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Power in Organizations

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Spencer Cathey

on 26 February 2014

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Transcript of Power in Organizations

Power in Organizations
What does power mean to you?

Weber's definition of power
"Power is the ability to impose ones will on someone else despite his or her own preferences or resistance. It is a characteristic of ones position in the chain of command" (Handel, 2003: 205).
Macht vs. Herrshaft
Power exists in every organization

Herrshaft--legitimate authority based on position in a hierarchy

Macht--illegitimate organizational power based on domination
Governor of New Jersey
Caught up in a political scandal involving alleged misuse of power and influence
Improper allocation of Hurricane Sandy Relief Funds
Chris Christie
As you all can tell, there are different ways that power can be defined.
Power is an important and necessary force in the functioning of an organization.
The Two Categories and Underlying Types of Power
Based on position in the chain of command and the formal rights attached to that position.
Coercive Power
-type of power that is dependent on fear of punishment for failing to complete task or do job properly.
Reward Power-
compliance achieved based on rewards (bonus, salary increase) that others view as valuable.
Legitimate Power
: based on position in organizational structure
Power is a necessary force
Completely Democratic vs. Monocratic
Using power positively
Organizational Structure of the YMCA
Goals to influence the community
Power in the culture

Mission Statement
"We're an inclusive
of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility" (The Y 2014).
Kanter's definition of power
"Power is the ability to accomplish things. It signifies the capacity to achieve goals, often in cooperation with others, rather than hierarchical control over others" (Handel, 2003: 209).
Spencer Cathey
Jake Cebula
Katie Daniel
Tyler Day

The 7 oh 4's
Mechanistic, Theory X, Scientific Management, Control
Organic, Theory Y, Humanistic, Commitment
The Governor's Office
Government is an example of an

We are concerned with the structure and functioning of Gov. Christie's

In the State of New Jersey only the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor are elected democratically

All cabinet members are appointed directly by the Governor with approval from the State Senate
Lieutenant Governor
Member 1
Member 2
Member 3
Gov. Christie

Herrshaft--Elected State Official

Macht--accused of misusing his legitimate authority to further is own ends at the expense of the people of New Jersey who elected him.
The Two Parts to the Christie Scandal

Hoboken Relief
"Bridgegate"--Two Options
Christie did know about this
So he is lying about his involvement and is having other people take the fall
Christie did not know about this
This is a structural failing on his part by not using his legitimate power effectively to keep control of his office
Either way, power has come into play
George Washington Bridge
Connects New York to New Jersey
Overseen by the NY/NJ Port Authority
Total New York bound traffic in 2012:
22 total toll lanes on both levels
Fort Lee, NJ has privileged use to 3 lanes was cut down to 1 on September 9, 2013
Staff Members and Political Appointees of Gov. Christie are being held accountable for these traffic jams
Including 2 officials at the Port Authority
Traffic Study or petty Political Retribution?
Members of Christie's office said they had nothing to do with the traffic delays
The lane closures were part of a traffic study
Evidence has come to light that certain political appointees did know about this plan
Bridgett Kelly email
August 13, 2013
Chris Christie's Political Standing
Potential Republican Candidate for the Presidency

Was not politically endorsed by the democratic mayor of Fort Lee
Mark Sokolich

the Christie administration was using their superior power to put political pressure on Mayor Sokolich in order to publicly gain his endorsement

Gov. Christie denies knowing about this plan and has terminated employees who have been linked to the scandal

