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Culture, power, politics and choice (Chapter 5)

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1 Culture, power, politics and choice (Chapter 5)

2 Organisational culture
Importance We do not work in a vacuum. The way we work and behave is shaped, directed and tempered by the culture of the organisation to which we belong. Organisations are miniature societies.

3 The Current fascination with culture
Arose in the 1980s from the work of: Peters and Waterman (1982) Allen and Kraft (1982) Deal and Kennedy (1982) However, Blake and Mouton (1969) had linked culture and performance in the 1960s.

4 Why the ‘Culture Craze’ of the 1980s?
The decline of the West The rise of Japan.

5 What is culture? (Drennan, 1992:3) Culture is ‘how things are done
around here’. It is what is typical of the organization, the habits, the prevailing attitudes, the grown-up pattern of accepted behaviour. (Drennan, 1992:3)

6 A few more definitions The culture of the factory is its customary and traditional way of thinking and doing things, which is shared to a greater or lesser degree by all its members and which new members must learn, and at least partially accept, in order to be accepted into service in the firm. (Jacques, 1952: 251) Culture ... is a pattern of beliefs and expectations shared by the organization’s members. These beliefs and expectations produce norms and powerfully shape the behaviour of individuals and groups in the organization. (Schwartz and Davis, 1981: 33) A quality of perceived organizational specialness – that it possesses some unusual quality that distinguishes it from others in the field. (Gold, 1982: 571–572)

7 A few more definitions (Continued)
By culture I mean the shared beliefs top managers in a company have about how they should manage themselves and other employees, and how they should conduct business(es). (Lorsch, 1986:95) Culture represents an interdependent set of values and ways of behaving that are common in a community and that tend to perpetuate themselves, sometimes over long periods of time. (Kotterand Hesketh, 1992: 141)

8 Why is culture important?
Culture shapes behaviour Friendly or Aggressive Proactive or Passive Concerned or Not Bothered Teamworker or Solo Player Rule Follower or Rule Breaker.

9 Implications of culture
Behaviour is not shaped by extrinsic and intrinsic motivators but by values, beliefs and assumptions. Culture guides actions but only when it is strong and unchallenged. Some cultures are better than others. If values, beliefs and attitudes can be learned, they can also be changed.

10 Handy’s four types of culture
Person – The individual is the central focus. Found amongst artists, performers, barristers, architects. Power – Power radiates out from the centre like a spider’s web. Found in small entrepreneurial companies, family dominated companies, etc. Role – Found in bureaucracies where the main emphasis is on compliance with rules and procedures. Task – The emphasis is on completing the job or project. Found in organisations which require teamwork, flexibility and speed, such as advertising agencies. Main cultures in the UK = Role and Task Handy (1986)

11 Deal and Kennedy’s four types of culture
The Tough Guy, Macho culture, characterised by individualism and risk-taking, e.g. a police force. The Work-Hard/Play-Hard culture, characterised by low risks and quick feedback on performance, e.g. McDonald’s. The Bet-Your-Company culture, characterised by high risks and very long feedback time, e.g. aircraft companies. The Process culture, characterised by low risks and slow feedback, e.g. insurance companies. Deal and Kennedy (1982)

12 Quinn and McGrath’s four types of culture
The Market, characterised by rational decision-making and goal-orientated employees, e.g. GEC under Arnold Weinstock. The Adhocracy, characterised by risk-orientated and charismatic leaders and value-driven organisations, e.g. Apple and Microsoft in their early days. The Clan, characterised by participation, consensus and concern for others, e.g. voluntary organisations. The Hierarchy, characterised by hierarchical, rule-based authority that values stability and risk avoidance, e.g. government bureaucracies. Quinn and McGrath (1985)

13 Organisational Culture Inventory classifications
Constructive cultures. Cultures in which members are encouraged to interact with others and approach tasks in ways that will help them to meet their higher-order satisfaction needs (includes Achievement, Self-Actualization, Humanistic-Encouraging and Affiliative cultures). Passive/Defensive cultures. Cultures in which members believe that they must interact with people in defensive ways that will not threaten their own security (includes Approval, Conventional, Dependent and Avoidance cultures). Aggressive/Defensive cultures. Cultures in which members are expected to approach tasks in forceful ways to protect their status and security (includes Oppositional, Power, Competitive and Perfectionist cultures). (Jones et al, 2006: 18)

14 Hofstede’s national clusters
Scandinavia (primarily Denmark, Sweden and Norway): these cultures are based upon values of collectivity, consensus and decentralisation. West Germany (prior to unification), Switzerland and Austria: these are grouped together largely as valuing efficiency – the well-oiled machine – and seeking to reduce uncertainty. Great Britain, Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands: these lie somewhere between 1 and 2 but cluster on the value they place on strong individuals and achievers in society. Japan, France, Belgium, Spain and Italy: these are clustered on bureaucratic tendencies – the pyramid structure – favouring a large power distance.

