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Power and Organizational Politics

In: Business and Management

Submitted By jaynemugwanga
Words 3129
Pages 13

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 have taken place otherwise.
Sources of Power are:

(vi) Legitimate power – derived from the position e.g. kingship, managerial

(vii) Reward Power – derived from control of resources e.g. promotion, recommendation, training etc

(viii) Referent power– derived from association with powerful people

(ix) Coercive power – uses the ability to force other people to act against their wishes through the fear of punishment.

(x) Expert power – derived from the possession of expert knowledge or information that others need but have no alternative access.

Politics is also the study of influence and the influential • Influence is measured on the basis of the number of shares one or a group has in the preferred values or attributes • The more values or attributes shared, the greater the influence • No single index (share) is a wholly accurate gauge of influence • Pfeffer (1992, p.30) defined politics as (the processes, the actions, the behaviors through which potential power is utilized and realized. Another author (Dubrin, 2001, p.192) defined organizational politics as (n informal approaches to gaining power through means other than…...

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