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Chapter Nine

Power and Politics

McGraw-Hill/Irwin

2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Learning Objectives
Define power and its relationship to authority and influence. Identify the various classifications of power. Discuss the contingency approach to power. Describe the empowerment of employees. Relate the political implications of power. Present some political strategies for power acquisition in modern organizations.

Introduction
Power and politics important dynamics in organizational behavior
Power related to authority and influence Political strategies used to acquire power

Meaning of Power
Ability to get an individual or group to do something Distinctions among power, authority, and influence
Power as observed influence or potential to influence Authority legitimates and is a source of power Influence ability to alter others in general ways

Meaning of Power
Continued

Classifications of power
Reward power Coercive power Legitimate power Referent power Expert power

Meaning of Power
Continued

Contingency approaches to power


Influenceability of the targets of power
Dependency Uncertainty Personality Intelligence Gender Age Culture

Meaning of Power
Continued

Contingency approaches to power (continued)


An overall contingency model for power

Meaning of Power
Continued

Two faces of power


Positive power Negative power

Special Case of Empowerment


Complexity of empowerment
Innovation implications Access to Information Accountability and responsibility

Putting empowerment into action


Two common approaches are:
Kaizen and just do it principles (JDIT) Trust building

Political Implications of Power


Political perspective of power in organizations
Areas relevant to politics
Resources Decisions Goals Technology and external environment Change

Political Implications of Power


Continued

Specific political strategies for power acquisition

Political Implications of Power


Continued

Political tactics

Political Implications of Power


Continued

Strategies for power acquisition (continued)


Maintain alliances with powerful people Embrace or demolish Divide and rule Manipulate classified information Make a quick showing Collect and use IOUs Avoid decisive engagement (Fabianism)

Political Implications of Power


Continued

Strategies for power acquisition (continued)


Attacking and blaming others Progress one step at a time Wait for a crisis Take council with caution Be aware of resource dependence

Political Implications of Power


Continued

Final word on power and politics


Guidelines to overcome negative impact:
Keep lines of communication open Role-model ethical and nonpolitical behaviors Be wary of game players acting only in their own self-interests Protect individual privacy interests Always use the value judgment Is this fair?

Questions