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Dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat Institute of Administrative Studies University of Wrocław Power in organizations.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat Institute of Administrative Studies University of Wrocław Power in organizations."— Presentation transcript:

1 dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat Institute of Administrative Studies University of Wrocław Power in organizations

2 Organizations can be defined as systems of power:  an interconnected series of order-givers and order-followers  tools by which those people with power can use other people to achieve particular goals Power in organizations

3 It is important to note that:  individuals who are not formally designated as order- givers in an organization may also wield power, that is, be able to get others to carry out their wishes  individuals who are not official members of the organization may influence others in the organization to do as they wish From this point of view we can think of power in and around organizations. Power in organizations

4 dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat Relational character of power Power has to do with relationships between two or more actors in which the behavior of one is affected by the behavior of the other. Robert A. Dahl: A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something B would not otherwise do. This simple definition captures the essence of the power con- cept. It implies an important point that is often neglected: the power variable is a relational one. A manager, a group or a de- partment cannot have power in isolation; rather, the concept describes a relationship between a given individual or organiza- tional unit and another specified person or collectivity. Power in organizations

5 Robert. A. Dahl (born 1915)

6 dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat Types of power: authority Richard H. Hall, Pamela S. Tolbert: Authority is a type of power that is based on the acceptance by others of a given individual’s legitimate right to issue orders or directives. Thus, orders are followed because it is believed that they ought to be followed; recipients are expected to „suspend judgment” and comply voluntarily. The exercise of authority requires a common value system among members of a collectivity: one that defines who has the right to give orders to whom, and under what conditions. Power in organizations

7 Pamela S. Tolbert

8 dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat Max Weber: Authority (rational-legal, traditional, and charismatic authority) is the probability that certain specific commands (or all commands) from a given source will be voluntarily obeyed by a given group of people. Rational-legal authority rests on a belief in the legality of patterns of nor- mative rules and the right of those elevated to authority under such rules to issue commands. Rational-legal authority characterizes most power relation- ships in contemporary organizations. Traditional authority rests on a belief in the sanctity of immemorial tradi- tions (on a belief that an established set of social relations is divinely intend- ed) and the legitimacy of the status of those exercising authority under them. The system of pope, cardinals, archbishops, and so on in the Roman Catholic Church reflects the belief in a divinely ordained set of relations. Charismatic authority rests on devotion to the specific and exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person and of nor- mative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him. If a person with rational-legal authority can extend this through the exercise of charismatic authority, he has more power over subordinates than that prescribed by the organization. This additional power may be harnessed to enhance the perfor- mance of the organizations. Power in organizations

9 Max Weber ( )

10 dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat Sanford M. Dornbusch and W. Richard Scott distinguished: Endorsed power: subordinates accept and comply with the orders given by their superiors (bottom-up view of authority). Herbert A. Simon: The most striking characteristic of the „subordinate” role is that it establishes an area of acceptance in behavior within which the subordinate is willing to accept the decisions made for him by his superior. […] the superior is merely a bus driver whose passengers will leave unless he takes them in the direction they wish to go. They leave him only minor discretion as to road to be followed. Authorized power: an individual’s orders are supported and enforced by higher-level members of an organization, and ultimately, by the larger society (top-down view of authority). E.g. M. Weber’s top-down approach is based on the assumption that noncompliance with an order given by a person with normatively approved authority will result in the application of sanctions by the larger group. The above distinction addresses an old debate over the locus of authority in organizations. By distinguishing between endorsed and authorized power they recognized that authority has both bottom-up and top-down aspects. The distinction is useful in thinking about situations involving different types of organizational conflicts over authority: mutiny, coup d’etat, civil disobie- dence, revolution, and so forth. Power in organizations

11 Sanford M. DornbuschW. Richard Scott

12 dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat Other types of power Although authority is an important type of power in organizations, it is not the only type. Other types of power relationships entail dependency: one party’s need or desire for something that another party can provide. When two parties need each other equally, their dependency is mutual. But when dependency is not balanced, then one actor may have more power over another then vice versa. The things that actors may possess or control that can be sources of power are usually referred to as (power) resources. Basic resources that may provide organizational members with power above and beyond the formal authority they hold are:  persons  information  instrumentalities (physical or tangible resources, such as ma- chinery, office supplies, and money)  nontangible, social factors (such as status and friendship) Power in organizations

13 Access to resources of power can be affected by:  the official/formal organizational position an individual holds  structural position (thought in terms of network relations): links to others provide access to information and power  personal characteristics (e.g. social attractiveness or intelligence) Having access to resources that others desire isn’t sufficient, by itself, to provide individuals with power. Rather power rests on how much these resources are highly valued or considered to be important, whether their acquisition is difficult or uncertain, and whether other resources can be substituted for them or not. It’s important to emphasize that the value, uncertainty, and lack of substitutability of resources are not necessarily given – these qualities can be socially constructed, or manipulated.

