Chapter 7 Power and Politics
Power and Politics Questions for Consideration Questions for Consideration • What is power? • How does one get it? • What does it mean to empower employees? • How can we be effective at office politics?
Power and Politics • Power • A capacity that A has to influence the behaviour of B so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes. • Dependency: B’s relationship to A when A possesses something that B requires • Politics • Behaviour to influence or attempt to influence the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organization.
Leadership and Power Power Leadership • Does not require goal acceptance • Focuses on intimidation • Maximizes importance of lateral and upward influence • Power focuses on tactics for gaining compliance • Requires goal agreement • Focuses on downward influence • Minimizes importance of lateral and upward influence • Leadership research focuses on answers
Measuring Bases of Power • Coercive power • The person can make things difficult for people, and you want to avoid getting him or her angry. • Power that is based on fear. • Reward power • The person is able to give special benefits or rewards to people, and you find it advantageous to trade favors with him or her. • Legitimate power • The person has the right, considering his or her position and your job responsibilities, to expect you to comply with legitimate requests.
Measuring Bases of Power • Expert power • The person has the experience and knowledge to earn your respect, and you defer to his or her judgment in some matters. • Referent power • You like the person and enjoy doing things for him or her.
Evaluating the Bases of Power • Coercive power tends to result in negative performance responses from individuals, decreases satisfaction, increases mistrust, and creates fear. • Legitimate power does not have a negative effect, but does not generally stimulate employees to improve their attitudes or performance, and it does not generally result in increased commitment. • Reward power may improve performance in a variety of situations if the rewards are consistent with what the individuals want as rewards. • Expert power relies on trust that all relevant information is given out honestly and completely.
Leaders’ Use of Power • The least effective power bases are the ones most likely to be used by managers • Coercive, legitimate, and reward • Easiest to implement • Effective leaders use referent and/or expert power
Dependency: Key to Power • Importance • The things you control must be important • Scarcity • A resource must be perceived as scarce • Non-substitutability • The resource cannot be substituted with something else
Increasing Dependency • To increase the dependency of others on you, you need to • Control things viewed as important • The resources must be viewed as scarce • The resource must have few or no substitutes (nonsubstitutability)
Popularity of Power Tactics: From Most to Least Popular When Managers Influenced Superiors* When Managers Influenced Subordinates Most Popular Reason Coalition Friendliness Bargaining Assertiveness Higher authority Reason Assertiveness Friendliness Coalition Bargaining Higher authority Sanctions Least Popular *The dimension of sanctions is omitted in the scale that measures upward influence.
Empowerment: Giving Power to Employees • The freedom and the ability of employees to make decisions and commitments • Managers disagree over definition of empowerment • Empowerment as delegating decision making within a set of clear boundaries versus • Empowerment as “a process of risk taking and personal growth”
Conditions for True Empowerment • Clear definition of the values and mission of the company • Company must help employees acquire the relevant skills • Employees need to be supported in their decision making, and not criticized when they try to do something extraordinary • Employees need to be recognized for their efforts
Characteristics of Empowered People • Sense of self-determination • Employees are free to choose how to do their work; They are not micromanaged • Sense of meaning • Employees feel that their work is important to them; They care about what they are doing • Sense of competence • Employees are confident about their ability to do their work well; They know they can perform • Sense of impact • Employees people believe they can have influence on their work unit; Others listen to their ideas
Coalitions • Two or more individuals who combine their power to push for or support their demands • Predictions about coalition formation • Coalitions seek to maximize their size • Coalitions more likely to be created when there is greater task and resource dependence • Coalitions more likely when tasks are routine
Sexual Harassment • The Supreme Court of Canada defines sexual harassment as • Unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature in the workplace that negatively affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the employee
Examples of Sexual Harassment • Disagreement as to what specifically constitutes sexual harassment • Includes • Unwanted physical touching • Recurring requests for dates when it is made clear the person isn’t interested • Coercive threats that a person will lose her or his job if she or he refuses a sexual proposition
Examples of Sexual Harassment • More subtle forms (harder to interpret) • Unwanted looks or comments • Off-colour jokes • Sexual artifacts such as nude calendars in the workplace • Sexual innuendo • Misinterpretations of where the line between “being friendly” ends and “harassment” begins
Political Behaviour • Those activities that influence, or attempt to influence, the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organization. • Legitimate: normal everyday behaviour • Illegitimate: extreme political behaviours that violate the implied rules of the game
Why Do We Get Politics? • Organizations are made up of groups and individuals who have differing values, goals and interests • Resources in organizations are limited • Performance outcomes are not completely clear and objective
Factors Influencing Political Behaviour Individual factors • High self-monitors • Internal locus of control • High Mach • Organizational investment • Perceived job alternatives • Expectations of success Favourable outcomes Political behaviour • Rewards Low High Organizational factors • Averted punishments • Reallocation of resources • Promotion opportunities • Low trust • Role ambiguity • Unclear performance evaluation system • Zero-sum reward practices • Democratic decision making • High performance pressures • Self-serving senior managers
What Individual Factors Contribute to Politics? • High self-monitors • Internal locus of control • High mach • Organizational investment • Perceived job alternatives • Expectations of success
What Organizational Factors Contribute to Politics? • Reallocation of rewards • Promotion opportunities • Low trust • Role ambiguity • Unclear performance evaluation system • Zero-sum reward practices • Democratic decision-making • High performance pressure • Self-serving senior managers
Types of Political Activity • Attacking or blaming others • Controlling information • Forming coalitions • Networking • Creating obligations • Managing impressions
Impression Management • The process by which individuals attempt to control the impression others form of them • More likely used by high self-monitors than low self-monitors • High self-monitors try to read the situation
Impression Management (IM) Techniques • Conformity • Agreeing with someone else’s opinion in order to gain his or her approval. • Excuses • Explanations of a predicament-creating event aimed at minimizing the apparent severity of the predicament. • Apologies • Admitting responsibility for an undesirable event and simultaneously seeking to get a pardon for the action. • Acclamations • Explanation of favorable events to maximize the desirable implications for oneself. • Flattery • Complimenting others about their virtues in an effort to make oneself appear perceptive and likable. • Favours • Doing something nice for someone to gain that person’s approval. • Association • Enhancing or protecting one’s image by managing information about people and things with which one is associated.
Summary and Implications • Power is a two-way street. • Few employees relish being powerless in their jobs and organization. • People respond differently to various power bases. • Employees working under coercive managers are unlikely to be committed, • and more likely to resist the manager. • Expert power is the most strongly and consistently related to effective employee performance.
Summary and Implications • The power of the manager may also play a role in determining job satisfaction. • The effective manager accepts the political nature of organizations. • The more political that employees perceive an organization, the lower their satisfaction.