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Power & Politics

Essay by   •  February 9, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,826 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,714 Views

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Power & Politics

This may be the toughest of all areas within corporate life, dealing with power and politics. It can make or break a career, cause many sleepless nights, and often has very little to do with the actual job employee thought he was paid to do. Some companies are better or worse than others in the amount of political activity required in the job. In some companies, playing corporate politics is the only job you have time for. In the military, it is only marginally important. Usually, the larger the company, the more part the politics play in your ability to perform.

In order to be successful in the corporate world, people need power. The types of power available are formal power and informal power. Formal power is most easily recognized in our society: generals and presidents have formal position power. Informal power is less well understood, however, it is far stronger than formal power over the long term. The power of respect gained as a result of what we know and what we can do. It is important to consider the personality type of the target of influence when selecting a power strategy. In order to influence someone, several strategies may be used involvement, negotiation, direction, and enlistment. Building a Professional Network Outside used to be a less important issue than it is today, with mergers, acquisitions, down sizing and major companies restructuring almost daily. Many very successful and highly competent people have found themselves out of work due to the economy, industry changes, corporate politics or just plain bad luck. The true value of a professional network is combining people from with and individual work today, those worked with in the past, and those that work with in community or professional groups may be the difference between finding a new position quickly and facing financial disaster. Corporate politics also provides fresh ideas, new insights into daily challenges, different perspectives to use in old situations and a way to broaden your talents, skills and interests in a fun way. The outside network is often 'safety net' and support system of people who care about the employee, and have interests at heart. They aren't usually after the job, or concerned about the politics of the company, so are willing to provide advice without political bias. They usually have nothing to lose take their advice. It is very importance that individuals spent time and energy building a professional network.

According to our reading, power is defined as the ability to get someone to do something you want done or the ability to make things happen the way you want them to. Also describes leadership as a key power mechanism to make things happen. There are many ways you can get people to accomplish a task or different jobs. In every organization has to be someone in charge or in a power position. We found that in a power position we have six important aspects and those are; reward, coercive, legitimate, process, information, and representative. Each of these aspects contributes to the leadership style and varies according to the skills of the manager. Personal power is in the people regardless what position they hold. The three bases of personal power are expertise, rational persuasion, and reference. These are important bases in order to succeed in building and maintaining high levels of both position power and personal power. When building position power, managers should be able to demonstrate others that their work units are highly relevant to organizational goals and are able to respond to urgent people's needs. Managers should keep their employees well inform and filter information down to the lowest level. An example of this is the military system, in which information is passing from the top individuals in charge to the lowest soldier performing the task in the field. Managers should delegate activities to subordinates. Personal power comes from personal character rather than the position the hold in the organization. There are three personal characteristics; expertise, political savvy, and likeability. The process by which a manager help employees acquire and use the power needed to make a decision affecting themselves and their work is call empowerment. When talking about politics is the management of influence to obtain ends not sanctioned by the organization or to obtain ends non-sanctioned influence means. This meaning that they are seeking their own goals or use ways that are not authorized by the organization. Managers should increase their visibility by exposing themselves to the employees and maximizing the contact with their superiors. This will give them the opportunity to gain recognition for a task or job performed. Employees as well will appreciate the manager or supervisor who gets involve with their working environment and empowers them by including them in the decision making process. By acquiring recognition the chances for the acquisition of power and influence will also increase.

It can be assumed that power and politics are a necessary evil in every organization. The ultimate aim of a manager is to get his ideas implemented and for that he/she often needs to tactfully use the art of power, politics and influence. According to Hitchner's article about Jeffrey Pfeffer's book Managing with Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations; there are three main stages to effectively wield power: getting power, using power, and keeping power. Before managers get to the stages they must understand the sources of power more specifically according to Hitchner (1992) "who has the power and where" (¶ 9); this source of power can be if the manager is part of the upper echelon of the company or its board of directors, control over the wages, the location of the division at the corporate headquarters, location of the division within the corporate compound, who reads the division, reports? Does it get to the upper echelon?, how many of its members form part of important panels within the company, and how much of the company's resources does the division control. The first stage, the acquirement of power is mainly due to three factors: first the individual or divisions' control over the company's wealth and property this is often referred to as the (Hitchner, 1992) "the golden rule - whoever has the gold, rules" (¶ 11); second the connections an individual or division may have with people in power, is not what you know, but who you know, Pfeffer discourages the making of deals and compromising as something too temporary that will ultimately hurt more than help the goals that were set and instead encourages coalition building to get your way even if others try to stand in the way; and third to the formal authority conferred by his/her position in the company, having said that it is not automatic the manager

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