The paper "The Role of Power and Politics in Organizations" is an outstanding example of management coursework. Organisations consist of formal and informal rules that organize and direct actions of people from diverse backgrounds within the organisation. In order to make sure that these individuals with diverse interests, backgrounds and knowledge adhere to the set out organisational rules, the concept of power and politics is often drawn into perspective (Lunenburg 2012). This paper explores the concept of power and politics in the workplace, how a manager could work to acquire power and become politically active, the impact of power and politics in organizations, and the ethical implications of power and politics in organizations. The concept of power in the workplace Power as a concept covers the processes, mechanisms and outlooks that attempt – although not often productively -- to see to it that the employees act in accordance with the rules of the workplace.
This implies that power is a central concept in management theory and practice. Indeed, a fundamental theory of power known as the exchange theory promotes the assumption that in the wider organisational context, the emphasis is placed on the interpersonal relationship between the subordinates and the leaders and managers, where the followers are considered as capable of offering insight into the complicity of organisation and power (Clegg 2004). The concept of power in organisations has varied interpretations.
Classically, power in organisations is depicted by Max Weber (1947) to be directly related to the structure, hierarchy or legitimacy. However, during the times of organisational change, illegitimate power may be depicted to be of considerable significance. The concept of power, as interpreted by Max Weber (1947), is, therefore, the likelihood of an individual assuming a position within a social relationship to undertake his will in spite of resistance.
According to Jeffrey Pfeffer (1992), it is the latent capacity to influence behaviours, alter the courses of events, prevail over resistance and to influence individuals within the organisation to undertake activities they would otherwise not. At this stage, the concept of power needs to be differentiated from influence and authority. Influence is broader in concept and describes the capacity to change other individual’ s courses of action by altering their satisfaction criteria, in order to develop their performance.
On the other hand, authority describes the right to direct other individuals and ask them to undertake or engage in activities they would otherwise not do. Therefore, in addition to being legitimate in nature, it is practised within the organisation. As a result, authority and power are two different terms since the acceptance and legitimacy of authority within the context of the organisation is broader in nature than power. As a result, it shows the readiness of the employees to submit to the leader’ s influence in spite of the absence of power. The concept of politics in the workplace Politics in the workplace is concerned with exercising authority and power to create relationships with the view of getting things done.
Simply put, it is concerned with influencing people within the workplace to attain organisational objectives. Filion and Hedwig (1999) defined it as the use of assigned or individual power in influencing the organisation, in order to obtain advantages outside the legitimate authority, including the capacity to access tangible or intangible benefits. Such tangible and intangible benefits may include pseudo-authority of higher status that could be applied in influencing the behaviour of other individuals.
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