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Chapter 15 Power and Political Behavior

Learning Goals
Describe the nature of power in organizations and ways to build power Discuss the relationship between power and politics in organizations Describe the bases of power and ways of building power in organizations Understand political strategies and political tactics

Learning Goals (Cont.)


Do a political diagnosis Describe international differences in political behavior in organizations Discuss the ethical issues surrounding organizational politics

Chapter Overview
Introduction Power Political behavior International aspects of political behavior in organizations Ethical issues about political behavior in organizations

Introduction
How do you perceive power?

Power
Dark and gloomy? Bright and cheery?

Introduction (Cont.)
How do you perceive political behavior?

Political Behavior

Introduction (Cont.)
Political behavior pervades organizational life Focuses on developing and using power in an organization Often gives power to people who do not have it from their organizational position

Power
Power: ability to get something done the way a person wants it done Includes the ability to gather physical and human resources and put them to work to reach a goal Essential to leadership and management functions

Power (Cont.)
More than dominance: a capacity to get something done in an organization Central feature of political behavior Unavoidable presence in organizations

Power (Cont.)
Facets of power
Potential power: one party perceives another party as having power and the ability to use it Actual power: the presence and use of power Potential for power: person or group has control of resources from which to build power

Power (Cont.)
Power relationships: moments of social interaction where power manifests itself Dimensions of power relationships
Relational: social interaction between people and groups Dependence
Reliance of one party on another party High power when valued results not available elsewhere

Sanctioning: use of rewards or penalties

Power (Cont.)
Power and authority
Different concepts although a person can have both Authority usually flows from a persons position in an organization Power can accrue to people at any level

Power (Cont.)
Power flows Reporting relationships Lateral relationships

Cross-functional relationships

Power (Cont.)
Power dynamics
Dynamic not static; rises and falls for people and groups Shifts in environment can change power of person or group
Marketing: successful product--power goes up; lose market share--power goes down Technology: as it increases in importance, people who know it become more powerful. The opposite happens as importance of technology drops

Bases of Power
Bases of power: aspects of formal management position and personal characteristics
Organizational bases of power: sources of power in formal management position Personal bases of power: sources of power in a managers personal characteristics

Accumulate to a total power base


See text book Figure 15.1

Bases of Power (Cont.)


Organizational bases of power
Legitimate power
Derives from position Decision authority

Reward power
Tie positive results to a persons behavior Organizations reward system and policies

Bases of Power (Cont.)


Organizational bases of power (cont.)
Coercive power
Tie negative results to a persons behavior Organizations reward system and policies

Information power
Information control Information distribution

Bases of Power (Cont.)


Organizational bases of power (cont.)
All management positions have some organizational basis of power Minimally have legitimate power Reward and coercive power depend on organizational policies about rewards and sanctions Assume the power in the position but it stays after person leaves the position

Bases of Power (Cont.)


Personal bases of power
Referent power: positive feelings about the leader. Related to charisma Expert power: technical knowledge and expertise Flow from the attributes and qualities of the person Strongly affected by attribution processes

Power, Leadership, and Management


Essential to leadership and management Much more than dominance Capacity to get things done

Power, Leadership, and Management (Cont.)


Behavior of powerful leaders and managers
Delegate decision authority See peoples talents as a resource Can change peoples working conditions Get resources and information for work group Take risks

Power, Leadership, and Management (Cont.)


Behavior of powerful leaders and managers (cont.)
Press for innovations Share power widely Help develop people

Results Highly effective Increases total power of the work group Increases peoples promotion opportunities

Power, Leadership, and Management (Cont.)


Behavior of powerless leaders and managers
Supervise closely Do not delegate decision authority Often distrust subordinates See peoples talents as a threat Stick to the rules

Power, Leadership, and Management (Cont.)


Behavior of powerless leaders and managers (cont.)
Do not take risks Strongly focus on the work Protect his or her territory Results
Ineffective Low total power of work group Decreases peoples promotion opportunities

Power, Leadership, and Management (Cont.) Which do you prefer: powerful or powerless leader or manager?

Building Power
Six major sources of power Sources are related to bases of power described earlier Political diagnosis, described later, is an important step in building power

Building Power (Cont.)


Knowledge, skill, reputation, professional credibility (expert and information power) Political network
Formal or informal Often based on position in a communication channel Important in lateral relationships

Create perception of dependence: control of scarce resources

Building Power (Cont.)


Work activities (legitimate power)
Extraordinary Visible Successful at high-risk activities

Charisma (referent power). Especially important in lateral relationships

Building Power (Cont.)


Power base of the work unit
Coping with uncertainty Unique function Changes in external environment Centrality in work flow
Human resource management departments that become expert in affirmative action, equal employment opportunity, and workforce diversity can increase their power.

Attribution of Power
Ascribing power to people at any level May not be same as actual power Attribution based on
Personal characteristics Context of the person

Attribution of Power (Cont.)


Personal characteristics
Formal position: status and authority Technical knowledge Central position in a communication network

Context of the person


Physical context Group or project membership Member of a coalition

Political Behavior
Getting, developing, and using power to reach a desired result Often appears in situations of uncertainty or conflict over choices Often happens outside accepted channels of authority

Political Behavior (Cont.)


Unofficial, unsanctioned behavior to reach a goal Build bases of power Use political behavior
Affect decisions Get scarce resources Earn cooperation of people outside direct authority

Political Behavior (Cont.)


Ebbs and flows with the dynamics of power Two characteristics: power and influence Directed at reaching organizational goals or individual goals Plays an important role in lateral relationships Rarely have formal authority in such relationships

Political Behavior (Cont.)


Characteristics of political processes

Power

Political process

Influence

Political Behavior (Cont.)


