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Chapter 7 Power and Politics

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

Power
A capacity to influence the behaviour of others It is a potential that need not be actually used It is also a function of dependency. If a person is dependent on another, then the other has power over the first Leaders use their power as a means to achieve a goal

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

5 Sources of Power
Coercive Power probably the most primitive source of power, but most often used, and most difficult to control.
It is a power that is dependent on fear

Reward Power the opposite of Coercive Power


People comply with the wishes of another because it produces positive benefits Reward can be offered in the form of financial, but also friendship, praise and acceptance (Maslows third level need)

Legitimate Power the power a person possesses as a result of their position in the organization

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

5 Sources of Power
Expert Power power possessed because of a specific knowledge, skill, expertise or experience an individual has
As the world has become more technical, this power source has grown

Referent power Power resulting to a person because of desirable characteristics or resources


It develops out of admiration for the power holder Celebrities endoursing a product in commercials are a prime example of leveraging this source of power

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

About the 5 Sources of Power


Of course, power is only given to the extent that the level of dependence is present
Individuals seek to minimize dependence by expanding their options (businesses source multiple suppliers and customers, individuals seek education to widen their attractiveness to prospective employers)

The least effective sources of power are Coercive, Legitimate and Reward Effective leaders leverage referent power and expert power.
These are more personal forms of power achieved through interrelations with others

Q: Which of these sources do you possess?


Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

7 Ways to Increase Your Power


Be reasonable use facts and data to build a position then reason from it Be friendly Create goodwill and good relations Build coalitions Get the support of others who possess a similar view point Bargain Negotiate for the exchange of benefits (to minimize dependency) Be assertive A little more directly forceful Seek higher authority support provides leverage Leverage sanctions use organizationally derived rewards or punishments and the threat of them to cause action
Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

Empowerment
Empowerment is the ability and freedom of employees to make decisions and commitments
To some degree, boundaries are set around where employees can make decisions, and empowerment seeks to expand them

Empowered employees exhibit 4 characteristics


Self-determination free to choose their work Sense of meaning feel their work is important Sense of competence confident in their ability to do the work Sense of impact believe they can influence their work unit, team or organization

Empowerment benefits management because


it reduces management work load Places decision making power in the hands of those often better equipped to make decisions Provides significant motivation and learning opportunities for employees
Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

Empowerment
Empowerment increases as employees or teams are given more power over their job context (reason for the job) and job content (tasks) Empowered employees are expected to act as owners of the business Levels of Empowerment
No discretion (usually for routine, low skilled jobs) Task setting employee can determine how the job gets done Participatory some decision making power over job context/content Mission defining groups set broad goals for a project Self-management Total decision making power

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

Coalitions
A coalition is an informal group bound together by the active pursuit of a single issue Successful coalitions contain fluid membership and act swiftly to achieve their goals Coalitions will seek to maximize their size and are more likely to be created when there is a resource shortage or dependence Coalitions tend to be created when tasks are routine as well

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

Abuse of Power
Harassment the abuse of a power position Great examples of abuse of power are in the recent Nortel, Enron and WorldCom cases.
Executives abused their ability to affect perceived organizational performance through the use of financial reporting tools

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature in the workplace that negatively affects the work environment or leads to adverse job related consequences for employees

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

Politics
Politics is present when employees convert their power into action Political behaviour is that activity that attempt to influence the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within an organization It becomes most notable when it is outside the actors direct job responsibility Q: How political is your place of work? Why?

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

Why do politics exist?


Organizations are made up of people with differing values, goals and interests Resources are limited which causes action to resolve the shortage resulting in conflict Facts used to allocate resources are open to interpretation.
Tainting the facts, or concentrating on those facts that support an individuals needs is possible in a world where there is always ambiguity An example of limited resources are promotions (assuming there is limited opportunities for promotion)

The less trust there is in an organization, the more politics Unclear performance evaluations promote politics
Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

Rules for Politics


Fast Company Magazines Rules for Politics:
Nobody wins unless everybody wins (well discuss why next chapter) Dont just ask for opinions, change them Everybody expects to be paid back Success can create opposition (what goes around comes around)

Chapter 8

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP

Organizational Behaviour Dave Ludwick, P.Eng, MBA, PMP