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BA105: Organizational Behavior

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1 BA105: Organizational Behavior
Professor Jim Lincoln Week 11: Lecture Power, politics, and networks

2 Class agenda Today: discuss power, politics, and networks in organizations Thursday: Donna Dubinsky case

3 Power and politics in organizations
Power: a “dirty word?” What is it? The capacity to get people to do what they would not otherwise do How does power differ from authority? Authority is legitimate power. Three types (Max Weber): Charismatic Authority that derives from personalistic qualities (vision, force of personality) Traditional Institutionalized charisma Legal-rational The power of an office based on law or other formal rules And politics? The social relations of interest formation, power-seeking and wielding, and decision-making Kanter-”America’s last dirty word”. See Pfeffer table on executives ambivalence about power.

4 Leadership is power; but not all power is leadership
Influencing others with charisma and vision Developing committed “followership” Other forms of power: Leveraging the formal organization Exercising authority Designing and implementing systems Trading on scarce skills or resources Maneuvering, manipulation Coordination/brokerage/conductor/trains run on time/making org work the way it’s supposed to

5 Niccolo Machiavelli "For injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less; benefits ought to be given little by little, so that the flavour of them may last longer." "Therefore a wise prince ought to adopt such a course that his citizens will always in every sort and kind of circumstance have need of … him, and then he will always find them faithful. " "Hence it is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity. " "We have not seen great things done in our time except by those who have been considered mean; the rest have failed. " “He who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined" “One of the most efficacious remedies that a prince can have against conspiracies is not to be hated and despised by the people“ No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.’

6 Were there any good organizational politicians in the cases we have examined?
Adopt a Socratic leadership style Attack data and logic, not persons Don’t polarize others in group against you Remain calm Don’t reveal an explicit position that can be attacked – appear neutral Secret ballot scene; referred to fonda as leader earlier. But he was more an org politician (versus charisma and vision).

7 Politics as a form of organizational decision-making
Administrative model Garbage can model Political/bargaining model

8 Classical administrative theory on decision making
Managers devise programs (“standard operating procedures”) so that decisions can be made “by the book” Such routine or programmed decisions are delegated down the hierarchy; exceptions are managed by higher-ups Higher level decisions are nonroutine, uncertain, risky, require problem-solving search

9 The garbage can model of decision making (Cohen, March, & Olson)
Preferences, criteria, alternatives, decisions, etc., are jumbled together as if dumped into a garbage can Many decisions are stumbled into or forced by past decisions Preferences/intensions/criteria are afterthoughts or rationalizations Random decision may not necessarily be bad May contribute to learning Throwing a lot of stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks

10 The political/bargaining model of decision-making
Decisions are made through: Bargaining and negotiation Orderly (open, rule-bound, & mediated) conflict aimed at reaching a solution agreeable to both sides Power and politics Can be disorderly (behind the scenes, no rules, unmediated) conflict in which one side prevails over others and thus imposes a solution

11 Game theory Game theory is the general theory of strategic behavior
 Rational decision-making given uncertainty as to what other players will do  The payoff to a strategic decision depends on the other player’s move 2

12 Bonnie’s decision tree

13 Issues in power and politics
Politics may not be pretty, but it is real, pervasive, and must be managed Myth of the business organization as efficient, rational, and apolitical How to analyze and navigate the political terrain Map out the actors, interests, goals, resource/power bases, strategies, alliances, decision events How to manage power and politics From the organization’s perspective Contain & channel politics in productive ways From the participant’s perspective How to be savvy; a player; on the winning side

14 What kinds of politics are bad?
From the organization’s perspective Processes Back-stabbing, rumor-mongoring, vengeance-seeking, sabotage, corruption, secrecy, hoarding, zero-sum games Outcomes Goal subversion/suboptimization; factionalism; stalemate & inertia, high cost in time & resources, loss of transparency and accountability From the participant’s perspective Uncertainty, anxiety, frustration, stress, isolation, inability to focus on tasks, failure

15 Bob Ebeling Manager of the Rocket Ignition System at Morton-Thiokol
“We did our level best, but it wasn’t good enough...The decision to recommend a launch was pre-ordained by others, by NASA leaning on our upper management. The deck was stacked.” “I was so sure that Challenger was doomed that I asked my daughter, Leslie, then 33, to my office to watch a super colossal disaster unfold on live TV...and then I prayed” The fact that he foresaw disaster and could not stop it has tortured him since.

