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Power and Politics: an Expert Opinion Case Study

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Power and Politics: An Expert Opinion Case Study
Power and politics in business today has become more predominate and the tactics and maneuvers used to obtain what one wants have become more in some scenarios vindictive. While good business politics can often encourage healthy competition within a company, it can be hard to define and determine ones motivates as to whether or not they are “playing fair”. From the Harvard Business Journal the article titled “Into the Fray” written by M. Ellen Pebbles offers a fictitious scenario dealing with a common business situation.
In the article Michael is faced with many decisions that are directed by business ethics and politics, his decision to take an internal position in China raises some concern about the dependencies he currently has in New York. While his current position, work, co-workers and employees are dependents of his performance and will need to be considered in his new business endeavors, first and foremost though are the effect the international move will have on his family. Michael is married and has two young children; in the past his wife has put several of her own ambitions and work opportunities aside to allow Michael to further his career goals. This move will offer new adventures for each of them and provide opportunities of a lifetime. However, making such a drastic cultural change can also be detrimental, leaving his wife in tough position to further her career and children having to leave the stability and friends they have been thus far accustom too.
With the sudden and mysterious resignation of Lafleurs SA’s president of U.S. operations and the talked about company reorganization it is no wonder the gossip had sparked on the grapevine. Michael’s colleagues and other employees were taking semi-normal action in the current events that had transpired. While grapevines are to be expected in situations like this the collaboration and dividedness that started occurring amongst co-workers creates an unhealthy work environment. When a company starts to divide into groups based on the gossip of the grapevine it causes more tensions to rise then what may be needed. Upper management should have addressed the situation to ease the tension and reassure employees that business decisions are being made and they will be kept informed.
While the grapevine continued to grow the questions in back of Michael’s mind did as well. His inability and lack of interest to participate in the “political games” of the organization were soon to catch up with him as Danielle, his most likely internal competition, was taking charge with a voice and action to be a leader in the running for President of U.S. Operations. A fellow colleague and friend informed Michael that he needed to get into the game, by playing the game; decisions of this nature are often lead by the politics within a company, not merely production, numbers or whether or not upper management likes you. Before Michael had the opportunity to get involved the CEO contacted him about a position in China that he felt Michael would succeed greatly at. Ultimately, since being this position it was highly unlikely that he was in running for the President of U.S Operations position. With this being said it would beneficial for him to play his cards right as he is in a great position for negotiating contract stipulations. Things such as year limit, job security, compensation and a position for his wife are just a few things that should be addressed. This opportunity would also allow Michael to gain further skills, knowledge and experience needed to continue his growth within the company, not to mention create a skillful and rounded resume. Ultimately, if the contract stipulations are sufficient for the needs of him and his family this would be the career move for him and the opportunity should be taken. In regards to his initial endeavors of President of U.S. Operations, he needs to consider this a closed door temporarily. The opportunity in China will give him a better hand in this position as well as many others in the future. His main focus now should be creating a stable and healthy work relationship with Danielle and others he currently works with as having allies on your side is always beneficial, especially when partaking in international business. This will also assist in creating different levels of power authority for future situations.
Power refers to the capacity that one has to influence the decisions and actions of another. When evaluating Michael’s situation and his ability to negotiate the contractual stipulations regarding the position in China, it is clear that he has referent and charismatic personal power in this situation. With the CEO selecting him personally for this position based on his strengths and qualities, he now can use that as leverage to obtain what he wants, ultimately giving the CEO what he desires. This would also assist as a first step in entering the political atmosphere. Being able to vocally address ones wants and needs while providing solid evidence of success and or its potential will help break the barrier Michael has currently created for internal politics. While being vocal is the most important part of “playing in the political pool” he must remember that his ethics and beliefs need not be compromised throughout the process. Having the qualities of high numbers, vocalizing interest and being proactive will give anyone a leading edge in the political market.

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