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Power and Influence in the Workplace

When Being The Boss Isn't Enough

Wendy Nguyen

on 18 October 2013

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Transcript of Power and Influence in the Workplace

Power and Influence
The real issue at hand

Power and Influence
When Being The Boss Isn't Enough
"The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself"
Chan v Gosling
- There is disagreement between Ms Chan and Dr Gosling, with staff not obeying her directions and complying with Gosling's requests
- Ms Chan and Dr Gosling are divided on the issue of transferring a patient to a better facility
- Patient stayed after Dr Gosling was backed by other medical staff, but as Ms Chan had suspected, the financial cost of keeping the patient in intensive care has now caused a problem for her
- Dr Gosling requested the dismissal of a senior nurse but Ms Chan had denied him saying he should be more understanding of others' responsibilities.

Sources of Power
Sources of power create the base of the formation of influence where the contingencies translate it into real power
Ms Chan holds legitimate power in CHAC due to her role of being CEO
Dr Gosling has also legitimate power due to his position in the company
He also possess expert and referent power in his clinic
Contingency of substitution
Central Health Aged Care Service (CHAC)
- Government-owned, employs 500 staff including nurses, doctors, allied health staff and administrative staff
- Provides in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation services to elderly
- Strict funding by government depending on how many patients are treated
- CEO Marcia Chan oversees day-to-day, reports to board
- Chair of the board Lewis Clark has been chair for three months since retiring from being a local GP for many years
Clinical services overseen by medical director, Dr Ryan Gosling who has 20 years experience at CHAC
Applied unsuccessfully for the job of CEO when Ms Chan was appointed
Learning Outcomes
Describe the dependence model of power and sources of power
Discuss contingencies of power
Describe types of influence tactics, consequences of influencing others and contingencies to consider when choosing an influence tactic
Explain how people and work units gain power through social networks
Identify the organisational conditions and personal characteristics that support organisational politics
- Influence is an essential process to which people coordinate their effort and act in concert to achieve organisational objectives.
- It is central to the definition of leadership
- Influence operates in up, down, across and the corporate hierarchy.
Types of influence tactics can be “hard” or “soft” influence tactics.
Hard influence tactics force behavior change through position power
- Silent Authority
- Assertiveness
- Information control
- Coalition formation
- Upward appeal
Consequences and contingencies of influence tactics
Three ways people react when others try to influence them
1. Resistance – oppose the behavior desired by influencer
2. Compliance - motivated to implement influencers request at minimal level of effort. Although without external sources to prompt the desired behavior it would not occur
3. Commitment – strongest form of influence, people identify with request, are highly motivated to implement it even when extrinsic sources of motivation are no longer present.
Soft influence tactic, rely on personal sources of power such as expertise and appeal
to the target person’s attitudes and needs.
- Persuasion
- Ingratiation/ Impression management
- Exchange
One contingency is which sources of power are strongest.
- Those with expertise have more influence using persuasion.
- Those of strong legitimate power are more successful in applying silent authority.

Second contingency is whether the person being influenced is higher than, lower than or at the same level in the organisation as those whom they are trying to influence.
- For example employees may face consequences by being to assertive with their bosses.

Third contingency is depends on personal, organisational and cultural values
- Strong power orientation - use assertiveness
- Conformity - upward appeal
- Competitive nature - information control coalition formation
- Learning orientation - influence through persuasion
- Ingratiation common with managers in United States than in Hong Kong. Preferred influence tactic vary across societal cultures.
- Political tactics: selfish influence tactics
- issue in situations of change and decision making
- political tactics serve the individual

Political behaviour occurs because:
- scarcity of resources
- Role ambiguity
- High performance pressures
- Competition between employees

Case Study

- Chan: wants to protect CHAC’s expenses and resources
- Gosling: wants to demonstrate medical abilities by treating patient

- Input from Dr Clark
- Clear rules over use of resources
- Encouragement of altruism and patient based focus

What should have been done
What to do now
clear role perception
team work encouragement
address Chan and Gosling's relationship
clarification of rules
Presented by Madeleine Walsh, Maryanne Sakr, Tom Ortiz & Wendy Nguyen
Power is the capacity of a person, team or organisation to influence others
Power only works when the person or group is seen to be dependent on another person or group for value
Countervailing power in which one person in the relationship has the ability to keep the more powerful person in the exchange relationship, as they provide some value to this person
Ms Chan is person A and Dr Gosling is person B
Reasons for the power struggle
Both parties involved possess sources of power
Ms Chan does not possess a contingency to translate her source of power into real power
Dr Gosling does possess a contingency, hence why he has influence in his clinic
Chan v Gosling continued
- After constant disagreement with Chan this has led to him tendering his resignation with Chair of the board Dr Clark via email stating he cannot work while his judgements are challenged and disrespected by Chan
- Dr Clark was not fully aware that their discontent had worsened to this stage of conflict
- The board is impressed with the work that Chan has done as CEO, however they don't want to lose Gosling as he is a very good doctor and has strong support from staff and that if he leaves, they too will leave
Formation of power
Full transcript