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Power and Influence in the Workplace

McGraw-Hill/Irwin McShane/Von Glinow OB 5e

Copyright 2010 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Power, Influence & Politics in the RCMP


Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) human resources director Denise Revine and her boss Chief Superintendent Fraser Macauley, (see photo) had their careers derailed when they reported that pension funds had been misappropriated. A Canadian government report concluded the RCMP suffered from the absolute power exercised by the Commissioner.
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The Meaning of Power


Power is the capacity of a person, team, or organization to influence others.
Potential, not actual use People have power they dont

use -- may not know they possess A perception

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Power and Dependence


Person Bs countervailing power over Person A (Skill, knowledge,etc)

Person A Boss

Person As control of resource valued by Person B (Control over jobsecurity, promotion,etc)

Person B staff
Person As power over Person B

Resource desired by person B (paycheck)

Power relationship also depends on trust : the level of expectation that the more powerful party will deliver the resouces

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Model of Power in Organizations


Sources of Power Legitimate Reward Coercive Expert Referent Power over others

Contingencies of Power

From the job/position

Personal characteristics
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Sources of Power
Legitimate

Agreement that people in certain roles can request certain behaviors of others Based on job descriptions and mutual agreement Legitimate power range (zone of indifference the range within which
people are willing to accept someone elses authority)

varies across national and org cultures conformity,


traditional values, high power distance, etc

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Sources of Power
Legitimate Reward

Ability to control the allocation of rewards valued by others and to remove negative sanctions Operates upward as well as downward (because of 360 degrees
feedback system)

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Sources of Power
Legitimate Reward Coercive

Ability to apply punishment Exists upward as well as downward Peer pressure is a form of coercive power

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Sources of Power
Legitimate Reward Coercive

Expert

The capacity to influence others by possessing knowledge or skills that they value More employee expert power over companies in knowledge economy
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Sources of Power
Legitimate Reward Coercive

Expert Referent

Occurs when others identify with, like, or otherwise respect the person Associated with charismatic leadership

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DeCourcys Trendspotting Power


Colleen DeCourcy has developed a reputation as a trendspotter, giving her considerable information power in the advertising industry. Her knowledge of the digital landscape, grounded in creativity, make her an invaluable additional to TBWA, says DeCourcys boss.

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Information and Power

Control over information flow


Based on legitimate power
Relates to formal communication

network

Coping with uncertainty


More power to those who can

help firms cope with uncertainty - Prevention - Forecasting - Absorption

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Power Through Control of Information Flow


Wheel formation All-channels formation

This person has high information control

These people individually have low information control

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Contingencies of Power
Sources of Power Contingencies of Power Substitutability Centrality Discretion Power over others

Visibility

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Increasing Nonsubstitutability

Few/no alternatives to the resource (monopoly, only


minimum sources for resouce - or by deacreasing substitutions of the resource itself, substituting skilled labor with robots)

Increase nonsubstituability by controlling the resource


exclusive right to perform medical procedures
control over skilled labor exclusive knowledge to repair equipment

Differentiate resource from others new product/


service or new packaging to make it look new

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Centrality

Degree and nature of interdependence between powerholder and others Centrality is a function of:
How many others are affected by you

How quickly others are affected by you

(well timed strikes)

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Discretion and Visibility

Discretion
The freedom to exercise judgment Rules limit discretion, limit power Also a perception acting as if you have discretion

Visibility
Symbols communicate your power source(s) - Educational diplomas (on walls, pics with powerful people) - Clothing etc (stethoscope around neck) Salience - Location others more aware of your presence (where
you sit so you can be seen)

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Social Networking and Power

Cultivating social relationships with others to accomplish ones goals Increases power through:
social capital

referent power
visibility and centrality contingencies

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Influencing Others

Influence -- any behavior that attempts to alter someones attitudes or behavior


Applies one or more power bases Process through which people achieve

organizational objectives
Operates up, down, and across the organizational

hierarchy

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Types of Influence
Silent Authority
Following requests without overt influence

Based on legitimate power, role modeling


Common in high power distance cultures

Assertiveness Actively applying legitimate and coercive


power (vocal authority) Reminding, confronting, checking, threatening

more
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Types of Influence (cont)


Information Control
Manipulating others access to information Withholding, filtering, re-arranging information

Coalition Formation

Group forms to gain more power than individuals alone 1. Pools resources/power 2. Legitimizes the issue 3. Power through social identity

more
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Types of Influence (cont)


Upward Appeal
Appealing to higher authority

Includes appealing to firms goals


Alliance or perceived alliance with higher status person

Persuasion

Logic, facts, emotional appeals Depends on persuader, message content, message medium, audience

more
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Types of Influence (cont)


Ingratiation/ Impress. Mgt.
increaseliking by, or perceived similarity to the target person (apple polishing)ingratiation is part of impression mgt. IM : distinct clothing, voice, skills, knowledge, etc

Exchange

Promising or reminding of past benefits in exchange for compliance Includes negotiation and networking

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Consequences of Influence Tactics


(possible reactions from receiver of influence) people oppose the behavior desired by the influencer motivated by external sources (rewards) to implement request identify with and highly motivated to implement request

Resistance

Compliance

Commitment

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Consequences of Influence Tactics


Hard Influence Tactics Soft Influence Tactics

Silent authority ? Upward appeal Coalition formation Information control Assertiveness

Persuasion Ingratiation & impression mgt Exchange

Resistance

Compliance

Commitment

Silent authority : resistence & compliance or compliance only? Or silent authority is both hard and soft influence tactics?
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Contingencies of Influence Tactics

Soft tactics generally more acceptable than hard tactics Appropriate influence tactic depends on:
Influencers power base Organizational position Cultural values and expectations

Example: 1. Power-oriented boss using assertiveness to staff in govt org. 2. Compliant staff using assertiveness to boss in govt org. 3. Staff using ingratiation to narcissistic boss 4. Secretary using exchange tactics to boss
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Organizational Politics

Behaviors that others perceive as selfserving tactics for personal gain at the expense of other people and possibly the organization.

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Conditions for Organizational Politics


Machiavellian? Power-oriented? Compliant? High power distance?

Tolerance of Politics

Scarce Resources

Conditions Supporting Organizational Politics


Organizational Change
Complex and Ambiguous Decisions (eg on
how to allocate resources)

Need for clear rules, SOPs

Keep employees informed of changes


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Minimizing Political Behaviour


1. 2. 3.

Introduce clear rules for scarce resources Effective organizational change practices Suppress norms that support or tolerate self-serving behavior Leaders role model organizational citizenship Give employees more control over their work Keep employees informed
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Power and Influence in the Workplace

McGraw-Hill/Irwin McShane/Von Glinow OB 5e

Copyright 2010 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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