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Human Resource Management

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Human Resource Management (MGT501)
VU
Lesson 37
POWER AND POLITICS
After studying this chapter, students should be able to understand the following:
A. Power
B. Politics In Organizations
C. Power and Politics in Context
CHAPTER OVERVIEW
This chapter explores how managers use power and organizational politics. Organizations today use power
and politics differently than in the past, given the uncertain environment and the shift to flatter hierarchies,
team structures, and employee empowerment. This chapter opens with a look at power, including the
individual and organizational sources, the effect of culture and gender, corruption of power, and potential
benefits of empowerment. Next, the chapter examines politics.
A. Power
Power, the ability of one person to influence another, is not limited to managers. Employees at all levels and
outsiders such as customers have the ability to influence the actions and attitudes of other people. Someone
need not have power to influence another person--and those with influence may not have power. Also,
power is not the same as authority. Authority is the power vested in a particular position, such as the power
of the security director.
I. Power, influence, and authority
Power is the ability of one person to influence another. It is not the same as authority, which refers to the
power vested in a particular position. It is not synonymous with influence, either, since someone who has
power may not be able to influence others while someone without power may have the ability to influence
others. Power, authority, and influence are all integral parts of any organization, although the way
II. Sources of Power
Three types of power derive from the person's formal position in the organization:
Legitimate power: It is based on a person holding a formal
position;
Legitimate
Reward Power: reward power, based on a person's access to
rewards.
Reward
Sources of
Coercive Power: coercive power, based on a person's ability
Individual
to punish.
Coercive
Two types of power derive from the individual:
Power
Expert
Expert power,: Expert power is based on personal expertise
and knowledge
Referent
Referent Power: referent power, based on a person's
attractiveness to others.
Organizational sources of power, which derive from the structure, depend on strategic contingencies--
elements that are essential to the performance and effectiveness of the organization, department, or team.
The three strategic contingencies that are sources of organizational power are: coping with uncertainty;
centrality in the resource network; and dependency and substitutability.
III. Advantages and Disadvantages of Power
Power is necessary in an organization because it helps managers fulfill their leadership responsibilities; it
also helps all employees influence others in pursuit of organizational and personal goals. Two key benefits
are the ability to inspire commitment (as a reaction to expert or referent power) and the ability to reduce
uncertainty for others in the organization. Empowerment leads to other benefits, such as support for
creativity and reduction of bureaucratic obstacles. The main disadvantage is the potential for misuse and
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Human Resource Management (MGT501)
VU
abuse, which can harm individuals and the organization.
IV. Power Corruption
Power corruption occurs when someone has a great deal of power but is not held accountable for its use.
The result is abuse of power for personal gain. The power corruption cycle starts when managers are
physically removed from their employees, they may develop an inflated view of themselves. The disparity in
power can cause employees to feel helpless, so they respond by becoming more submissive and dependent
and by flattering the manager. The consequences of the power corruption cycle are poor decision making,
use of coercion, low opinion of employees, more distance from employees, and possibly ethical or illegal
actions taken by the manager.
Organizations can prevent corruption of power by pushing for more contact between managers and
employees; reducing employees' dependence on managers; and creating an open, performance-centered
organizational culture and structure.
One of the most visible ways managers and organizations can encourage the ethical use of power is by
modeling and rewarding ethical behavior. In addition, they can establish appropriate policies and procedures
to identify and stop unethical use of power and create an organizational culture that values high ethical
standards for the use of power.
B. Politics In Organizations
Organizational politics are activities that allow people in organizations to achieve goals without going
through formal channels. Whether political activities help or hurt the organization depends on whether the
person's goals are consistent with the organization's goals. In the rational model of organizations, people are
assumed to manage logically, based on clear information and well-defined goals.
I. Elements initiating Political activities
Three elements create the conditions under which political activities thrive.
a.  Changes in any of the five strategic contextual forces (environment, technology, strategy,
culture, and structure) can generate uncertainty over resource allocation, leading to an
increase in political behavior.
b. Changes in the coordination and integration of organizational activities used to achieve
common goals can also lead to an increase in political behavior.
c.  Finally, changes in leadership, which change traditional relationships and processes, can
create an opportunity for increased political behavior.