15 Dobson’s guide to changing culture
Step 1 Change recruitment, selection and redundancy policies to alter the composition of the workforce so that promotion and employment prospects are dependent on those concerned possessing or displaying the beliefs and values the organisation wishes to promote. Step 2 Reorganise the workforce to ensure that those employees and managers displaying the required traits occupy positions of influence. Step 3 Effectively communicate the new values. This is done using a variety of methods such as one-to-one interviews, briefing groups, quality circles, house journals, etc. However, the example of senior managers exhibiting the new beliefs and values is seen as particularly important. Step 4 Change systems, procedures and personnel policies, especially those concerned with rewards and appraisal. Dobson (1988)

16 Guidelines for changing culture
Formulate a clear strategic vision. Display top-management commitment. Model culture change at the highest level. Modify the organisation to support organisational changes. Select and socialise newcomers and terminate deviants. Develop ethical and legal sensitivity. (Cummings and Worley, 2001: 509 – 511)

17 Wilson’s culture perspectives
The integration perspective: This portrays a strong or desirable culture as one where there is organisation-wide consensus and consistency. The differentiation perspective: This emphasises that rather than consensus being organisation-wide, it only occurs within the boundaries of a subculture. At the organisational level, differentiated subcultures may co-exist in harmony, conflict or indifference to each other. The fragmentation perspective: This approach views ambiguity as the norm, with consensus and dissension co-existing in a constantly fluctuating pattern influenced by events and specific areas of decision- making (e.g. Frost et al, 1991). Rather than the clear unity of the integration perspective, or the clear conflicts of the differentiation viewpoint, fragmentation focuses on that which is unclear. (Wilson, 2001: 357)

18 Figure 5.1 The major elements of culture
Source: From CUMMINGS/WORLEY. Powerpoint® (IRCD only) for Cummings/Worley’s Organization Development and Change, 9th, 9E. © 2009 South Western, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Reproduced by permission. www.

19 Figure 5.2 A structure–culture continuum

20 Figure 5.3 A structure–culture–environment continuum

21 Figure 5.4 A structure–culture mismatch

22 What is politics? [Politics is the] ... efforts of organizational members to mobilize support for or against policies, rules, goals, or other decisions in which the outcome will have some effect on them. Politics, therefore, is essentially the exercise of power. (Robbins, 1987 : 194)

23 Three perspectives on culture
Optimists – culture can be changed, e.g. Peters and Waterman (1982). Pessimist – culture cannot be changed, e.g. Hatch (1997) Realists – parts of culture can be changed, e.g. Meek 1988). Ogbonna and Harris (2002)

24 Warning Culture as a whole cannot be manipulated, turned on or off, although it needs to be recognised that some [organisations] are in a better position than others to intentionally influence aspects of it.... culture should be regarded as something an organisation ‘is’, not something it ‘has’: it is not an independent variable nor can it be created, discovered or destroyed by the whims of management. (Meek, 1988:469–470)

25 Criticisms Strong cultures can make organisations resistant to certain types of change. Strong cultures may only suit organisations at certain stages in their development. Can bring short-term benefits but may also bring long-term stagnation and decline. Organisations also have sub-cultures. Timescale for changing culture: 6 to 15 years. Ethics: should we seek to control or manipulate people’s emotions? Culture cannot be controlled.

26 Culture Conclusions There is no clear agreement about the nature or the malleability of culture. Managers must make choices based on their own circumstances and perceived options. Without strong or appropriate cultures, managers may find it difficult to agree among themselves or gain compliance from others. In such situations, there is a tendency for conflict and power battles to occur.

27 Power and politics It is difficult to think of situations in which goals are so congruent, or the facts so clear-cut that judgment and compromise are not involved. What is rational from one point of view is irrational from another Organizations are political systems, coalitions of interests, and rationality is defined only with respect to unitary and consistent ordering of preferences. (Pfeffer, 1978 : 11–12)

28 What is power? ... we defined authority as the right to act, or command others to act, toward the attainment of organizational goals. Its unique characteristic, we said, was that this right had legitimacy based on the authority figure’s position in the organization. Authority goes with the job.... When we use the term power we mean an individual’s capacity to influence decisions.. .the ability to influence based on an individual’s legitimate position can affect decisions, but one does not require authority to have such influence. (Robbins, 1987 : 186)

29 Some definitions Authority: Power: Politics: The right to act.
The capacity to influence decisions. Politics: The exercise of power.

30 Definitions (Continued)
Politics: The exercise of power. Legitimate use of politics: The exercise of power by those entitled to in the interests of the organisation. Illegitimate use of politics: The exercise of power in pursuit of personal interests or by those not entitled to.

