Power and Influence in Terms of Organisational Effectiveness

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Title: power and influence in terms of organisational effectiveness Introduction
Unlike exact sciences, a concept in organisational behaviour can not be defined using one theory; there will always be another perspective to look from. The concept of power and influence in organisations has many sides and dimensions, therefore needs to be viewed from different perspectives to fully understand it. Power and influence is a hot topic at any workplace -ranging from checkouts of a local supermarket to meeting rooms of the world’s largest transnational companies. People are constantly using various influence techniques and try to obtain as much power as they feel they need to successfully complete given tasks and satisfy their own needs. However there are a diverse range of theories and perspectives characterising the use of power and its effects on organisation and the external environment. This essay will focus on defining power and influence in organisations in terms of following perspectives: the open-systems perspective, the organizational learning perspective, the high-performance work practices perspective, and the stakeholder perspective. Also the essay will try to explain sources of power, the ways power can be used to influence employees’ behaviour towards successful completion of tasks, and the possible negative consequences of possessing power. Four key perspectives of organisational effectiveness

The major objective of all organisational behaviour theories is to make an organisation more effective (McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione 2010). Effective organisation is characterised by satisfying four fundamental perspectives. One of them is the open system perspective- the interdependence of the organisation with the external environment. The learning organisation perspective is a point of view describing the process of accruing, sharing and using new skills in order to improve organisational effectiveness (McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione 2010). The high performance work practice perspective looks at work practices in organisations in terms of leveraging human capital. The last of the four perspectives is the stakeholder perspective, how well the organisation deals with other people, companies and groups having influence on or being affected by the organisation (McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione 2010). The above mentioned four perspectives are essential to describe organisational effectiveness. Possessors of power, the ability to influence others (French & Raven 1958), in organisations must be aware of how their decisions and actions fit within these perspectives. Sources of power and their nature

To understand how power can be used to improve organizational effectiveness it is necessary to know the sources of power and its nature. According to French and Raven (cited in Bertocci, 2009) there are five fundamental sources of power in an organization: legitimate, reward, coercive, expert and referent powers. Also many organizational behavior theorists consider informational power as sixth source of power according to Bertocci (2009). Legitimate power refers to power obtained with certain formal position in the organization (Bertocci, 2009). Coercive and reward powers are derived from legitimate power. Reward power refers to the ability to distribute rewards and similarly coercive power refers to the ability to imply punishments (Bertocci, 2009). Legitimate, reward and coercive powers come from formal position or rank of the person in organization (McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione 2010). Therefore it is absolutely necessary for organizations to have some kind of hierarchy in order to build effective management systems (McCalley, 2002). People in higher hierarchical positions will have more power due to positional sources of power available to them. Expert power associated with knowledge, skills and previous experience of a person (Bertocci, 2009). Maintenance workers, consultants and engineers have the...
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