14 Shifts in power There is not a fixed amount of power in the organization for all the time; the amount of power can expand (or contract) due to:  delegation  empowerment  employeeship Power in organizations

15 dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat Delegation Delegation is the downward transfer of authority from su- perior to subordinate (or subordinates). The subordinate is empowered to act for the superior, while the superior remains accountable for the outcome. Delegation of au- thority is a person-to-person relationship requiring trust, commitment, and contracting between the superior and the subordinate. Power in organizations

16 dr hab. Jerzy Supernat Good News Bible, Exodus; 18, 13-23: The next day Moses was settling disputes among the people, and he was kept busy from morning till night. When Jethro saw everything that Moses had to do, he asked, „What is all this that you are doing for the peo- ple? Why are you doing this all alone, with people standing here from morn- ing till night to consult you?”. Moses answered, „I must do this because the people come to me to learn God’s will. When two people have a dispute, they come to me, and I decide which one of them is right, and I tell them God’s commands and laws”. Then Jethro said, „You are not doing it the right way. You will wear yourself out and these people as well. This is too much for you to do alone. Now let me give you some good advice […] you should choose some capable men and appoint them as leaders of the people: leaders of thousands, hun- dreds, fifties, and tens. They must be God-fearing men who can be trusted and who cannot be bribed. Let them serve as judges for the people on a permanent basis. They can bring all the difficult cases to you, but they them- selves can decide all the smaller disputes. This will make it easier for you, as they share your burden. If you do this, as God commands, you will not wear yourself out, and all these people can go home with their disputes settled”. Power in organizations

17 dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat Benefits of delegating: leaves delegator (superior) free to concentrate on more important strategic issues increases job satisfaction for delegator and subordinate helps subordinate to develop new skills helps subordinate to grow in confidence provides an opportunity to assess subordinates’ potential fosters teamwork helps create a more motivated workforce enhances morale improves communication through feedback creates fresh insights into work issues helps create a climate for achievement ultimately speeds up results reduces costs (subordinate’s time is less expensive than delegator’s time) increases chances of promotion for delegator ensures smooth succession when delegator is promoted Power in organizations

18 Power outcomes  compliance and involvement - alienative involvement (associated with the use of coercion) - calculative involvement (associated with the use of remunerative rewards) - moral involvement (associated with the use of symbolic rewards satisfying social or psychological needs)  persuasion - direct discussion with the person who has issued an order - going over the boss’s head  withdrawal - complete departure from the organization - psychological disengagement (making only the barest efforts required to remain in the organization)  conflict (the resistance to power) The recipient of exercised power Power in organizations

19 Conflict Conflict arises whenever individuals or groups (organizational units) perceive differences in their preferences involving decision outcomes, and they use power to try to promote their own preferences over others. Power in organizations

20 There is a strong tendency to view conflicts as necessarily harmful, or bad for organizations. However, research indicates that conflict can serve positive functions in organizations. The pervasiveness and constancy of conflict in organizations calls into question the propensity to attribute conflict to individual failings: trouble is due to trouble-makers. Organizational conflicts stem from differentiation, which leads people and units to have different and opposing interests, from overlapping or similarity in the functions of two units, and from interest-group struggles over the organizational rewards of status, prestige, and monetary reward. Power in organizations

21 Components of conflict situations:  parties involved (at least two)  field of conflict (alternative outcomes toward which conflict can move)  dynamics of the conflict situation (e.g. if one of the parties becomes more militant, the other will probably do the same)  management (control, resolution) of conflict Power in organizations

22 Methods of dealing with conflict as seen by Mary Parker Follett ( )  domination  compromise integration

23 Aftermath The resolution of a conflict leads to a stage that is known as the aftermath. This is a useful concept because conflict resolution does not lead to a condition of total settlement:  if the basic issues are not resolved, the potential for future, and perhaps more serious, conflicts is part of the aftermath  if the conflict resolution leads to more open communication and cooperation among the participants, that, too, is part of aftermath Power in organizations

24 Concluding remark dr. hab. Jerzy Supernat We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace. William E. Gladstone,

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