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10. Conflict, Power and Politics

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1 10. Conflict, Power and Politics

2 Learning Objectives Types of conflict Conflict resolution approaches
Power in organizations Power tactics Influencing tactics Rational and political models of organization

3 Types of conflict Conflict is a state of mind. It has to be perceived by the parties involved. If two or more parties are not aware of the conflict, no conflict exists. Conflicts are based upon differences in interests of another. Functional conflict supports organization goals and improves performance Dysfunctional conflict hinders organizational performance

4 Figure 21.1 Types of conflict, internal organizational characteristics, and required
management actions Source: Based on Hatch (1997, p.305); Robbins (1998, p.464)

5 Managerial action required
Insufficient conflict, the unit or group does not perform at its best too much conflict and its performance deteriorates. For example, in condition one there is little conflict, and so they need to stimulate more. In contrast, in condition three, there is too much conflict and they need to reduce it. In both cases they seek to achieve an optimum level of conflict depicted in column two

6 Benefits and losses from conflict:
BENEFITS LOSSES Productive task focus Energy diversion Cohesion and satisfaction Distorted judgment Power and feedback Loser effects Goal attainment Poor coordination

7 Causes of conflict: Communication factors Structural factors Size
Participation Line–staff distinctions Reward systems Resource interdependence Task interdependence Power The list in the above slide continues in the next.

8 Causes of conflict (continued)
Personal behaviour factors Communication styles Workforce diversity Differences in goals Reward structures Differences in perceptions Continues the causes of conflict from the last slide.

9 Five conflict resolution approaches
Avoiding. – ignoring or suppressing a conflict in the hope it will go away or not be too disruptive. Accomodating refers to solving a conflict by allowing the other’s desires to prevail. Competing style attempts to attain personal objectives and often ignores the needs of others Compromising style seeks out compromise between conflicting parties or elements. Collaborating - resolving conflicts by devising solutions that allow all parties to achieve desired outcomes

10 Figure 21.4 Conflict resolution approaches
Source: From Ruble and Thomas (1976, p.145)

11 Table 21.3 Conflict resolution approaches compared
Source: From Whetton et al. (2000, p.345)

12 Managing intergroup conflict
Problem solving Intergroup training Expansion of resources Intergroup conflict resolution Confrontation & negotiation Smoothing Bureaucratic authority Limited communication

13 Power in organizations
Power is a person’s potential to influence and change others behavior in a desired direction. Organizational power is the capacity of managers to exert influence over others Personal power is obtained from the acceptance of followers, not from higher levels of management. Power is generated, maintained and lost in the context of relationships with others. It derives from the work of John French and Raven who distinguished five power bases as:

14 Table Bases of power After French and Raven (1958)

15 Reward power is only effective if what is offered is see as desirable.
Cohen and Bradford identified eight types of rewards which they call organizational currencies. They show how these can be used to persuade others to comply with your request.

16 Table 22.3 Organizational currencies
Source: Based on Cohen and Bradford (1989, 1991)

17 Power tactics How do individuals use their power and get others to do what they want? Power is the ability to produce the intended effects in line with one’s perceived interests. Power tactics can be classified under the headings of image building; selective information; scapegoating; formal alliances; networking’ compromise; rule manipulation; as well as covert ‘dirty tricks’ methods

18 Table Power tactics Source: Based on Buchanan and Badham (2008, p.16); Buchanan (2008). Reproduced by permission of SAGE Publications, London, Los Angeles, New Delhi and Singapore, from Buchanan, D.A. and Badham, R.J., Power, Politics and Organizational Change: Winning the Turf Game, Copyright (© Sage Publications 2008)

19 Influencing tactics Gary Yuki reviewed the research into influencing managers, coworkers and subordinates He identified 12 influencing tactics and judged their effectiveness.

20 Table 22.6 Influencing tactics
Source: Based on Yukl (2000, 2005); Yukl and Falbe (1990)

21 Table 22.6 Influencing tactics (Continued)
Source: Based on Yukl (2000, 2005); Yukl and Falbe (1990)

22 Rational and political models of organization.
The rational model of organizations sees behaviour in organizations as guided by clear goals and choices made on the basis of reason.   The political model of organization sees no such logical behaviour, but sees organizations made up of groups possessing their own interests, goals and values, and in which power and influence are needed in order to reach decisions. These two models have different implications for how people are understood to operate within organizations and which interests they are held to give priority to.

23 Table 22.7 Rational versus political models of organization
Source: Based on Pfeffer (1981, p.31)

24 Political behaviour in organizations
A high need for power (nPow), the desire to make an impact on others, change people or events and make a difference in life. A high Machiavellianism score, a personality trait or style of behavior towards others characterized by the use of guile and deceit in interpersonal relations, a cynical view of the nature of other people and a lack of concern with conventional morality.

25 Political behaviour in organizations
An internal locus of control, an individual’s generalized belief about internal self control versus external control by the situation or by other. A risk-seeking propensity refers to the willingness of an individual to choose options that entail risks. Next slide summarizes female and male stereotypes in approach to organizational politics

26 Table 22.9 Gender stereotypes in approach to organizational politics
Source: Reproduced by permission of SAGE Publications, London, Los Angeles, New Delhi and Singapore, from Buchanan, D.A. and Badham, R.J., Power, Politics and Organizational Change: Winning the Turf Game, Copyright (© Sage Publications 2008)

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