Power is a measurement of an actor’s ability to influence the behavior, thoughts or activities of another actor (eds Ott, Parkes & Simpson 2008). Authority, power that is legitimized by the legal and cultural foundations on which an organization is based, is the ultimate source of power in a organization (Gareth R. Jones 2001). Whenever there is a use of authoritative control it creates resistance and obedience. In this essay, power and the limit of power (obedience and resistance) will be analyzed from both modernist and critical perspectives. The focus of this analysis will be on major theories of both perspectives and the importance or limitation of ideas. Similarities and differences of both perspectives will be discussed. It is important to see from both perspectives to give much complete understanding of an organization.
2.Modernist’s view on power and authority
Modernist perspective takes powers as authority, knowledge and ability to protect others from uncertainty. Individual or group who has power or authority has the right to control productivity by monitoring the performance of subordinates and managing scarce resources (Hatch and Cunliffe 2006). Power is relational and it does not exist in individuals, groups or organizations instead it is always exercised based on context of relationships between actors at any individual, group or organization level (Hatch and Cunliffe 2006). The core purpose of modernist theory desires organizations to set up clear hierarchy structure and authority so that they could operate effectively and efficiently (McAuley et al. 2007).
2.1Thoeries developed by modernist
2.1.1Strategic Contingencies Theory
Strategic contingencies theory state that power can also be obtained from the ability to provide the organization needs through protecting and managing organization effectively (Hatch and Cunliffe 2006). Exercise of formal authority may work of only downward direction but other forms of power may come from all direction. For instance, President might sometimes have to listen to its financial advisers (expertise in lower rank) before passing financial related bills in the congress.
Rational-legal authority purpose is to predict control and reduce organizational conflict, which is related with the Max Weber’s work (Jaffee 2008). It also states that workers accept the commands deriving from legitimate authority instead from commanding authority (authority from family) or charisma (authority from personality).
2.1.3General system theory: differentiation
The system becomes differentiated because of the benefits of specialization (Hatch and Cunliffe 2006). Producing specialized tasks for the workforce, which leads to improvement in overall productivity but also to deskilling of labor, causes increase in division of labor.
2.2Conflict in modernism
According to modernist perspective presence of conflict at certain extent in the organization could maximize its performance (Hatch and Cunliffe 2006). Moreover, both ends of extreme level of conflict may lead to poor performance.
2.3Resistance in modernism
The weakness of rational-legal concept was highlighted by Jaffee (2008) which states that subordinates stops listening to superior due to lack of technical knowledge in their command and followed someone with better knowledge. As a result, it leads to conflict and affect the organizational objectives.
According to Burrell (1998) modernist management applied strict level of control in organization, resulting total surveillance over individual working life. For example, XYZ call center staff are being watched by surveillance cameras to make sure they do not take too many breaks and to make up lost time (Hencke 2005). Many scholars criticize modernism for intensely emphasizing on efficiency and effectiveness by using surveillance and total control over workers. Hence,...