Topics: Authority, Organization, Political philosophy Pages: 9 (1262 words) Published: May 12, 2013
Learning Goals


1. 2.

Explain the concept of power. Identify and describe forms and sources of power in organisations. Define organisational politics and understand the role of influence. Explain ways to manage political behaviour in organisations. Describe the role of ethics in using power and politics.




Defining Power
“Power is the ability to get some else to do something you want done”. The capacity that Person A has to influence the behaviour of Person B so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes. “The capacity of individuals to overcome resistance on the part of others, to exert their will and to produce results consistent with their interests & objectives” (Buchanan & Hucyznski, 2004: 828) 

Power, Authority & Influence
Similar/related, but not the same!

Power  capability to get someone to do something, or the potential to influence Influence  exercise of capability or power in action.  Behavioural response to the exercise of power  Affecting thoughts, behaviour & feelings of another person Authority  Legitimises, and is a source of power  The right to influence another person Zone of indifference  Legitimacy of influence

Two dimensions of power
 Socialised power  directed at helping others  Motivates, used to accomplish group goals  Personalised power  directed at helping oneself  tends to be negatively perceived Also viewed in terms of positive & negative power

Power and Influence: how does it work?

From Wood etal 2010: 361


Three perspectives on power

Where does power come from: sources of power
 French & Raven model (1968) of Interpersonal

Buchanan and Hucyznski (2004) argue power can be considered from the perspective of


Reward power Coercive power Legitimate power and formal authority Expert power Referent power

Power as property of individuals Power as property of relationships Power as an embedded property of structures.

Other sources of power: contingency/structural approaches to power  Control over resources  Control over access to information  Coping with uncertainty  Decision-making power  Structural power 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Check your understanding!
 Match the following:
a. b. Legitimate power. Area within which one accepts authority and influence.


The process of affecting thoughts and behaviour of others.

d. e.

Power based on interpersonal attraction. Power based on knowledge.

Authority Expert power Referent power Zone of indifference Influence

Check your understanding!
 The legitimacy inherent in one's job is _____, whereas the ability to influence

Power, authority & obedience
 Milgram experiments.  Lesson:  That our tendency to follow people with authority and power is very strong. 

someone else is _____.
A. B. C. D. power; authority influence; authority authority; power power; control

Which of the following power sources is LEAST likely to be available to a nonsupervisory, technical employee? A. B. C. D. expert referent knowledge legitimate

We tend to follow people in authority (eg managers) even if the request violates our moral codes. Zone of indifference


Power tactics
 Tactics include:  Image building  Selective Information  Scapegoating  Formal Alliances  Networking  Compromise  Rule manipulation  “Dirty tricks”

How can managers acquire power
 Enhancing position power  Centrality and criticality of role  Discretion and flexibility  Job complexity and ambiguity  Enhancing personal power  Knowledge and information  Personal attractiveness  Effort

Influence tactics: turning power into influence
 More subtle way of getting what you want.  Individuals believe they are acting in their own best interest. 

 Using power responsibly leads to the

Remember: power is the potential ability to exert influence...
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