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Chapter 7

Power and Politics

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Chapter Outline
A Definition of Power Bases of Power Dependency: The Key to Power Influence Tactics Empowerment: Giving Power to Employees The Abuse of Power: Harassment in the Workplace Politics: Power in Action
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Power and Politics


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. What is power? How does one get power? How does dependency affect power? What tactics can be used to increase power? What does it mean to be empowered? How are power and harassment related? Why do people engage in politics?
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Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

Power and Politics


Power
A capacity that A has to influence the behaviour of B so that B acts in accordance with As wishes.

Dependency
Bs relationship to A when A possesses something that B needs.

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Exhibit 7-1 Measuring Bases of Power


1. Coercive Power The person can make things difficult for people, and you want to avoid getting him or her angry.
Power that is based on fear.

1.

Reward Power The person is able to give special benefits or rewards to people, and you find it advantageous to trade favours with him or her. 1. Legitimate Power The person has the right, considering his or her position and your job responsibilities, to expect you to comply with legitimate requests. (continued)
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Exhibit 7-1 Measuring Bases of Power


4. Expert Power
The person has the experience and knowledge to earn your respect and you defer to his or her judgment in some matters. You like the person and enjoy doing things for him or her. The person has data or knowledge that you need.
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4. Referent Power

4. Information Power

Source: Adapted from G. Yuki and C. M. Falbe, Importance of Different Power Sources in Downward and Lateral Relations, Journal of Applied Psychology, June 1991, p. 417. With permission. Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

Evaluating the Bases of Power


People will respond in one of three ways:
1. Commitment The person is enthusiastic about the request and carries the task out. 2. Compliance The person goes along with the request grudgingly, putting in minimal effort. 3. Resistance The person is opposed to the request and tries to avoid it.

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Exhibit 7-3 Continuum of Responses to Power


Resistance Bases of Leader Power Coercive Reward Legitimate Expert Referent Compliance Commitment Most likely employee response

Source: R. M. Steers and J. S. Black, Organizational Behavior, 5th ed. (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), p. 487. Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Dependency: Key to Power


Importance
The things you control must be important.

Scarcity
A resource must be perceived as scarce.

Nonsubstitutability
The resource cannot be substituted with something else.
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Increasing Dependency
To increase the dependency of others on you,
You must control things viewed as important. The resources must be viewed as scarce. The resource must have few or no substitutes (nonsubstitutability).

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Influence Tactics
Rational persuasion Inspirational appeals Consultation Ingratiation Personal appeals Exchange Coalition tactics Pressure Legitimating tactics
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Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

Empowerment: Giving Power to Employees


The freedom and the ability of employees to make decisions and commitments. Managers disagree over definition of empowerment.
Empowerment as delegating decision making within a set of clear boundaries versus Empowerment as a process of risk taking and personal growth
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Conditions for True Empowerment


There must be a clear definition of the values and mission of the company. Company must help employees acquire the relevant skills. Employees need to be supported in their decision making, and not criticized when they try to do something extraordinary. Employees need to be recognized for their efforts.
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Exhibit 7-4 Characteristics of Empowered People


Sense of self-determination Employees are free to choose how to do their work; they are not micromanaged. Sense of meaning Employees feel that their work is important to them; they care about what they are doing. Sense of competence Employees are confident about their ability to do their work well; they know they can perform. Sense of impact Employees believe they can have influence on their work unit; others listen to their ideas.
Source: R. E. Quinn and G. M. Spreitzer, The Road to Empowerment: Seven Questions Every Leader Should Consider, Organizational Dynamics, Autumn 1997, p. 41. Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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The Abuse of Power: Workplace Bullying


Bullying can happen across levels of the organization, or among co-workers. Recent research found that
40 percent of the respondents noted that they had experienced one or more forms of bullying weekly in the past six months. 10 percent experienced bullying at a much greater level: five or more incidents a week.
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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The Abuse of Power: Sexual Harassment


The Supreme Court of Canada defines sexual harassment as
Unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature in the workplace that negatively affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the employee.

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Examples of Sexual Harassment


There is disagreement as to what specifically constitutes sexual harassment. Includes
Unwanted physical touching. Recurring requests for dates when it is made clear the person isnt interested. Coercive threats that a person will lose her or his job if she or he refuses a sexual proposition.
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Examples of Sexual Harassment


More subtle forms (harder to interpret):
Unwanted looks or comments Off-colour jokes Sexual artifacts such as nude calendars in the workplace Sexual innuendo Misinterpretations of where the line between being friendly ends and harassment begins
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Politics: Power in Action


Political behaviour is those activities that influence, or attempt to influence, the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organization.
Legitimate: Normal, everyday behaviour Illegitimate: Extreme political behaviours that violate the implied rules of the game

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Why Do We Get Politics?


Organizations are made up of groups and individuals who have differing values, goals, and interests. Resources in organizations are limited. Performance outcomes are not completely clear and objective.

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Exhibit 7-5 A Quick Measure of How Political Your Workplace Is

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Types of Political Activity


Attacking or blaming others Using information Managing impressions Building support for ideas Praising others Building coalitions Associating with influential people Creating obligations
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Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

Impression Management
The process by which individuals attempt to control the impression others form of them. More likely used by high self-monitors than low self-monitors.
High self-monitors try to read the situation.

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Making Office Politics Work


Nobody wins unless everybody wins. Dont just ask for opinionschange them. Everyone expects to be paid back. Success can create opposition.

