Article Summary : Power Failure in Management Circuits – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

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Power Failure in Management Circuits – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

This article discusses the effect that power has at different levels of an organization. Power is derived from three “lines”:

1. Lines of Supply
2. Lines of Information
3. Lines of Support

Power is best cultivated in positions in which the employees have discretion, recognition, and relevance. Access to higher level organizational leaders, peer networks, and subordinates who are capable of ably assisting managers in their duties also foster power.

The authors identify three levels of organizations and discuss some problems inherent in the position that lead to powerlessness and organizational problems.

1. First line Supervisors

* Primary point of contact for most employees
* Determine the average employee’s relationship with work * Position creates powerlessness by being caught between upper management and the workers * Stagnant in their careers, subordinates know that they do not have access to upper management * Made to enforce rules and regulations but limited in resources and actions that they can take 2. Staff Professionals

* Nothing to exchange for resources, nothing to bargain with to promote their programs * Not seen as candidates for development by management
*
3. Top Executives

* Lose sight of long-term objectives
* Need to be insulated, but must be careful not to be too insulated from day to day operations

Particular issues regarding women and power were also discussed. The author notes how women, when they exhibit the same issues of powerlessness as men, it is perceived as being because they are women, not because it is their particular individual or management style as it is when men exhibit the same characteristics.

The authors suggest sharing power in an organization allows power to grow. The authors suggest that instead of criticizing powerless individuals, structural solutions should be implemented,...
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