Organizational Behaviour- Power

Topics: Power, Organization Pages: 10 (3360 words) Published: March 27, 2013
1) Discuss the strategies that may be used by people to develop power within an organization [25 marks] 2) Why is it important to understand how power is lost? [13] 3) How can power be productively used in an organization? [12]

1) In organizational behavior, power is the ability to get someone to do something you want done or the ability to make things happen the way you want Schermerhon, Hunt and Osborn (1982:85). The essence of power is control over the behavior of others. When one has power they influence the behavior of people, as such power is the bases of influence. The more the power one holds in an organization, the more they are able to influence other people and the behavior in the organization. As a result, people spend most of their time developing both moral and immoral strategies to gain more power and some of the strategies are as follows;

People may try to develop power by expanding their knowledge. This can be achieved by going to college or university, taking all the training and educational programs that their organizations provides, attending meetings of their profession association and reading their profession association`s publications (magazines and journals) to keep up with current trends in their field. This leads to the development of expert power in the organization. In order to gain more power, people may also try to keep up with the latest technology. They may volunteer to be the first to try or learn new things. They also try by all means to let people know about their expertise because according to Lussier and Achua (2010; 116), a person has no expert power unless others perceive that the person has an expertise and they come to that person for advice. As a result a person may need to display diplomas, degrees, licenses, publications and awards.

The strategy above seems to be the most common and effective strategy being used by many people nowadays to develop power within organizations. For example, some of NUST`s parallel and block release students are trying to expand their knowledge so that they can acquire more power. If a manager, for instance, has knowledge or skills that are both critical to the work and difficult to replace, then he/she can parlay that expertise into influence. This situation is clearly portrayed in a quote by Sir Francis Bacon “knowledge is power”. Here, the bases of the influencer`s power is their own knowledge and ability to communicate the information. However according to Buchanan and Huczynski (1997; 695), if the information and logic presented are challenged or are suspected, then the strategy is weakened.

Furthermore, one does not necessarily have to be an expert in order to have expert power. It is very important for a person to be able to apply that expertise into action. In other words a person should know how to apply his knowledge in certain circumstances in order to develop power. Subordinates tend to be loyal and respect their manager if they think he/she is technically able.

Another strategy that may be used by people to develop power within an organization is by having data required by others. A person may have access to very important information and control over its distribution to others. This may include the intentional withholding or distortion of information required by others to meet one`s objectives. Distortion of information includes selective editing to promote only his/her position, giving biased interpretation of data and even presenting false information to obscure an unfavorable situation (Kreitner and Kinicki, 1982; 362)

In relation to the above facts, Gibson, Ivancevich and Donnely (1994; 377) says “having access to relevant and important information gives power….a person`s power may be weakened by sharing too much information, for it reduces his relative share of his valuable commodity. A true picture of a person`s power is provided not only by the...
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