Paper Example on Organization, Power and Politics

7 pages
1910 words
George Washington University
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
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Organizations are setup with a structures on which they operate. These operation structures define the flow of power and authority to implement or influence over decisions and ability to get things done exactly the way one wants them to be done. It is of great importance to have hierarchy and order where a chain of command is in place to ensure efficient coordination, management and supervision to give direction in order to attain the organizations objectives.

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Power refers to the capacity of a person, organization or team to ability to influence, to cause change, and make decisions over others. Power and authority is divided and effected through the designed hierarchy structures within the organization. Those at the top of the hierarchy enjoy power over those below them. The ones below act as subordinates to those above. They have little or no say during the decision making process and can only make contribution when asked to do so by their superiors. They however are assigned roles and different duties which they should perform in accordance to the wish of their superiors. Organizational power refers to the ability of the organizational structure to utilize all necessary resources in order to attain the organizations objectives which leads to organization development. Power within an organization is distributed according to an individuals level of responsibility and rank. It is a requirement to have an organizations power and authority in order to ensure that there is a specific group only concerned with how the organization will achieve its objective and have people below them that work to ensure that the goal is met. Power being scarce is limited and concentrated to a select few who are given authority and privilege over others. Those with power can; make new policies and decisions, intercede in favor of someone in trouble, get items off and on agendas, spend more than what is stated in the budget, have fast access to other decision/policy makers, receive information first before it is relayed to others and layoff or terminate the contract of a subordinate without approval from others. Power in organization acts as a motivator for those in career jobs to aim for higher positions that have more power associated with them. It therefore leads to employees and those in subordinate levels to work more productively with the aim to get promoted as a reward. Those with power can choose to do what they wish with the power. They are not limited to what extent they can use or apply the power as long as they have the power over a particular circumstance or person. It can be used for constructive purposes but at the same time can be very destructive especially when misused. Those with power in an organization enjoy stronger job security and are always up for better rewards.

There exists six sources of power in an organization. These are: coercive, referent, expert, reward and legitimate power. Expert power is derived from having specific knowledge and expertise in a particular field that is important in the organization. Individuals that are experts in certain fields that other ordinary employees may not have a considered to be of great value and are indispensable. Those with expert power, have the ability to influence others because of recognized talent, abilities, and knowledge. Their ideas, decisions and opinions are given more consideration by other employees. They have a certain level of power over other employees within the organization as their opinions are given priority as opposed to that of others. Such individuals are more likely to be promoted to higher level opportunities eventually as they are of great importance within the organization. For example in an organization dealing with online data and internet communication, a computer security expert may be an indispensable asset to the company. His/her value is higher especially during incidence response to an attack on the organization security. He/she is consulted before any decision is made relating to the organizations information systems and involved in policy making such as when developing the organizations internet policy.

Referent power is the ability to influence others because they respect, admire, or like you. People through their nature and charisma are able to be admired by others. They are able to gain respect and admiration judging by their characteristics, such as how they handle themselves, how they relate to others and personal traits that attract admiration from others around them. It may also arise from a person having connections with those at the top of the hierarchy such as the CEO. This in effects leads to them being respected by others even though they may be at the same level in the organization. The individual may also through time develop strong interpersonal connections with others that leads to receiving automatic admiration from their peers.

Reward power results from having the ability to reward others especially for a task being performed. In this case, people are submissive and work for the sole purpose to get promotions, increased pay and having off days. It refers to the extent to which a person can provide external motivation to others in the form of benefits or gifts. Reward power is very motivating for employees to be more productive and in return results to positive growth. However, when reward is given unfairly, it lowers the work morale of others and can be very demotivating leading to low productivity from other employees.

Coercive power is based on fear of negative results. It also may result from lack of reward especially when standards of work output are low. It relies on fear to induce punishment or compliance. Therefore, fear is the main reason that others become subordinates to those who have such power. Those I subordinate positions depend on their superiors and avoid offending or disrespecting them so that they dont get punished (Emerson, 1962).

