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Session 21: Power and Politics

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Hannah Weiser

on 4 December 2017

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Transcript of Session 21: Power and Politics

Steve Jobs - the "Most Powerful Person in Business"
Fortune 2007 names most powerful person in business. and in 2009, "CEO of the decade"
Transformed no fewer than five industries: computers, hollywood movies, music, retailing, and wireless phones
Draws on all six types of power:
- As CEO, unlimited position power
- able to think or markets and profucts for needs people didn't even know they had
- rich with money, time, and attention for others
- leerages inforation in each industry he transformed
- one of the "great intimidators" - known to berate people to tears. known to fear him.
- He still inspires astounding effort and creativity from people - feel like you are working on the greatest product in the world
The Role of Dependence in Power Relationships
The General Dependency Postulate
When you possess anything that others require but that you alone control, you make them dependent upon you and, therefore, you gain power over them.
Dependency, then, is inversely proportional to the alternative sources of supply. The more that a person or unit is dependent on you, the more power you have
What Creates Dependency?
Importance - the value of a resource
Scarcity - uniqueness of a resource
Nonsubstitutability - ability to find other options
The Six Bases of Power
Key Concepts
Define power
Contrast power/leadership
Contrast the six bases of power.
Explain the role of dependence in power relationships.
Identify nine power or influence tactics and their contingencies.
Define Power
Power refers to a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B, so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes.
Power may exist but not be used.
Probably the most important aspect of power is that it is a function of dependency.
A person can have power over you only if he or she controls something you desire.
Using Your Power to Manage Your Boss
What's the Difference Between Leadership and Power?
Contrast the five bases of power
Which Bases of Power Are Most Effective?
Personal sources are most effective.
Both expert and referent power are positively related to employees’ satisfaction with supervision, their organizational commitment, and their performance, whereas reward and legitimate power seem to be unrelated to these outcomes.
Coercive power usually backfires.
Nine Power/Influence Tactics
Impression Management
Actively shaping the way you are perceived by others
Leadership vs. Power
Goal compatibility
Not required
Merely dependence required
Direction of influence
Influence can be downward, upward, lateral
Focused on tactics for gaining compliance
Leaders use power as a means to an end
Goal compatibility
Some degree of congruence between the goals of the leader and those being led
Direction of influence
Focuses on the downward influence on one’s followers.
Minimizes lateral/upward influence patterns
Focuses on style, support, shared decision making
: relying on your authority position or saying a request accords with organizational policies or rules.
rational persuasion
: presenting logical arguments and factual evidence to demonstrate a request is reasonable.
inspirational appeals
: developing emotional commitment by appealing to a target’s values, needs, hopes, and aspirations.
: increasing the target’s support by involving him or her in deciding how you will accomplish your plan.
: rewarding the target with benefits or favors in exchange for following a request.
personal appeals
: asking for compliance based on friendship or loyalty.
: using flattery, praise, or friendly behavior prior to making a request.
: using warnings, repeated demands, and threats.
: inlisting the aid or support of others to persuade the target to agree.
Imagine you have been in a position for two years without a raise. After stellar performance resulting in a 10% sales increase for the firm, you are getting ready to finally request a raise. What will you say to your boss? Make an argument using each of the nine Power tactics.
Which do you think will work best?
For playback errors, Youtube: Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech
Phillip Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment
For playback errors, Youtube: The Stanford Prison Experiment - BBC
This simulation actually proved too successful in demonstrating how quickly individuals learn new roles and how conformity interacts with power.
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" -
Historian John Dalberg
A researcher at Stanford, conducted this famous experiment in the 1970s (see http://www.prisonexp.org".
He identified 24 "normal" male volunteers and randomly assigned 18 to the role of prisoner or guard.
Guards were told to keep order but received no training. Prisoners began to feel depressed and helpless while guards were aggressive and abusive.
The 2 week experiment ended after only 6 days.
Stanley Milgrim's Conformity to Authority Experiment
Tested how far individuals would go in hurting another individual when told to do so by a research
A psychologist at Yale in the 1960s
Participants believed they were engaged in an experiment on learning. The participant (teacher) would ask a series of questions to another "participant (learner)
Teachers were instructed to shock the learners whenever an incorrect answer was given
The learner was not a participant - would simply pretend to be hurt by the shocks and yell out in pain when the button was pushed
Starting at 15 volts of power, participants were asked to increase the intensity of the shocks over time
Some expressed concern when the voltage was at 135 volts, but few stopped once they were told by the researcher they would not personally be held responsible for the outcome of the experiment and that their help was needed to complete it.
In the end, all participants were willing to go up to 300 volts, and a shocking 65% were willing to administer the maximum of 450 volts even as they heard screams of pain from the learner.
For playback errors, Youtube: "Milgram experiment - Jeroen Busscher"
6. I
Similar to expert (large amount of knowledge or skill) vs. access to specific information.
Most effective approach on the job is to build credibility and maintain authenticity
May be aspects of your "true self" you choose not to disclose at work
- the clothes you choose to wear and your demeanor
- tone of voice, rate of speech, what you choose to say, how you say it
- how you perform on the job and how you interact with others
Direction of Influence
The type of influence tactic used tends to vary based on your target (boss vs. peer)
- ability to influence your boss and others in positions highers than yours (can't know everything!)
- ability to influence employees lower than you, best achieved by through an inspiring vision
- peers need to be willing to influence each other without being destructively competitive
Which is the most frequently used?
Rational Persuasion! Use PICK Analysis!
Organizational Politics
Informal, unofficial, and sometimes behind-the-scenes efforts to sell ideas, influence an organization, increase power, or achieve other targeted objectives
skill in handling conflicting agendas and shifting power bases
maintaining relationships while achieving results
not inherently bad, but have a bad reputation!
a part of organizational life because organizations are made up of different interests that need to be aligned
93% of managers surveyed reported that workplace politics exist in their organization, and 70% felt that in order to be successful, a person has to engage in politics
Researchers have found that if employees think their organization is overly driven by politics, the employees are less committed to the organization
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