The Importance of Power and Politics in Organisation Decision-Making

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 552
  • Published : April 25, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
The importance of power and politics in organisation decision-making

Report submitted by:

Report received by:

Date of submission:

Paper title and number:
Organisational Management 152-700

Contents
1.Introduction3
2.Discussion3
2.1.Power and politics in decision-making3
2.2.The distribution of power within organisation4
2.3.Politics in an organisational setting5
2.4.The challenges of politics in an organisation6
2.5.Ethical concerns7
2.6.Overcoming the dangers of politics7
3.Conclusions8
4.Recommendations9
References11

1. Introduction
2.1.1. The purpose of this report is to provide the theoretical framework that will underpin training workshops for managers. The report will also outline the organisational objectives of these workshops and identify key texts for the continued development of managers. 2.1.2. Accordingly, this report examines a broad range of literature and outlines key concepts about the relationship between power, politics and decision-making in an organisational setting. This analysis suggests that power is a essential aspect the decision making. In turn, politics is shown to be a necessary process for the management of power in organisations, albeit one that gives rise to ethical concerns. 2. Discussion

3.1. Power and politics in decision-making
3.2.3. Finkelstein (1992), Hickson et al (1971), and Pfeffer (1981) define power as the capacity of individual actors to exert their will. The advantage of this concept is that it recognises that power exists in many contexts, and can be exercised in various settings. As noted by Cavanagh et al (1981) ‘Power is a vital and ubiquitous reality in organizational life’. 3.2.4. Mintzberg et al (1976) builds on this concept by defining power, within the context of organisational decision-making, as the ability to influence ambiguous situations. Essentially, all situations that require a decision to be made are either resolved through a bureaucratic (structured) process that stipulates responses to predefined (unambiguous) circumstances, or through the application of resources and activities to respond to non-predefined (unplanned/ambiguous) circumstances (Pfeffer,1992). Mintzberg et al (1976) argues that it is the ability to apply resources and activities to these situations that defined power.

3.2.5. Tushman (1977) concurs with this argument, further arguing that the more senior a organisational member is, the more likely it is that they will deal with situations that bureaucratic structures cannot resolve – accordingly, senior managers must have greater scope to resolve such situations and hence have more power. Such an argument is supported by Brass (1984), who in turn suggests that power is based on the formal structured hierarchical authority of an organisation. In essence, power is derived from a ‘legislative’ right to exert influence within an organisation. This conception of power fits with the assertion that power is the ‘cornerstone of management practice’ (Cavanagh, Moberg, & Velaquez, 1981). 3.2.6. It is important to consider, however, the ability and the legislative right to apply influence are subject to change based of situations and the shifts in the balance of power within the organisation. First, an individual’s position within a power structure may change based on their expertise in certain subjects – for instance, power may be temporarily transferred to someone within the organisation that has specialist knowledge on the type of situation that has arisen (Pfeffer,1992). Additionally, a person’s ability to wield power is also dependent on their relationship with other individuals within the organisation (Pfeffer, 1992). 3.2. The distribution of power within organisation

3.3.7. Huber (1986) notes that modern and future organisational environments are, and will continue to...
tracking img