Module 5 Case
Organizations as Political Systems
Leaders in an Organization must have the pulse of the organization and fully understand the Politics and culture within their organization to be able to effectively lead and know which style of leadership to apply in a various array of situations.
In the Clement article he discusses 3 main topics. First is the importance of dealing with organizational culture. His key point is that management must work within the existing culture to transform the organization. The important objective is to improve the company, not necessarily change the culture. His second topic is the role of leadership in organizational change. He discusses the role of leadership in dealing with culture and the leadership styles that may be required. Lastly he discusses the consideration of organizational power, and the related topic of politics, in organizational change. In the three companies that he conducts analysis on two of them received outside pressure of board members to make a change and bring in new top management teams. Their new interactions and relationships both inside and outside the organization appear to be what was needed to turn those companies around.
Leadership is a tough business and politics both internal and external to an organization add an extra challenge. (Ratzburg, 2002) “Politics is a means of recognizing and, ultimately, reconciling competing interests within the organization. Competing interests can be reconciled by any number of means. For example, resorting to "rule by the manager" might be seen as an example of totalitarian rule. On the other hand, politics may be a means of creating a non-coercive, or a democratic work environment. According to Aristotle, politics stems from a diversity of interests. To fully understand the politics of the organization, it is necessary to explore the processes by which people engage in politics. Consistent with Aristotle's conceptualization, it is a given that, within the organization, all employees bring their own interests, wants, desires, and needs to the workplace. The successful practice of organizational politics is perceived to lead to a higher level of power, and once a higher level of power is attained, there is more opportunity to engage in political behavior. Common Influence (Political) Tactics are identified a series of common influence tactics and listed them from most effective to least effective: * rational persuasion -- logical arguments and factual evidence * inspirational appeal -- arousal of enthusiasm by appealing to values * consultation -- seeking participation in planning
* ingratiation --
* exchange -- offering an exchange of favors
* personal appeal -- appeals to feelings of loyalty or friendship * coalition -- seeking the aid of others
* legitimating -- pointing to organizational policies, rules practices, or traditions * pressure -- demands, threats, persistent reminders”
Politics and power can both be used in positive ways. Coercion may occasionally be needed to influence those who refuse to support change. Communication and collaboration can often enable political activities of a positive nature, especially if the organizational culture has been considered and the leader of the cultural change effort was effective in influencing positive change. (CLEMENT, 1994) “Those attempting to implement change should study the history of the organization and its relationships with its various stakeholders, including those beyond its boundaries. Only in this way can change advocates understand the observable but misleading "facts" and uncover the real systems of meaning to which managers and employees subscribe. Any discussion of organizational power needs to consider the closely related topic of organizational politics. Politics is power in action; it involves acquiring, developing, and using power to achieve one's objectives. Because change...
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