16 What conditions give rise to organizational politics?
Resource scarcity (zero-sum game) Weak leadership Weak culture Unclear goals Absence of shared values & beliefs Low trust Poor communication Bad structure Too weak Lack of authority; insufficient rules; ill-defined roles Too strong Segmentation & interdependence  conflict Rigidities can be politically exploited Crisis, external shocks (e.g., takeover) Ogilvy- takeover led to politics

17 Can organizational politics ever be a positive force?
Processes Empowerment, open conflict, positive-sum games, creative turbulence, acceptance of rules of the game, consensus on core values, shifting coalitions and interests Outcomes Flexibility, adaptiveness, overcome dependency and inertia, root out entrenched interests, abolish unproductive routines, increased efficacy, efficiency

18 Politics as empowerment: Getting things done with and through others
The modern flat, lean, horizontal organization  power & politics Power is no longer packaged as authority roles People have a mandate to get power and use it Few bureaucratic impediments to political maneuvering Influence, brokering, networking, alliance formation

19 Apple’s lack of formal structure  networks and politics
“Things are done by committees, meetings, consensus. We have very few policies, systems, or controls. What we do is get a team of experts together and make a decision.” --Apple employee in finance “Apple is dominated by personality. We are low on systems, and high on the human side. There are very few formal rules or processes.” --Another Apple employee “Apple is highly relationship and network oriented. If you know the right people you can get things done—there are lots of inner circles. Management by coercion doesn’t work here.. There is a lot of politics—like everywhere-but lack of rules and policies may make it more important here. Most organizations have their smoke-filled rooms; Apple does too. The difference is that here if you want into the argument, you can find your way in.” --Apple HR manager

20 Power and politics as the management of resource dependencies
Assumption: power comes from leveraging resources in relationships to reduce dependence Types of resources authority, charisma, vision, looks & personality, values, communication skills, expertise, information, demographic attributes, centrality & connectedness, location, legitimacy & reputation, time & effort How are resources converted into power? Resource criticality, scarcity, uncertainty  power

21 Implementing power Determine your interests & goals
What resources/power base do you control? How can you expand or fortify it? Analyze/trace your resource dependencies; who do you need to work with and through to achieve your goals? What are their interests and goals? What resources/power bases do they control? Will they support you or oppose you? Are they allied or organized?

22 Strategies Devise a strategy for exercising power to achieve your goals Anticipate the opposition’s moves (strategies & tactics) and plan your response

23 Bureaucratic strategies
Resist rationalization or pursue rationalization Make selective use of objective criteria Invoke outside experts or authorities Appeal to an external constituency

24 Manage decision events (e.g., meetings)
Control what’s on the agenda Control the order of consideration Control the decision alternatives

25 Monopolistic strategies
Claim your resources are critical Restrict supply

26 Networking Strategies
Network widely Work the halls Get good at small talk (learn the culture) Cultivate friendships Build coalitions Get others obligated to you Logroll: “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” Prevent or break up their coalitions Exploit structural holes “My enemy’s enemy is my friend” Divide and conquer Coopt potential opposition

27 A technical definition of a network
A population of “nodes” (people, etc.) and the ties (edges, arcs) relating them 1 2 8 M = 4 5 3 6 7

28 A fragmented (clique-ridden) network
Company A 1 5 4 8 2 6 3 7 9 12 10 11

29 Networking: The process of managing and expanding one’s personal networks
Are you a systematic, self-conscious networker? What do you need to do to become one? Take stock of (map) your existing network Evaluate its strength and weaknesses What new ties will add the most value in expanding/strengthening your network? How can you go about building them? Should you sever some old ones? Can shy people be good networkers? What about IT?

30 Networking strategy: Be central!
9 2 8 3 15 4 11 U 5 6 14 12 13 10

31 Networking strategy: Be a broker!
(“bow tie” structure) 4 3 15 11 U 5 6 12 “Power of lower participants”

32 Networking strategy: Forge “weak” ties!
1 5 4 8 U 6 3 7 9 12 10 11

33 Managing networks “up”: Exploit structural holes (My enemy’s enemy is my friend)
B - B - + A A - C - C

34 Managing the informal organization:
“If the formal organization is the skeleton of a company, the informal is the central nervous system…” Krackhardt’s and Hanson’s network study of a California computer company Similar to ‘Fireart’ case: Failure of an interdepartmental strategic task force to make headway. Reason: Leader Tom Harris was central in the network of technical advice but peripheral in the trust network CEO’s solution: find someone central in the trust network– Bill Benson-- to share leadership with Harris

35 Conclusions: Power, politics, & networking
For the employee: You can be competent, work hard, do your job, accomplish goals…. AND STILL LOSE To people better at organizational politics than you For the organization: Power, politics, and networks are not all bad and can be good But they have to be understood and managed

36 Thursday: Donna Dubinsky case
Who were the allies and adversaries in this conflict? What were the reasons for the conflict? What resources did the parties bring to bear? What strategies were used? Who prevailed and why? Does the gender of the protagonists have any relevance here? Why or why not? How might the debate over the distribution system have been better managed? How did Apple’s culture, structure, and the leadership styles of the executive team shape the evolution of the conflict? In terms of the congruence model, was “incongruence” or poor fit among the pieces of Apple’s architecture a cause of the conflict? Was it leveraged or exploited in any way by the players?

37 Donna Dubinsky’s 10 lessons
Get your “go-to-hell” money together Pick your boss well Negotiate with two or more options Treat people with respect Don’t dwell on sunk costs Challenge convention Don’t fight every battle Know your competitors Think global Don’t overestimate others

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