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Power and Politics in Organization

Prepared by Fritz Robenick B. Tabernilla

Learning Objectives
Describe the nature of power in organizations and ways to build power Discuss the relationship between power and counter power in organizations Describe the bases of power and ways of building power in organizations Understand common and devious political tactics
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What is it?

Do you have any?

Do you want some?

How do you acquire power?

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Power: ability to get something done the way a person wants it done Includes the ability to gather physical and human resources and put them to work to reach a goal Essential to leadership and management functions
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Power (Cont.)
More than dominance: a capacity to get something done in an organization Central feature of political behavior Unavoidable presence in organizations

Human Behavior in Organization

So how do we define power: 1) According to Max Weber 2) According to Emerson 3) According to Veerchu

Human Behavior in Organization

Power (Cont.)
Facets of power
Potential power: one party perceives another party as having power and the ability to use it

Actual power: the presence and use of power

Potential for power: person or group has control of resources from which to build


Human Behavior in Organization

Power (Cont.)
Power relationships: moments of social interaction where power manifests itself Dimensions of power relationships
Relational: social interaction between people and groups Dependence
Reliance of one party on another party High power when valued results not available elsewhere

Sanctioning: use of rewards or penalties

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Power (Cont.)
Power and authority
Different concepts although a person can have both

Authority usually flows from a persons position in an organization

Power can accrue to people at any level

Human Behavior in Organization

Power (Cont.)
Influence - the process of affecting the
thoughts, behavior, & feelings of another person Influence is
What you have when you exercise power.

Expressed by others behavioral response to

your exercise of power.

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Relationship of Power and Influence

Power refers to A's ability to influence B, not A's right to do so; no right is implied in the concept of power...
Fig. 1

Human Behavior in Organization


Counter Power
Two parties are involved one being dependent and the other being independent. The independent party has Power while the dependent party has Counter Power. Counter Power - the power of the dependent party to maintain the relationship
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Relationship of Power and Counter Power

The presence of Counter power with the subordinate ensures that the superiors use the power judiciously. Counter power acts as the factor that helps to maintain the relationship. Fig. 2

Human Behavior in Organization


Five Bases of Power

1. Referent Power Influence is based on possession by an individual of desirable resources or personal traits The desire to please

Organizational Behavior: Chapter 15


Five Bases of Power (cont)

2. Expert Power - Exists when one person believes another person has desired expertise and is willing to share or withhold it

Human Behavior in Organization


Five Bases of Power (cont)

3. Legitimate or Position Power Exists when one person believes that another person has the right to influence him or her (authority)

Five Bases of Power (cont)

4. Reward Power Exists when one person believes another person can and will provide or withhold rewards

Human Behavior in Organization


Five Bases of Power (cont)

5. Coercive power Exists when one person believes another person can and will provide or withhold punishment
Sample video
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What are organizational politics?

Machiavellian tradition of organizational

Emphasizes self-interest and the use of non-

sanctioned means. Organizational politics is defined as the management of influence to obtain ends not sanctioned by the organization or to obtain sanctioned ends through non-sanctioned influence means.
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What are organizational politics?

Alternate tradition of organizational

Politics is a necessary function resulting from

differences in the self-interests of individuals. Politics is the art of creative compromise among competing interests. Politics is the use of power to develop socially acceptable ends and means that balance individual and collective interests.
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Political behavior - Activities that are not required as part of ones formal role in the organization, but that influence, or attempt to influence, the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organization Organizational Politics - the use of power and influence in organizations
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Characteristics of Political Processes

Human Behavior in Organization


Common Political Tactics

1. Ingratiation - giving compliments to or doing favors for superior. Sample questions. 2. Forming Coalition and Networks forming friendships with people in upper level management 3. Impression Management - management of their outward appearance and style
Human Behavior in Organization

Common Political Tactics (cont)

4. Information Management - managing the information that is shared with others 5. Promoting Opposition - one way to eliminate opposition is to aid political rivals 6. Within Line Responsibility - heart of the organizations
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Devious Political Tactics

1. Take No Prisoners - to do something unpopular or distasteful 2. Divide and Conquer - creating feud among two or more people 3. Exclude the Opposition - keeping rivals away from important meetings and social occasions
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Strive for the Best!