Chapter Eleven

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Transcript Chapter Eleven

Chapter
Eleven
Power,
Politics,
And
Conflict
Thomson South-Western
Wagner & Hollenbeck 5e
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Chapter Overview
 This chapter examines the following topics:
– Power in Organizations
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Interpersonal Sources of Power
Conformity Responses to Interpersonal Power
A Model of Interpersonal Power: Assessment
Structural Sources of Power
The Critical Contingencies Models: Assessment
– Politics and Political Processes
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Personality and Politics
Conditions That Stimulate Politics
Political Tactics
Managing Destructive Politics
– Conflict in Organizations
• Is Conflict Necessarily Bad?
• Conditions That Stimulate Conflict
• Effects of Conflict
– Negotiation and Restructuring
• Managing Diverging Interests
• Managing Structural Interdependence
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Introduction
 Power, politics, and conflict in
firms can increase productivity
and efficiency or reduce them
substantially
 Understanding power, politics,
and conflict is critical to
managerial success and
survival in today’s business
organizations
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Power in Organizations
 Power is the ability both to
influence the conduct of
others and to resist unwanted
influence in return
 According to David
McClelland, people are driven
to gain and use power by a
need for power
 This need for power can have
several different affects on the
way people think and behave
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Interpersonal Sources of Power
 In their pioneering
research, John French
and Bertram Raven
identified the major
bases or sources of
power in organizations
– Reward power: based
on the ability to allocate
desirable outcomes
– Coercive power: based
on the distribution of
undesirable outcomes
– Legitimate power:
based on norms, values,
and beliefs that teach
that particular people
have the legitimate right
to govern or influence
others
– Referent (or
charismatic) power:
possessed by someone
who is highly admired
– Expert power: derives
from the possession of
expertise, knowledge,
and talent
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Conformity Responses to
Interpersonal Power
 Three distinctly different types of reactions
are likely to occur as people respond to
attempts to influence their behavior
– Compliance: ensues when people conform
to the wishes or directives of others so as to
acquire favorable outcomes for themselves
in return
– Identification: occurs when people accept
the direction or influence of others because
they identify with the power holders and
seek to maintain relationships with them
– Internalization: people may adopt others’
attitudes and behaviors because this course
of action satisfies their personal needs or
those attitudes and behaviors are congruent
with their personal values
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A Model of Interpersonal Power:
Assessment
 French and Raven describe the different kinds of interpersonal
power used in organization and Kelman identifies how people
respond to this use
 Although valuable as a tool for understanding power and its
consequences, the model integrating these ideas is not without fault
– Questions arise as to whether the five bases of power are completely
independent or whether they are so closely interrelated as to be
virtually indistinguishable
 The idea that reward, coercive, and legitimate power often derive
from company policies and procedures has led some researchers to
subsume these three types of power in a single category labeled
organizational power
 Similarly, because expert and referent power are both based on
personal expertise and charisma, they are sometimes lumped
together into the category of personal power
 The model created by joining French and Raven’s classification
scheme with Kelman’s theory is useful in analyzing social influence
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and interpersonal power
Structural Sources of Power
 Power also derives from the
structure of patterned work
activities and flows of information
found in every organization
 Characteristics of organizations
that shape power relations include:
– Uncertainty reduction
– Substitutability
– Centrality
 These three variables combine to
form the critical contingencies
model of power
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Uncertainty Reduction
Substitutability
 Critical contingencies
 If others can serve as
are the things that an
substitutes and reduce
organization and its
uncertainty, then
various parts need to
individuals or
accomplish
departments that need
organizational goals and
help in coping can turn
continue surviving
to a variety of sources
for aid
 Ways to reduce
uncertainty include:
 The less substitutability
present in a situation,
– Resource control
the more likely that a
– Information control
particular person or
– Decision-making control
group will be able to
 Reducing uncertainty
amass power
depends partly on their
substitutability
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Centrality
 The ability of a person or
group to acquire power is
also influenced by its
centrality or its position
within the flow of work in
the organization
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The Critical Contingencies
Model: Assessment
 Research strongly supports the critical contingencies
model’s suggestion that power is a function of
uncertainty reduction, substitutability, and centrality
 An intriguing piece of evidence supporting the critical
contingencies model was discovered by Michel Crozier
– Government-owned tobacco company example
 The critical contingencies model appears to describe
the structural bases of power quite accurately
 Its utility for contemporary managers lies in the
observation that the roots of power lie in the ability to
solve crucial organizational problems
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Politics and Political Processes
 Politics can be defined as activities in
which individuals or groups engage so
as to acquire and use power to
advance their own interests
 In essence, politics is power in action
 Although political behavior can be
disruptive, it is not necessarily bad
 Politics can enhance organizational
well-being by ridding companies of
familiar but dysfunctional ways of
doing things
 Research indicates that politicking
does occur and has measurable effects
on organizational behavior
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Personality and Politics
 Researchers have suggested that people who
exhibit the personality characteristic of
machiavellianism, the tendency to seek to
control other people through opportunistic,
manipulative behavior, may also be inclined
toward politics
 Studies have indicated that self-conscious
people may be less likely than others to
become involved in office politics because they
fear being singled out as a focus of public
attention and being evaluated negatively for
engaging in politics
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Conditions That Stimulate
Politics
 Certain conditions encourage political
activity in organizations:
– Uncertainty
– Organizational size
– Hierarchical level
– Membership heterogeneity
– Decision importance
 Politicking is more prevalent in larger
organizations than small ones and more
common among middle and upper
managers
 Important decisions stimulate more
politics than unimportant decisions
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Political Tactics
 When personal characteristics
and surrounding conditions
favor them, a variety of political
tactics may surface
 Each tactic is intended to
increase the power of one person
or group relative to others
 When power increases, so does
the likelihood that the person or
group will be able to seek out
and acquire self-interested gains
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Acquiring Interpersonal Power: Forming
Affiliations
Acquiring Structural Power: Controlling
Critical Resources
 Forming coalitions or political