II. Rational and political models of organizations
Organizational politics are activities that allow people in organizations to achieve goals without going
through formal channels. In the rational model of organizations, people are assumed to manage logically,
based on clear information and well-defined goals. In contrast, the political model assumes that information
is scarce, individuals and groups have diverse goals,
negotiation and alliances drive decision making, and
individual goals take the place of rational, systematic
Building Coalitions,
processes for problem solving and decision making.
Alliances, and Networks
Alliances, and Networks
Political Tactics
Political tactics are activities that fall outside the
Political
Controlling Resources
standardized, formal processes of the organization.
and Decision-Making
Tactics
Four types of political tactics are building
Processes
relationships,
controlling
resources,
image
management, and blame and ingratiation.
Employing Image
Management, Blame,
 Building Relationship
and Ingratiation
People develop relationships through coalitions,
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alliances, networks, and supportive managerial linkages. Coalitions are relationships formed over specific
issues; alliances are general agreements of support among different individuals and groups; and networks are
broad, loose support systems. Relationship building can either help or harm the organization.
a. Controlling Resources
Controlling resources and decisions, another type of political tactic, involves developing expertise,
becoming indispensable, and influencing decision criteria. Like relationship building, controlling resources
and decisions can either help or harm the organization.
b. Image Management
Image management means remaining visible and presenting oneself in the best light within the
organization. It also means knowing when to avoid association with people who are considered deviants.
c. Blame and Integration
Blaming and attacking others to deflect attention from one's mistakes--and using ingratiating behavior to
gain favor--are unethical and negative types of political actions.
Managers need to manage political behavior from two directions. First, they should seek to maintain and
encourage constructive relationships, which are essential for coordination and effectiveness within the
organization. Second, they also need to reduce negative, self-interested behaviors that can hurt the
organizations. This can be accomplished through an open, supportive organizational culture; information
sharing to reduce uncertainty; use of consistent, open, and fair processes, procedures, and rewards;
increased cooperation with decreased internal competition; and rewarding and modeling constructive
behaviors.
C. Power and Politics in Context
Power and politics are linked to strategy, structure, and culture. The development and implementation of
the organization's mission, strategy, and goals entails much uncertainty, which makes the strategic planning
process ripe for political activity. To be effective, managers must apply both power and politics as they
negotiate, build relationships, and seek cooperation from others. The structure determines how power will
be distributed in the organization, and managers need power to make structural changes in response to the
environment. National and ethnic cultural values influence how managers perceive and use power. But
power and politics also affect the organization's culture; in particular, how a top leader uses power and
politics helps shape the culture.
KEY TERMS
Power
Ability of a person to influence another.
Authority
Power vested in a particular position.
Expert Power
Based on personal expertise and knowledge in a certain area. Others
comply because they believe in the power holder's knowledge.
Legitimate Power
Based on a person holding a formal position. Others comply because they
believe in the legitimacy of the power holder.
Reward Power
Based on a person's access to rewards. Others comply because of the
desire to receive rewards.
