent Power is through Charisma. Referent power is based on identification. Identification is the process of learning wherein a person copies the behavior of other person whom he takes as an ideal. The target of the influence feels attracted towards the person having power because of his personality characteristics and tries to behave accordingly.
Then this becomes the basis of power exercise. Such identification process may take place without organizational context as most of the people take somebody as ideal and behave accordingly up to a certain stage. Which One Is Most Effective ? Interestingly, researches suggests pretty clearly that the Personal Sources of Power are more effective. Both Expert and Referent Power are Positively related to employees’ satisfaction with supervision, their organizational commitment and their performance where as Reward and Legitimate Power seem to be unrelated to these outcomes.
Moreover, one source of Formal Power- Coercive Power- actually can backfire in that it is negatively related to employee satisfaction and commitment. Organizations as social entities participate in power distribution in two ways: Structural Functional Structural Power Organization, structured on hierarchical basis, distributes power according to positions. Role in the hierarchy provides some important power attributes; the most significant being legitimacy. It is quite likely that legitimacy is a more dominant factor in power relationship.
Functional Power Organization through its assignment of functions has an important vehicle for allocating its power resources. The allocation of functions largely depends upon specialization and division of labour. Specialization creates a pattern of dependence in which each participant in a greater or lesser degree contributes to the organizational objectives. Specialization creates automatic dependence. Power, therefore, becomes the effect that the kind of performance, or failure to perform, has on the rest of the organization.
Thus, the nature of a function, particularly in terms of its criticality to the organization, will determine the power attached to it. Since various units and persons perform different types of functions in the organization, their power will be different. Tactics to gain power Legitimacy Relying on one’s authority position or stressing that a request is in accordance with organizational policies or rules. Rational Persuasion Presenting logical arguments and factual evidence to demonstrate that a request is reasonable. Inspirational Appeals Developing emotional commitment by appealing to a target’s values, needs, hopes and aspirations.
Consultation: Increasing the target’s motivation and support by involving him or her in deciding how the plan or change will be accomplished. Exchange: Rewarding the target with benefits or favors in exchange for following a request. Personal Appeals: Asking for compliance based on friendship or loyalty. Ingratiation: Using flattery, praise or friendly behaviour prior to making a request. Pressure: Using warnings, repeated demands and threats. Coalitions: Enlisting the aid of other people to persuade the target or using the support of others as a reason for the target to agree. Politics:
Ask someone their definition of politics and you will receive a wide variety of answers and usually only after a long pause as it is a difficult definition. Everyone has discussed politics in the work environment and yet most have not given any real thought to what it means What Exactly Politics Is The mere mention of politics inevitably invokes negative thoughts from most individuals. Politics seem to conjure up scheming plots and Borgia type conspirators preparing a plan do someone “in” utilizing other than “pleasant” methods. And indeed there are times that this is the way politics are played.
Defining Politics Politics can be best described as: A COMPETITION between competing interest groups or individuals for power or leadership in a government or group. The total complex of RELATIONS between people in a society. Concept of Politics: It can be observed that everyone plays some kind of politics at some point of time in the organization. We can find references that define politics as one or more of the following: self-serving behavior: acquisition of power, protection of ones own domain, building of support through group formation, or influence manoeuvring.
In all these cases, politics involves acquisition of power or be around power and engage in self-serving behavior. Therefore, politics can be referred to as actions for seizing, holding, extracting and executing of power by individuals and groups for achieving personal goals. Because of organizational politics, organizational decisions are affected in such a way that they contribute to personal goals rather than organizational goals. Organizational politics is an inescapable and intrinsic reality.
Organizational politics is so intricately woven with management system that relationships, norms, processes, performance and outcomes are hugely influenced and affected by it. Organizational politics defined Organizational politics can be described as self serving and manipulative behaviour of individuals and groups to promote their self interests at the resources, personal conflicts, competition for power and leadership and tactical influence executed by individuals and groups to attain power, building personal stature, controlling access to information, not revealing real intents, building coalitions etc.
Interplay between leadership, authority, influence and followers How organizational politics is related to leadership can be better understood from the fact that organizational leadership occurs in the context of groups, where followers are influenced by the leader to ensure their commitment and voluntary involvement towards predetermined outcomes. expense of others, and some times even organizational goals as well. Organizational politics in a company manifests itself through struggle for
Political climate of an organization is impacted by a leader through treatment and use of authority under different settings which is clearly visible during the acts of decision making, setting agenda and interaction with others to mobilize support, inspire teams and individuals and recognize people. This interplay between leaders and their authority & influence over the followers set the tone for political climate in an organization. Understanding of organizations’ political systems – key to success Understanding of organizations’ political systems is absolutely essential for leadership to maneuver the company towards the goals.
Internally grown leaders will have an advantage of knowledge of general political conditions prevailing in the company (different coalitions and centers of influence which can create buy in or create road blocks). Leaders from outside must put efforts to learn and understand the existing organizational politics through keen observation and focused interaction with different groups of people. Some of the indicators available for leaders to assess political climate is general job satisfaction levels, responsiveness to innovative ideas, efficacy of decision making machinery and speed of implementation of decisions.
Understanding is the key for leaders to exploit and smother organizational politics and also to enhance their own leadership credibility. Leveraging political understanding for advantage Leaders use political leverage available to them under different situations in order to promote the organizational interests. Once the understanding of organizational politics is gained leaders may use political leverage available to them under different situations in order to promote the organizational interests.
Leaders exploit organizational politics even to graduate to leadership positions as potential leaders with proper political orientation may: Time the opportunity to highlight their contribution Ensure top management support for difficult decisions or initiatives Make use of suitable persons (experts, consultants, experienced persons with right image etc. ) to put their point across Show respect for hierarchy in spite of the hurdles that it may create Also political acumen of leaders is put to test when dealing with aspects such as change management and crisis management.
In such situations leaders need to quickly identify the group which is going to support them and build a strong coalition with counter strategies backed by overwhelming facts and reasons before the war begins thereby preempting a war. Also crucial at these times is the choice of the persons made responsible to fight the war (change agents or crisis management team) and how critical support is made available to them through subtle changes in organization structure and resource allocation. Promoting progressive culture not politics Indisputably, leaders are source of power, influence and hence politics in an organization.
Since people have needs and leaders have the authority to fulfill these needs, those who fulfill the needs hold potential power. Leaders can to a great extent smother political climate having negative impact on the people attitudes and organization outcomes by aligning individual needs with organizational goals, in such a way that fulfillment of collective goals results in automatic fulfillment of individual needs also. Leaders must realize that organizational politics is a function of culture of trust in the organization, which is built through values of fairness and transparency.
Fair play, justice and transparency in procedures and processes is key in creating an environment where organizational politics take back seat and a progressive culture is established which gives prominence to organizational goals through voluntary involvement of individuals. In other words, leaders must inspire people into action by creating clarity and unity of purpose and build synergies through organizational values. It is extremely important for leaders to understand, exploit and smother the political climate in the company to maximize the organizational outcome and satisfaction levels of the people.
Reasons For Organizational Politics Organizational politics in a company manifests itself through Struggle for Resources Personal Conflicts Competition for Power and Leadership Ambiguity In Organization Tactical Influence Executed by Individuals and Groups to attain Power Building Personal Stature Controlling access to Information Not Revealing Real Intents Building Coalitions etc Discretionery Authority Subjective Evaluation In Performance Saturation In Promotion Joint Decision Making