affiliations with each other represents
an important way for people to
increase their power and pursue
political gain beyond their individual 
grasp
 In cooptation, former rivals become
transformed into allies, often by
involving them in planning and
decision-making processes
 Ingratiation, the use of praise and 
compliments to gain favor and
acceptance of others, and impression
management, involves behaving in
ways intended to build a positive
image, can be used to build and
maintain political relationships
Controlling the supply of a critical
resource gives people power over
those whose success or survival
depends on having that resource
Political players often attempt to
control access to important
resources, information, and the
people who are the sources of
important information or
expertise
To succeed as a political tactic,
controlling access to important
resources, information, or people
requires eliminating substitutes
for these critical resources and
discrediting alternative definitions
of what is critical
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Negative Politics
 If all else fails, a person may gain the
political upper hand by attacking or
blaming others or making them
scapegoats for failures
 Another tactic is to denigrate or
belittle others’ accomplishments
 Either approach involves a direct
attack on the interpersonal sources of
power that others might possess in an
attempt to weaken their political
positions
 Negative politicking can justify the
creation of substitute sources of
critical resources or information or
reduction of the degree of centrality
enjoyed by a person or group
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Managing Destructive Politics
 Some of the consequences when people band
together, hoard resources, or belittle each
other for no other reason than to get their own
way include:
– Morale may suffer
– Battle lines between contending individuals or
groups may impede important interactions
– Energy that should be go into productive activities
may be spent on planning attacks and
counterattacks
 Controlling political behavior is a major part
of every manager’s job
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Managing Destructive Politics
 Managing destructive politics
includes:
– Setting an example
– Communicating openly
– Reducing uncertainty
– Managing informal coalitions and
cliques
– Confronting political game players
– Anticipating the emergence of
damaging politics
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Conflict in Organizations
 Conflict, a process of opposition
and confrontation that can occur
in organizations between either
individuals or groups, occurs
when parties exercise power in the
pursuit of valued goals or
objectives and obstruct the
progress of other parties
 The keys in this definition include
the idea that conflict involves the
use of power in confrontation,
that it is a process, and is a
problem managers must be able to
control
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Is Conflict Necessarily Bad?
Conditions That Stimulate Conflict
 For conflict to occur, three key conditions
 Conflict might
must exist:
seem inherently
undesirable, but
– Interdependence: where there is
contemporary
dependence on each other for
theorists argue
assistance, information, feedback, or
that conflict is
other coordinative relations
not necessarily
– Political indeterminism: the political
bad
pecking order is unclear and subject to
 Current research
question
suggests that
conflict is often
– Divergence: there must be differences
functional,
or disagreements worth fighting over
having positive
 Other conditions contributing to conflict
effects
include: time orientations, resource
 Conflict can
allocations, practices used to evaluate and
serve as a red
reward, status discrepancies, jurisdictional
flag signaling the
disputes, and differing values, assumptions, 21
need for change
and general perceptions
Effects of Conflict
 Conflict affects relationships
among people and groups in
many ways:
– Increased group cohesiveness
– Stimulates an emphasis on task
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–
–
–
–
performance
Submission to autocratic
leadership
Structural rigidity
“We-they” attitudes
Distorted perceptions of opposing
groups
Decrease in communication
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Negotiation and Restructuring
 A variety of conflict-management
techniques have been developed to
help resolve conflict and deal with
the negative effects
 In general, these techniques are of
two types, bargaining and
negotiation procedures that focus
on managing divergence among the
interests of conflicting parties and
restructuring techniques that focus
on managing interdependence
between conflicting individuals and
groups
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Managing Diverging Interests
 Bargaining between conflicting parties consists of
offers, counteroffers, and concessions
 Negotiation is the process in which the parties decide
what each will give and take in the exchange
 Five general approaches to managing divergent
interests exist that are characterized by different
mixes of assertiveness and cooperativeness:
–
–
–
–
–
Competition
Accommodation
Avoidance
Collaboration
Compromise
 The appropriateness of each of these approaches
depends on the situation and the time pressure for a
negotiated settlement
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Managing Structural Interdependence
 Conflict requires
interdependence
 It can be managed or
resolved by restructuring
the connections that tie
conflicting parties
together
 Ways to accomplish this
goal include:
– Develop superordinate
goals
– Expanding the supply of
critical resources
– Clarify existing
relationships
– Modifying existing
structural relationships
• Decoupling
mechanisms of slack
resources and selfcontained tasks
• Unit-linking
mechanisms:
• Network
information systems
• Lateral linkage
devices:
• Liaison position
• Representative
groups: task force
and standing
committees
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Managing Structural
Interdependence
 When neither liaison positions
nor representative groups
solve intergroup conflict
problems, a third type of
linkage device called an
integrating manager, can be
used
 In rare instances a fourth type
of lateral linkage device called
the matrix organization
structure is employed
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