Political behavior and lateral relationships
Line-staff
Many entry positions Marketing Human resource management Information systems

Competition for resources: money, people, equipment, office space Interdependence in work flow. Especially modern manufacturing

Political Maneuvering in Organizations


Political maneuvering
Political strategy
Plan to reach a goal using specific political tactics Goal: organizational or personal

Political tactics
Builds power base Uses power

Political Maneuvering in Organizations (Cont.)


Political strategy
Specifies combinations and sequences of political tactics Includes plan for responding to changes in the political context People at all levels can develop and use a political strategy Not written; usually tacit

Political Maneuvering in Organizations (Cont.)


Political strategy (cont.)
Used in
Resource allocation Choice of senior managers Career decisions Performance appraisals Pay increase decisions

Political Maneuvering in Organizations (Cont.)


Political tactics
Decision making processes
Selectively emphasize decision alternatives Influence decision process in favor of self or work unit

Use outside expert or consultant. Power is equal but wants to shift another level Control the decision making agenda: often done when person does not want change

Political Maneuvering in Organizations (Cont.)


Political tactics (cont.)
Build coalitions
Form around people inside and outside the organization Those believed important to persons position

Co-optation: get support by putting possible opponents on a task force or advisory board

Political Diagnosis
Help understand the loci of power Identify type of political behavior likely to happen in an organization Usually done unobtrusively by observing behavior and making subtle inquiries

Political Diagnosis (Cont.)


Areas of diagnosis
Individuals
Identify powerful people and politically active people Assess amounts of power Assess ways they likely will use their power Assess their political skills

Political Diagnosis (Cont.)


Areas of diagnosis (cont.)
Coalitions
Alliance of people who share a common goal Widely dispersed in organization Try to affect decisions

Political Diagnosis (Cont.)


Areas of diagnosis (cont.)
Political networks
Affiliations, alliances, coalitions Control information flow and resources Identify major influences in the network

The Dark Side of Organizational Politics


Deception Organizational politics Lying

Intimidation

The Dark Side of Organizational Politics (Cont.)


Deception
See the Machiavelli quotation on page 293 Trick another party into picking wrong decision alternative Personal goals more important than organizational goals
Manager does not want change and asks for an endless series of studies

The Dark Side of Organizational Politics (Cont.)


Lying
Intentional misstatement of the truth Trying to mislead other party Distorts information in favor of the liar Can have long-term negative effects if discovered
There will be no layoffs.

The Dark Side of Organizational Politics (Cont.)


Intimidation
Direct or indirect pressures on a person by someone with power over the person Restrict communication of person with others Isolate from others Includes sexual harassment of anyone
Imply withholding a promotion unless . . .

International Aspects of Political Behavior in Organizations


People from different cultures hold different beliefs about power and power relationships Some cultures see a directive and autocratic use of power as correct Other cultures define a consultative or democratic approach as correct Different individuals within those cultures have different beliefs about power relationships

International Aspects of Political Behavior in Organizations (Cont.)


The Philippines, Mexico, India, Singapore, Hong Kong: value a directive use of power Workers ascribe power to a directive manager and weakness to a consultative one Consultative-oriented managers at a disadvantage in power-directive cultures

International Aspects of Political Behavior in Organizations (Cont.)


Scandinavian countries, Israel, Switzerland, Austria, and New Zealand
Expect managers to involve workers in decision-making process Directive manager would not be well accepted by workers in Scandinavian organizations Manager has high power in home culture; little power in Scandinavian cultures

International Aspects of Political Behavior in Organizations (Cont.)


Cultural orientation to uncertainty and power
Workers in Greece and France expect managers to maintain low levels of uncertainty Manager who cannot keep uncertainty low has little power and influence over his workers Workers in Denmark and the United States have higher tolerance for uncertainty

International Aspects of Political Behavior in Organizations (Cont.)


Cultural orientation to uncertainty and power (cont.)
Nonmanagers in those countries expect managers to make risky decisions Ascribe high power to risk-taking managers; low power to those who avoid risk Degree of power ascribed to managers affects their ability to affect others with political tactics

International Aspects of Political Behavior in Organizations (Cont.)


Individualistic orientation and power
High individualistic: United States, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, the Netherlands Low individualistic
Many South American countries Value family ties and conformity to social norms South American workers expect managers to look after them Managers who show interest in subordinates' private lives enjoy high power

Ethical Issues About Political Behavior in Organizations


Utilitarian view: using power and political behavior to serve only one's self-interest is unethical Political behavior that uses excessive organizational resources to reach a personal goal is also unethical

Ethical Issues About Political Behavior in Organizations (Cont.)


Suggest any political strategy is unethical
Does not serve goals of the organization or A larger group of people than the single political actor
Ignoring equipment maintenance to push products through a manufacturing process for personal gain is behaving unethically

Ethical Issues About Political Behavior in Organizations (Cont.)


Using power and political behavior that violates another person's rights is unethical A political tactic such as co-optation can violate others' rights Co-opted individual, unless he or she understands the goal of the political actor, has not consented to such influence

Ethical Issues About Political Behavior in Organizations (Cont.)


Sense of justice strongly argues for fair treatment Giving preferential treatment to someone to build a sense of obligation is unethical

Ethical Issues About Political Behavior in Organizations (Cont.)


Guidelines for ethical political behavior
Distinguishes organizational statesmanship from "dirty politics" Behavior should serve people outside the organization, beyond the single political actor Individuals should clearly know intent of actor; give free consent to be influenced

Ethical Issues About Political Behavior in Organizations (Cont.)


Guidelines (cont.)
Right of due process should not be violated while the political behavior unfolds Administration of policies should allow fair treatment of all affected people