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Power And Organizational Politics Essay

3129 words - 13 pages


Power is the capacity to influence others through the control of instruments of reward and punishment – which can be tangible or intangible.
Definitions of power abound. German sociologist, Max Weber defined power as
"the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance." Along similar lines, Emerson suggests that "The power of actor A over actor B is the amount of resistance on the part of B which can be potentially overcome by A." Power appears to involve one person changing the behavior of one or more other individuals – particularly if that behavior would not ...view middle of the document...

It could be argued that politics are used primarily to achieve power, either directly or indirectly, e.g., by being promoted, receiving a larger budget or other resources, or gaining desirable assignments.
Many people regard organizational politics as something negative (e.g., pursuing self-interests at the expense of others) and something to be minimized. Consequently, although most people know that organizational politics are common, they avoid saying so when it concerns one’s own behavior. It is more common to talk about politics when complaining about a loss to a friend than it is in the context of one's own political maneuvering. When we win on an issue, we call it leadership; when we lose, we call it politics. In many organizations, politics is a taboo subject, which makes it difficult for individuals to deal with this crucially important aspect of organizational reality.

Politics Can Be Either Positive Or Negative

• Positive Politics
– Having practical wisdom
– Being prudent, shrewd, & diplomatic
– Being expedient as a plan of action
– Process of gaining support
• Negative Politics
– Factional scheming for power & status
– Being crafty or unscrupulous

So why do we care about Political Influence ?
• Well because life is easier for people with influence. They become the elite.
-People with higher influence can open doors.
-Their email gets read.
-Their requests for meetings get positive responses.
-They get attention to their opinions.
• It’s interesting to note that Deluca’s research showed “The dominant rational systems paradigm operating as
• Rational meritocracy is both expected by employees and supported by the organization.
“Officially” politics is considered dysfunctional and in most organizations doesn’t officially exist. 

• People expect Corporations to behave rationally but the truth is that they don’t
and that’s where you want to be on the positive power track.
• Most importantly power and influence is contextual. The people with Influence at Boeing, may not be the same at Pepsi.
But the important fact is that the elite can get more done.

• If we think about the Elite in the world rather than the corporation what comes to mind?
Wealth for sure… the Beautiful people.. The rich the famous. Some with remarkable skill,
• Some with impressive personality, some with great lineage and history like the Kennedys.
Those are all items that our culture values and because they have them.
• These people get access to People , information and Resources which keep them functioning in the elite.
• Wealth = resources in terms of staff or financing or budget
• Skills can be oratory, negotiating, innovation, certainly professional knowledge and business acumen fit in there.
• Personality – can be leadership, the friend, the...

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