Power and Politics

Topics: Organization, Management, Political philosophy Pages: 5 (1339 words) Published: August 6, 2010
�PAGE � �PAGE �6� Power and Politics

Power and politics are often considered to be integral components in the development of the organization. Where does power end and politics begin? Many individuals think that politics and power are tied together because you can not have one without the other. On the other hand politics and power are separate items, and both are needed for an organization to effectively manage its operations. Given that both of power and politics often play an extenuating role in the growth of an organization, there is a clear need to delineate the similarities that exist between these two concepts.

Power and politics in organizations are influences that are used by individuals to achieve both organizational and personal goals. Organizations are comprised of individuals working together and vying for resources, status, and position. Power and politics play significant roles in how organizational and individual goals are achieved. Organizations have finite resources and limited budgets; therefore it is inevitable that some employees will not get everything that they want. For this reason employees often form alliances through the use of power and politics to achieve goals. Organizational power has legitimate influences that are within the realm and guidelines of the organization; in contrast, the influences of organizational politics are often well outside the scope of the organization.

According to Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn (2005, p. 266) power is "…the ability to get someone to do something you want done or the ability to make things happen in the way you want them to"; and politics can be defined as "…the management of influence to obtain ends not sanctioned by the organization or that push legal limits" (p.278). Power and politics may be separate ideologies, but both are needed within organizational development to function properly. Power is an influence that is used to control and have those within the organization do what it is the organization leaders want. Through training and socialization members of the team are able to better accept the power that is relevant within the organization.

Management uses several types of power that encourages cooperation for the team members supervised. There are several boundaries set by those in power that overall influences the organization. Techniques of power such as reward power rewards members of the team with various rewards that are devised to strengthen and motivate the team to continue in cooperation. Management that can effectively use various power techniques can then become empowered.

To achieve empowerment management must be consistent and effective in their execution of power techniques. Being able to succeed in getting things done obtains empowerment which shows management is effective and can assist others in making useful power decisions (Organizational Behavior, 2005)

Organizational politics can be viewed as "creative compromise among competing interests" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2005, p. 278). Organizational power is derived from rank or an individual's position on the corporate ladder; along with level of expertise, the individual's ability to persuade others and likeability. Organizational politics often develop through compromise, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Political awareness in organizational members equips them to engage with organizational realities and the possibilities for change. It enables them to have a better understanding of their experience in the organization, of themselves and their role within it (Broussine, M. ,2000)

According to a report by Texas Tech University "if status quo is threatened there is an increase in organizational politics. There is an increased proportion of decision making that is political rather than rational" (August 13, 1998). For example, in a situation where resources are scarce managers may use politics to secure resources for their departments. Managers may...

References: Broussine, M. Kirk, P.(2000) Facilitation of Politics and Power. Journal of Workplace Learning, 12 (1), 13-22. Retrieved October 17, 2008, from EBSCO database.
Cobb, A. (1985, July). Power, Politics, and Organization. _Academy of Management Review,_ 10 (3), 624-627. Retrieved October 15, 2008, from EBSCO database.
Schermerhorn, J. R, Hunt, J. G, Osborn, R, N (2005) Organizational Behavior, 9e. Retrieved October 15, 2008, from University of Phoenix database.
Texas Tech University, (August 31, 1998). Division of Outreach and Extended Studies. Retrieved October 17, 2008, from http://www.depts.ttu.edu/
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