31 The political view of organisations
… a political view can explain much of, what may seem to be, irrational behaviour in organizations. It can help to explain, for instance, why employees withhold information, restrict output, attempt to ‘build empires’ ... (Robbins, 1986: 283)

32 The conditions for political behaviour
…virtually all [writers] agree that for politics to occur, certain conditions must exist. There must be two or more parties (individuals, groups or large entities), some form of interdependence between the parties, and a perception on the part of at least one of the parties that divergent interests exist between them such that there is, or may potentially arise, conflict between the parties. Once these conditions exist, the subsequent actions of the parties involved will be deemed ‘political.’ (Bradshaw-Camball and Murray, 1991: 380)

33 Political ploys Reason – facts and information are used selectively to mount seemingly logical or rational arguments. Friendliness – the use of flattery, creation of goodwill, etc., prior to making a request. Coalition – joining forces with others so as to increase one’s own influence. Bargaining – exchanging benefits and favours in order to achieve a particular outcome. Assertiveness – being forceful in making requests and demanding compliance. Higher authority – gaining the support of superiors for a particular course of action. Sanctions – using the promise of rewards or the threat of punishment to force compliance. Kipnis et al (1980, 1984), Schilit and Locke (1982)

34 Using power and politics
Decide what your goals are, what you are trying to accomplish. Diagnose patterns of dependence and interdependence; what individuals are influential and important in your achieving your goal? What are their points of view likely to be? How will they feel about what you are trying to do? What are their power bases? Which of them is more influential in the decision? What are your bases of power and influence? What bases of influence can you develop to gain more control over the situation? Which of the various strategies and tactics for exercising power seem most appropriate and are likely to be effective, given the situation you confront? Based on the above, choose a course of action to get something done. (Pfeffer, 1992: 29)

35 The four main types of power
Coercive power – the threat of negative consequences (including physical sanctions or force) should compliance not be forthcoming. Remunerative power – the promise of material rewards as inducements to cooperate. Normative power – the allocation and manipulation of symbolic rewards, such as status symbols, as inducements to obey. Knowledge power – the control of information. Etzioni (1975), Robbins (1986)

36 Favourite influencing strategies
For influencing up (managers) – the use of reason. For influencing across (co-workers) – the use of friendliness. For influencing down (subordinates) – the use of reason. Huczynski and Buchanan (2001)

37 Power tactics Image building – action that enhances a person’s standing, such as backing the ‘right’ causes. Selective information – withhold unfavourable information from superiors. Scapegoating – blame someone else. Formal alliances – form or join a coalition of the strong. Networking – make friends with those in power. Compromise – be prepared to give in on unimportant issues in order to win on the important ones. Rule manipulation – interpret rules selectively to favour friends and thwart opponents. Other tactics – if all else fails, use dirty tricks such as coercion, undermining the expertise of others, playing one group off against another, and get others to ‘fire the bullet’. (Buchanan and Badham, 1999: 27–29)

38 Political behaviour Minimised when there is: Maximised when there is:
Stability Agreement about goals Openness. Maximised when there is: Uncertainty Conflict over goals Secrecy.

39 Organisational change
Can: Create instability Challenge culture Threaten existing power relations Promote political behaviour. But it can also: Restore stability Recreate or support culture Maintain existing power relations Reduce conflict. It depends on the context.

40 Supplementary material from Senior & Fleming

41 Organizational politics
Buchanan and Huczynski (2004, p. 828) Power concerns the capacity of individuals to exert their will over others. Political behaviour is the practical domain of power in action, worked out through the use of techniques of influence and other tactics. Robbins (2005, pp ) For our purposes, we shall define political behaviour in organizations as those activities that are not required as part of one’s formal role in the organization, but that influence, or attempt to influence, the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organization.

42 Morgan 1997 Organizations and modes of political rule
Autocracy Bureaucracy Technocracy Co-determination Representative democracy Direct democracy

43 Power in organizations
The characteristics of power: Power influences who gets what, when and how. Morgan 1997 – p.170 Power is defined as the potential ability to influence behaviour, to change the course of events, to overcome resistance, and to get people to do things that they would otherwise not do. Pfeffer 1993 – pp. 204 Power refers to the capacity that A has to influence the behaviour of B, so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes. Robbins 2005 – p. 390 –5

44 The relationship between power and influence
Handy 1993 Sources of individual power Physical power Resource power Position power Expert power Personal Power Negative Power

45 The relationship between power and influence (continued)
Handy 1993 Methods of influence Force Rules and procedures Exchange Persuasion Ecology Magnetism

46 Robbin’s (2005) Formal and personal power
Coercive power Reward power Legitimate power Information power Personal Expert power Referent power Charismatic power

47 Position power and the control of resources
Resource power Invisible power Non–decision-making power Personal power Expert or knowledge power Symbolic power Individual power

48 The politics of powerlessness
Women’s lack of power Powerlessness because of cultural differences Positions of powerlessness

49 The link between politics, power and conflict
The unitarist view relating to Interests Conflict Power The pluralist view relating to

50 Conflict in organizations
The nature of conflict Interdependence Organizational structures Rules and regulations Limited resources Cultural differences Environmental change Approaches to conflict

51 Conflict-handling styles – Thomas 1976
Competing Collaborating Compromising Avoiding Accommodating

52 Quotes Buchanan and Badham (1999, p. 56)
Power is the property of individuals, defined across a number of identifiable power sources or bases, some structural, some individual, and exercised in attempts to influence others Power is a property of relationships between members of an organization, identified by the extent to which some individuals believe, or do not believe, that others possess particular power bases Power is an embedded property of the structures, regulations, relationships and norms of the organization, perpetuating existing routines and power inequalities

53 Case Study

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