Organizational Politics
Activities that allow people in organizations to achieve goals without
going through formal channels.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO HRM:Growing Importance of HRM, Road Map of the Course
  2. ESSENTIALS OF MANAGEMENT:Concepts and Essential of Management, Managerís Roles
  3. ORGANIZATION AND COMPONENTS OF ORGANIZATION:Open versus Closed Systems, The Hawthorne Studies
  4. PEOPLE AND THEIR BEHAVIOR:Why to work in organizations?, The Goals of Organizational Behavior
  5. INDIVIDUAL VS. GROUP BEHAVIOR:What Are Roles?, Problem solving Team
  6. PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT TO HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT:Records and Administration, Competitive Advantage
  7. HRM IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT:Productivity, New Trends at Work Place
  8. How organization Cultivate a Diverse Workforce, STEPS TOWARD MANAGEMENT OF DIVERSITY
  9. FUNCTIONS AND ENVIRONMENT OF HRM:Compensation and Benefits, Safety And Health, Interrelationships of HRM Functions
  10. LINE AND STAFF ASPECTS OF HRM:Authority, Line versus Staff Authority, Staff Manager
  11. LEGAL CONTEXT OF HR DECISIONS:Doing the Right Thing, Affirmative Action, Unintended Consequences
  12. HUMAN RESOURCE PLANNING (HRP):Benefits of HR Planning, Forecasting Human Resource Availability
  13. STRATEGIC PLANNING AND HRIS:HRís Strategic Role, Human Resource Information System, Common HRIS Functions
  14. JOB ANALYSIS:Purposes of the job Analysis, Questions Job Analysis Should Answer
  15. JOB ANALYSIS:Methods of Collecting Job Analysis Information, Observation, Source of Data
  16. JOB ANALYSIS (CONTD.):SURPLUS OF EMPLOYEES FORECASTED, Diversity through Recruiting Efforts
  17. SOURCES OF RECRUITMENT:ALTERNATIVES TO RECRUITMENT, Quantity of the Applicants, Quality of the Applicants
  18. SELECTION:Initial Screening, Advantages of Successful Screening
  19. SELECTION TESTS:Characteristics of Properly Designed Selection Tests, Guidelines for Conducting an Interview
  20. SELECTION PROCESSÖ CONTD:Background Investigations, Physical Exam, Selecting Managers
  21. SOCIALIZATION:Compensation and Benefits, Team Membership, Stages in socialization Process, Training and Development Trends
  22. TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT:Learning, Phases of Training, Why Transfer of Training Fails
  23. MAXIMIZING LEARNING:Following up on Training, Repetition, Feedback, Purposes of T & D
  24. CAREER MANAGEMENT:Individual career planning, Career Planning and Development Methods
  25. PERFORMANCE:Determinants of Job Performance, Why is performance measured?, Performance Management
  26. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL:What to Evaluate, The Appraisal Interview, PROBLEMS IN PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL
  27. JOB EVALUATION AND PRICING:THE APPRAISAL PERIOD, Ranking method,
  28. COMPENSATION SYSTEM:Pay, Job Pricing, Compensation: An Overview, Compensation Surveys
  29. BENEFITS:Total Compensation, Discretionary Benefits (Voluntary), Workplace Flexibility
  30. ROLE OF MONEY IN PERFORMANCE OF EMPLOYEES:Types of Pay-for-Performance Plans, Empower Employees
  31. MOTIVATION:The Motivation Process, Motivational Theories, Challenges of motivating employees
  32. OCCUPATION, HEALTH & SAFETY:Physical Conditions, Accident Investigation, Smoking in The work place
  33. STRESS MANAGEMENT:Symptoms of Stress, Managing Stress,
  34. COMMUNICATION IN ORGANIZATION:Burnout, Social Support at Work & Home, Communication in organization, Meetings
  35. TRADE UNIONS:Collective Bargaining, The HRM Department in a Nonunion Setting, Phases of Labor Relations
  36. CONFLICT AND NEGOTIATION:Transitions in Conflict Thought, Individual Conflict Management Styles
  37. POWER AND POLITICS:Sources of Power, Advantages and Disadvantages of PowerPower and Politics in Context
  38. EMPLOYEE RIGHTS AND DISCIPLINE:Contractual Rights, Management Rights, Disciplining Employees,
  39. DISCIPLINE (CONT...):Factors to Consider when Disciplining, Disciplinary Guidelines, Employee Separations
  40. LEADERSHIP:The Leaderís Behavior, Situational Theories of Leadership, Becoming a Leader
  41. REVISION (LESSON 12-21):Plans, Job Specification, Human resource planning, Selection Process, Corporate Culture
  42. REVISION (LESSON 22-26):Training, Case Study Method, Training, Performance
  43. REVISION (LESSON 27-35):Classification Method, Compensation, Empowerment, Mediation
  44. INTERNATIONAL DIMENSIONS OF HRM:Global Corporation, Type of staff members, Approaches to Global Staffing
  45. CONCLUSION & REVIEW:Strategies for Gaining Competitive Advantage, High-performance Work System