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Summary and Implications


1. What is power?
The capacity that A has to influence the behaviour of B, so that B acts in accordance with As wishes. There are six bases for power: coercive, reward, legitimate, expert, referent, and information. To maximize your power, you will want to increase others dependence on you.
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1. How does one get power?

1. How does dependency affect power?

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

Summary and Implications


4. What tactics can be used to increase power?
One study identified nine strategies: rational persuasion, inspirational appeals, consultation, ingratiation, personal appeals, exchange, coalition tactics, pressure, and legitimating tactics. Empowerment refers to the freedom and the ability of employees to make decisions and commitments.

4. What does it mean to be empowered?

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Summary and Implications


6. How are power and harassment related?
People who engage in harassment in the workplace are typically abusing their power position. People use politics to influence others to help them achieve their personal objectives.

6. Why do people engage in politics?

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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OB at Work

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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For Review
1. What is power? How do you get it? 2. Contrast the bases of power with influence tactics. 3. What are some of the key contingency variables that determine which tactic a power holder is likely to use? 4. Which of the six power bases lie with the individual? Which are derived from the organization? 5. State the general dependency postulate. What does it mean? 6. What creates dependency? Give an applied example.
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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For Review
7. Identify the range of empowerment that might be available to employees. 8. Define sexual harassment. Who is most likely to harass an employee: a boss, a co-worker, or a subordinate? Explain. 9. How are power and politics related? 10. Define political behaviour. Why is politics a fact of life in organizations?
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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For Critical Thinking


1. Based on the information presented in this chapter, what would you do as a recent graduate entering a new job to maximize your power and accelerate your career progress? 2. Politics isnt inherently bad. Its merely a way to get things accomplished within organizations. Do you agree or disagree? Defend your position. 3. You are a sales representative for an international software company. After four excellent years, sales in your territory are off 30 percent this year. Describe three impression management techniques you might use to convince your manager that your sales record is better than should be expected under the circumstances.

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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For Critical Thinking


4. Sexual harassment should not be tolerated at the workplace.
Workplace romances are a natural occurrence in organizations. Are both of these statements true? Can they be reconciled? 5. Which impression management techniques have you used? What ethical implications, if any, are there in using impression management?

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Breakout Group Exercises


Form small groups to discuss the following topics:
1. Describe an incident in which you tried to use political behaviour in order to get something you wanted. What tactics did you use? 2. In thinking about the incident described above, were your tactics effective? Why? 3. Describe an incident in which you saw someone engaging in politics. What was your reaction to observing the political behaviour? Under what circumstances do you think political behaviour is appropriate?
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Working With Others Exercise Understanding Bases of Power


Instructions for Role Play
Working in your group, read the instructions for the assignment. You have 10 minutes to develop a 3-minute role play, using the source of power assigned to your group. You MUST stick to the time limit.
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Role Play Scenario


You are the leader of a group that is trying to develop a website for a new client. One of your group members, who was assigned the task of researching and analyzing the websites of your clients competition, has failed twice to bring the analysis to scheduled meetings, even though the member knew the assignment was due. Consequently, your group is falling behind in getting the website developed. As leader of the group, you have decided to speak with this team member, and use your specific brand of power to influence the individuals behaviour.

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Sources of Power
COERCIVE: Depends on fear. It is the ability to punish or withhold privileges. REWARD: Based on one's control over things that others desire such as vacations, raises, promotions, and office locations. LEGITIMATE: Person holding power has right to it because of position or role. Thus the person has a formal right to direct others in certain matters and the subordinates have a duty to obey those directions. EXPERT: The perception by others that one has superior judgment or knowledge on some topics, often specialized in nature. Unlike information power, this power base does not involve sharing of the facts or reasoning behind a decision. REFERENT: Develops out of subordinates' admiration for leader and his/her desire to model behaviour and attitudes after that person. The person builds feelings of support, liking, admiration, and respect with subordinates.
Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Mean Responses to Type of Influence


Q#1
Comply

Q#1
Temp. vs. Long

Q#1
Resistant vs. Acceptant

Q#1
Worse vs. Better

Coercive Reward

1 11 .

11 . 11 . 11 . 11 . 11 .

11 . 11 . 11 . 11 . 11 .

11 . 11 . 11 . 11 . 11 .

Legitimate 11 . Expert Referent 11 . 11 .

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Discussion Questions
1. Which kind of influence is most likely to immediately result in the desired behaviour? 2. Which will have the most long-lasting effects? 3. What effect will using a particular base of power have on the ongoing relationship? 4. Which form of power will others find most acceptable? least acceptable? Why? 5. Are there some situations where a particular type of influence strategy might be more effective than others?
Source: This Working with Others exercise was inspired by one found in Judith R. Gordon, Organizational Behavior, 2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992), pp. 499502. Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Purpose of Exercise
Observe different types of power, and see how they affect you. Develop an understanding for which types of power are more likely to achieve positive (or negative) effects.
Which gets the desired behaviour? Which has most long lasting effect? How does it affect relationship? Which is most acceptable?

Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada

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Concepts to Skills: Politicking


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Frame arguments in terms of organizational goals. Develop the right image. Gain control of organizational resources. Make yourself appear indispensable. Be visible. Develop powerful allies. Avoid tainted members. Support your manager.
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Chapter 7, Nancy Langton and Stephen P. Robbins, Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour, Third Canadian Edition Copyright 2007 Pearson Education Canada