Diary entry from Mayor Zimmer about Lt. Gov. Guadagno

“At the end of a big tour of ShopRite and meeting, she pulls me aside with no one else around and says that I need to move forward with the Rockefeller project.
It is very important to the governor
. The word is that you are against it and you need to move forward or we are not going to be able to help you.
I know it’s not right – these things should not be connected – but they are,
she says, and if you tell anyone, I will deny it.”
Hoboken, NJ was devastated by Hurricane Sandy
80% underwater
Asked for 172 million
Received $142,000 out of the 250 million available
Page from Mayor Zimmer's Diary chronicling this event
Hoboken Relief
Sandy Relief Funds
NJ mayors had to apply for funding
This puts them below Christie in the hierarchy of command
Under Christie's power to decide how available funding would be distributed throughout the state
creates the possibility that he could use funding as bargaining tool
The requests totaled more than the available 250 million
Hoboken's allotment still seems strikingly small compared to their needs
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer says her city has not received adequate financial compensation because she refuses to back a contracting plan that the Governor likes
Parallels between this allegation and Bridgegate
Zimmer says once again, it's "The Christie administration using their authority to try and get something."
The role of power in this exchange
Lt. Governor confronting a mayor
Lt. Governor has more legitimate authority in the state than does the mayor of one town
Lt. Governor is elected by the people of NJ
Lt. Gov. appeared uncomfortable by the message
Potentially coerced into it by Christie who has more legitimate authority than her within his office
Both Lt. Gov. and Gov. deny the accuracy of Zimmer's claim
Pfeffer's Necessary Conditions for Power to be exercised in an organization
A "situation of
Actions and behaviors of members effect one another to the point that it causes people to become mutually dependent in order to get things done
Competing interests arise out of
differing goals
within one organization
Scarcity of resources
leads actors with differing interests to compete in order to have their goals met
Both scandals surrounding Gov. Christie adhere to this model


Continuum between mechanistic and organic management theories
Full commitment to one structure is not always the most effective
In its most basic form an organization is goal oriented
Brief definitions of power
Explain how power is utilized in organizations
Explain how power influences organizations
Situational examples of power

Personal Power:
Influence derived from an individual's characteristics
Expert Power
: influence based on special skills or knowledge.
Referent Power
: being liked in your organization. A person who has desirable resources or personal traits.
Power comes from the organizational structure
Power flows down from the top to bottom
There is a vertical power structure
Worker power is limited
Unbalance of power within organization between management and worker
Power is more evenly balanced
Power is derived from the community rather than one individual
Power is created from the culture of the organization
Horizontal structure of power
Closing Remarks
Like organizational structures and management roles, power is a fluid, dynamic concept
Power is as multi-faceted as the organizations that are influenced by it
Recognizing where power originates from and what perpetuates that power is imperative for successful functioning within an organization
Board of Directors (CEOs, President, Finances, etc.)
Executive Committees
Finance Committee
Program Committee
Culture as a powerful tool
If there is a positive reinforcing culture within an organization. Then organization members will be more involved and productive.
If there is a negative, debilitating culture, then members can develop counter productive and not perform at their peak efficiency.
Handel, Michael J. 2003.
The Sociology of Organizations: Classic, Contemporary, and Critical Readings
. Thousand Oaks, California, London, New Delhi: Sage Publications Inc.
The Y. 2014. "The Y: About Us." Retrieved February 3, 2014 (www.ymca.net/about-us).

French, J. P. R. Jr., and Raven, B. (1960). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright and A. Zander (eds.), Group dynamics (pp. 607-623). New York: Harper and Row.
(Mumby, 1998:62)
"Governor Chris Christie."
State of New Jersey.
Retrieved February 13, 2014. (http://www.state.nj.us/governor/)
Kornacki, Steve. 2014. "Christie Camp Held Sandy Relief Money Hostage, Mayor Alleges."
. January 30, 2014. Retrieved Fabruary 13, 2014. (http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/mayor-christie-camp-held-sandy-money-hostage).
(Information from The Official Website for the State of New Jersey )
(Information from the official website for the NY/NJ Port Authority )
(Kornacki, 2014)
(Kornacki, 2014)
(Smith, 2014)
(Smith, 2014)
(Smith, 2014)
(Caldwell et. all, 2014)
(Kornacki, 2014)
(Kornacki, 2014)
(Mumby, 1988: 63-64)
"Bridges and Tunnels."
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
2014. Retrieved February 13, 2014. (http://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/gwb-facts-info.html).
Smith, Matt. 2014. "Chris Christie Bridge Scandal: a Primer."
January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/09/politics/chris-christie-bridge-primer/).
Caldwell, Leigh Ann & Chris Frates & Steve Kastenbaum & Cassie Spodak. 2014. "Hoboken Mayor Zimmer: 'It's true' Chris Christie Administration Withheld Sandy Funds."
January 20, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014. ( http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/18/politics/hoboken-mayor-christie-sandy-funds/).
Mumby, Dennis K. 1988.
Communication and Power in Organizations: Discourse, Ideology, and Domination.
Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.
Total Bureaucracy
Scientific Management
Total Democracy
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