Legitimate power is power given to an individual based on their approved position or role. It is derived from the position a person has within the hierarchies of an organization. It can be earned by an employee being promoted to a higher position and will have authority based on being at a different level. It is very effective especially when the one wielding it is identified to have earned the position legitimately. A CEO in a company is such an example where he/she has power in the company due to the job title and position they hold.

Information power refers to power gained by a person just because he/she has information and knowledge that others find to be valuable. These leads to relationships to be built between the holder and others.

Those in power can have a combination of power originating from different sources. However, they have to channel and coordinate the flow of the power they wield to ensure efficiency lest they misuse it and lose the positions they may have acquired.

Power and influence tactics refer to actions and strategies that prompt others into actions. These tactics are classified as: behavioral, rational persuasion, inspirational appeals, consultation, exchange, personal appeals, pressure, coalitions, legitimacy, and structural. Behavioral tactics involve an individual taking advantage of the relationship between them and the target. This type of behavioral tactic is referred to as soft tactics as it involves more direct and interpersonal and involves other social interaction. It involves asking for compliance based on friendship or royalty. Depending on how close one has with the other, he may request informally. Hard tactics on the other hand are harsh and forceful and are not necessarily effective than soft tactics.

Structural tactics takes advantage of the existing relationship between positions and personal roles. Structural tactics can be divided to unilateral and bilateral tactics. Unilateral tactic are enacted and applied without direct participation from the target. Such may apply during the disengagement of a party without their knowledge. Bilateral tactics on the other hand involve collaboration and discussion between the influencer and the target. The target in this case is involved and aware of their position through having a discussion related to their position.

Legitimacy involves relaying on a person capacity of authority and insisting that a request being made is in accordance to the roles stipulated in the organizations policies or rules. It can be used to align someone behind a particular direction. It relies upon conforming to rules and regulations.

Pressure refers to inducing undue influence on to someone to perform a task even though it is undesirable to them. It involves repeated demands and threats by the superior person until the target agrees. This can be especially helpful during crisis situations.

Personal appeal involves helping another person just because you like them and they have requested for your personal help. This tactic is of importance and effective especially when there is some level of familiarity and mutual understanding with the target.

Exchange refers to a situation where you do someone a favor and expecting the same from them. It involves reciprocation of favors and a give-and-take attitude. It also involves rewarding with favors after the target performs a request. It includes influencing through making explicit or implicit promises to offer rewards if there is compliance by the target. A situation where people are rewarded first may lead to them being more willing to carry out a task just because they have been appreciated with gifts

Ingratiation refers to making flattery comments and making the individual to feel good about themselves. These praises or friendly behavior are performed before making a request. It involves getting others in the right mood before requesting them to do something (Varma, Toh & Pichler 2006).

Rational persuasion involves seeking influence by using logical arguments and facts to persuade others that the request made is aimed towards meeting a particular objective and that the request can only be deemed to be reasonable. Its full efficiency involves using specific, timely and relevant facts at the right time.

Inspirational appeals involve tapping into emotions by appealing to a targets hopes, ambitions and values. It involves making emotional requests that raise internal enthusiasm by adding onto their ability to succeed toward a particular goal they have set.

Coalition refers to individuals teaming up and working together towards a common objective to influence others. The influencer builds up a team of individuals in order to persuade an individual to feel and think that they need to perform the request being made.

Consultation involves involving others in the decision making process and laying out plans to execute change. This is very motivating as individuals feel they have a stake in the overall plan as they participate in making the decision and implementing of a policy they have been involved in setting.

However, using these tactics requires that an individual be ready to interoperate through them to get the right response at a particular time. Some can be constructive and efficient at on period while can also be destructive and inefficient at some other time. It is therefore necessary to ensure keen selective use of the tactics. The influencers should know when to use and apply each of the different tactics and sharpen their skills to effectively influence their target. Some tactics have been found to be more efficient. These are; rational persuasion, coalition and inspirational appeals whereas others have been found to be ineffective such as using pressure tactic to demand requests from the target. For employees seeking to influence their bosses it may be necessary to use cons...

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