Power and Politics 1 Power and Politics Name University of Phoenix Power and Politics 2 Power and Politics In almost every situation, power and politics exist. It may not be as noticeable as it is in the workplace, but it still exists even in our personal relationships, in academes, in televisions, and in every sports game. This is so because in a group, there will always be that person who will assert authority, or at times appointed with the authority to dominate the decision making-process, which is already politics. When one has the right or assumes the right to dominate, then he or she naturally has power. The existence and level of power and politics in a team can be easily seen based on how interconnected every individual is with each other (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008). Ideally, people that belong to a group should strive for their own goals while considering the needs and goals of others, as well. With this, this paper will explore the role of politics in management. Power Vs. Politics If we base it on the context of organizational behavior, a person with power is someone who has the ability and control to instruct other people to do something. Powerful people are also in charge of directing the organization (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008). The effect of the power of a certain person is referred to as influence, and it will be depicted in the response and behavior of the subordinates due to the power of another person. With this, in the organizational level, power is simply the direct or indirect control over other people’s behavior (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008). Managerial power is a combination of two kinds of power such as positional and personal. Positional power has many forms, and it is technically something that is legally given to a person. Forms of positional power are information power, legitimate power, process power, Power and Politics 3 representative power, and reward or coercive power. A manager has the right to direct or control people due to legitimate power or simply because of the position that he or she has in the organization. On the other hand, a manager may also use incentives or rewards in order to gain control over people. Punishments are also sometimes used by managers. There are not many examples that can be used in the rest of the positional forms, but the main point is each of these powers are gained through the official position that a person holds in an organization for a certain period of time. Personal power is mainly intricate, and is not associated at all with the official position of the person in an organization. Charisma is one famous form of personal power, moreover, referent power, expert power, rational power, and coalition power. Based on the expert power and rational power, we can easily have an idea what personal power is really all about. It is mainly about the skill and credibility of a person, which are also powerful in influencing people. Specifically, expert power refers to a leader’s unique skills, knowledge, and experiences, thus people feel more compelled to believe and follow them. On the other hand, having rational power means being persuasive and organized enough to encourage other people to follow and achieve shared goals (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008). Unfortunately, it is from this very nature of power and politics that some disadvantages and abuses happen such as favouritism, bribery, illicit deals, and unnecessary personal dealings (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008). Politics and power do not always exist for this sort of results, though. Given a healthier and noble perspective, these two can further boost the performance of an organization. There are two forms of politics that exist in an organization. One is centralized, which means it revolves around the self-interest of anyone who is in power. The next one Power and Politics 4 is the non-sanctioned means, which technically happens when the management of an organization derives a certain result that is not included in the policies of the organization (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008). To illustrate this further, the case of Enron can be best used. The CEOs of this company resorted to creative accounting, so that their subsidiary losses could not be seen in the reports. The stakeholders and the public would not have a way of knowing that Enron is not doing well. Moreover, the CEO utilized both personal and positional power to influence employees to buy company stocks, which means the prices will raise, and the company will seem to have strong image. Eventually, the fallacy was revealed, and the CEOs had to sell all their remaining stocks, which means all the investments of their stakeholders were wasted. In a general societal situation, politics also exist because of the differences between people. Everyone lives for different reasons, and naturally, each person will strive hard to achieve their goals in the society. Thus, organizational politics is simply a small society that uses power and politics to arrive at its desired end. Power and Political Strategies Given the fact that power and politics have different forms, managers will definitely have a lot of options on how they create positive changes in the organization. Before doing anything, the managers should first recognize the fact that most of the employees will be resistant to change, and gaining their cooperation along the process can be the major challenge. By keeping this in mind, the managers can device a better and more influential strategy that is geared towards gaining the support of the rest of the organizational members. A combination that can possibly work wonders is the rational persuasion, force-coercion, and shared-power strategy. With this, people will be more Power and Politics 5 motivated to cooperate because of the rewards at hand, or they might also be afraid of the possible consequences of not complying. However, this case cannot guarantee long-term compliance because, in the first place, people cooperated because of the short-term benefits. Once those benefits or threats run out, things can still go back to being complicated. This strategy is only healthy when the compliance of the people is also out of their own interest, aside from the rewards involved. With rational persuasion, the manager can clearly lay out the direction of the company once all those changes are laid out. This will best work for people who are also rational enough and those who truly understand the reasons behind the decisions. Finally, people who will be greatly affected by the company changes will be the top priority of shared-power strategy, and this will involve the use of referent power. This means that the manager considers the personal preferences of the people, but on the other hand the manager would also provide his or her own input regarding the changes. Among the three strategies, the later would result to better and longer effects, if properly implemented (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008). Unlike the usual beliefs, organizational politics have its good side as well. In fact, it is one of the most evident aspects in an organization that is currently undergoing changes or challenges. On the other hand, acquiring power is generally acceptable especially when the person really has strong desires to create changes in an organization. Power and Politics 6 Reference Schermerhorn, J., Hunt, J., & Osborn, R., (2008). Organizational Behavior (10th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.