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POWER AND POLITICS

Syeda Tasneem Rumy
Syeda Tasneem Rumy
Sep 12, 2009
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A DEFINITION OF POWER

 

Power refers to the capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B, so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes.

 

Power may exist but not be used. It is therefore, a capacity or potential. One can have power but not impose it.

 

The most important aspect of power is that it is a function of dependency.

 

CONTRASTING LEADERSHIP AND POWER

 

Leaders use power as a means of attaining group goals. Leaders achieve goals, and power is a means of facilitating their achievement.

The difference between Power and leadership is ‘goal compatibility’. Power does not require goal compatibility, merely dependence. Leadership on the other hand, requires more congruence between the goals of the leader and those being led.

 

A second difference relates to the direction of influence. And still another difference deals with research emphasis.

 

BASES OF POWER

 

Bases of powers are divided into two general groupings—formal and personal and which can further be divided into subgroups.

 

Formal Power

 

Formal power is based on an individual’s position in an organization.

It can come from the ability to coerce or reward, from formal authority, or from control of information.

 

Coercive power: Coercive power base is dependent on fear.

Reward power: People comply with wishes or directives of another because doing so produces positive benefits. The reward can be either financial or nonfinancial.

 

Legitimate power: In formal groups and organizations, probably the most frequent access to one or more of the power bases is one’s structural position. This is called legitimate power. It represents the formal authority to control and use the organizational resources.

 

Informational power: It comes from the access to and control over information.

 

 

Personal Power

 

 

Personal power comes from a person’s unique characteristics.

 

Expert power: Expert power is influence wielded as a result of expertise, special skill or knowledge.

 

Referent power: It is based on identification with a person who has desirable resources or personal traits. Referent power develops out of admiration of another and a desire to be like that person.

 

Charismatic power: Charismatic power is really an extension of referent power stemming from an individual personality and interpersonal style.

 

 

DEPENDENCY: THE KEY TO POWER

 

Dependency is created when the resource controlled is important, scarce and non- substitutable.

 

POWER TACTICS

 

Power tactics are the ways by which individuals influence their bosses, coworkers or employees.

 

There are basically 9 distinct influence tactics:

 

1. Legitimacy: Relying on one’s authority position or stressing that a request is in accordance with organizational policies or rules.

 

2. Rational Persuasion: Presenting logical arguments and factual evidence to demonstrate that a request is reasonable.

 

3. Inspirational appeals: Developing emotional commitment by appealing to a target’s value, needs hopes, and aspirations.

 

4. Consultation: Increasing the target’s motivation and support by involving him or her in deciding how the plan or change will be done.

 

5. Exchange: Rewarding the target with benefits or favors in exchange for following a request.

6. Personal appeals: Asking for compliance based on friendship or loyalty.

 

7. Ingratiation: Using flattery, praise, or friendly behavior prior to making a request.

 

8. Pressure: Using warning, repeated demands, and threats.

 

9. Coalitions: Enlisting the aid of the people to persuade the target or using the support of others as a reason for the target to agree.

 

 

POLITICS: POWER IN ACTION

 

The effective manager accepts the political nature of organizations. By assessing behavior in a political framework, a manager can better predict the actions of others and use this information to formulate political strategies that will gain advantage for the manager and its work unit.

 

Some people are significantly more “politically astute” than others. Those who are good at playing politics can be expected to get higher performance evaluations and hence larger salary increases and more promotions than politically naive or inept. The politically astute are also likely to exhibit higher job satisfaction. For employees with modest political skills or who are unwilling to play the politics game, the perception of organizational politics is generally related to lower job satisfaction and self-reported performance, increased anxiety, and higher turnover.  




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