Power and Influence at Workplace

1. What is power? Power is the ability to get someone else to do something you want done or the ability to make thing happen or get things done in the way that you want (Wood et al. 2006, p. 345). Power is a capacity that you have to influence the behavior of other so that other acts in accordance with your wishes (Robbins 2003). 2. What are the sources/bases/types of power? Power can be classified into two classes- position & personal. They are: Position/Formal Power: Coercive Power: A power, based on fear. It often works through fear and it forces people to do something that ordinarily they would not choose to do.

The most extreme example of coercion is government dictators who threaten physical harm for noncompliance. Reward Power: Reward powerreward powerThe ability to grant a reward, such as an increase in pay, a perk, or an attractive job assignment. is the ability to grant a reward, such as an increase in pay, a perk, or an attractive job assignment. Reward power tends to accompany legitimate power and is highest when the reward is scarce. When Steve Jobs ran Apple, he had reward power in the form of raises and promotions. Legitimate Power: Legitimate powerlegitimate powerPower that comes from one’s organizational role or position. s power that comes from one’s organizational role or position. For example, a boss can assign projects, a policeman can arrest a citizen, and a teacher assigns grades. Information Power: Power that comes from access to & control over information. Itinformation powerPower that comes from access to specific information. is similar to expert power but differs in its source. Experts tend to have a vast amount of knowledge or skill, whereas information power is distinguished by access to specific information. For example, knowing price information gives a person information power during negotiations.

Personal Power: Expert Power: Influence based on special skills or knowledge. Expert powerexpert powerPower that comes from knowledge and skill. comes from knowledge and skill. Steve Jobs has expert power from his ability to know what customers want—even before they can articulate it. Referent Power: Influence based on possession by an individual of desirable resources or personal traits. Referent powerreferent powerPower that stems from the personal characteristics of the person such as the degree to which we like, respect, and want to be like them. tems from the personal characteristics of the person such as the degree to which we like, respect, and want to be like them. Referent power is often called charismatic power. charismaThe ability to attract others, win their admiration, and hold them spellbound. 3. What creates dependency? Dependency is the reliance on someone or something else for aid, support, etc. DependencydependencyDirectly related to power. The more that a person or unit is dependent on you, the more power you have. is directly related to power. The more that a person or unit is dependent on you, the more power you have.

The strategic contingencies model provides a good description of how dependency works. The following three conditions are the sole factors of dependency: Scarcity: In the context of dependency, scarcityscarcityIn the context of dependency, refers to the uniqueness of a resource. refers to the uniqueness of a resource. The more difficult something is to obtain, the more valuable it tends to be. Effective persuaders exploit this reality by making an opportunity or offer seem more attractive because it is limited or exclusive. They might convince you to take on a project. Importance: ImportanceimportanceThe value of the resource. efers to the value of the resource. The key question here is “How important is this? ” If the resources or skills you control are vital to the organization, you will gain some power. The more vital the resources that you control are, the more power you will have. Non-substitutability: Finally, substitutabilitysubstitutabilityOne’s ability to find another option that works as well as the one offered. refers to one’s ability to find another option that works as well as the one offered. The question around whether something is substitutable is “How difficult would it be for me to find another way to this? The harder it is to find a substitute, the more dependent the person becomes and the more power someone else has over them. 4. What are the contingencies of power? Sources of power can generate power in only four conditions. These are: 1. Substitutability: A contingency of power pertaining to the availability of alternatives. 2. Centrality: A contingency of power pertaining to the degree & nature of interdependence between the power holder & others. 3. Discretion: The freedom to exercise judgement to make decision without referring to a specific rule or receiving permission from someone else. 4.

Visibility: Those who control valued resources or knowledge will yield power only when others are aware of those sources of power-in other words when it is visible. 5. Power enhancement. As I mentioned earlier that power can be divided into two groups. Sufficient power of the right types will be available when the manager has the following potentials: Enhancing position power: Increase centrality & critical role in the organization: One can enhance position power by acquiring more central role in the work flow, having most updated information, performing unique job responsibilities, expanding network of communication etc.

Increase the personal prudence & flexibility of job: By removing routine activities, expanding task variety & novelty, initiating new ideas, getting involved in new projects, one ordinary manager can become most reliable personnel of any organization. Build tasks into that are difficult to evaluate: By obtaining advanced training, developing a unique language, becoming more involved in professional associations & exercising own judgement; one might reach in a top position of an organization’s hierarchy.

Increase the visibility of job performance: As power holder of any organization, you may enhance your power by expanding the number of contacts with senior people of your organization, making oral presentation of written work, participating problem solving task forces. Increase the relevance of tasks to the organization: You may enhance your power by becoming an internal coordinator or external representative or mentor for new members, monitoring & evaluating activities of your own unit. Enhancing Personal Power:

Knowledge & information: Managers can enhance their personal power through the expertise gained by possessing special knowledge by education, training & information through special access to data & people. Personal attractiveness: Manager’s reference power will be increased by characteristics that enhance their likeability & create agreeable behavior patterns & attractive personal appearance. Effort: The demonstration of sincere hard work in task performance can also increase personal power by enhancing both expertise & reference.

Managers who try hard are also likely to be respected for the attempt & other may even come to depend on them to maintain that effort. 6. What are the consequences of power? The consequences of can be classified into two classes i. e. positive & negative. These consequences are as follows: Positive consequences: Organizational alignment: Organizational alignment is the practice of aligning an organization’s strategy and culture. And, under the right condition & right power holder can align an entire organization to move together to achieve goals.

Higher the organizational commitment: Any sort of power higher the individual’s commitment level to prove or show that, s/he was the right choice for that task. Increase job satisfaction: When a person holds power, they feel pleased with his or her job. Because, that power might help that person to do his/her job in his/her own ways or take his/her own decisions. Negative consequences: Destroy organization: English historian John Emerich said the phrase, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” & also warned that power is inherently evil and its holders are not to be trusted.

And, history shows that power can be intoxicating and can be devastating when abused. Less empathy: It is natural that, when people become more powerful, they are more goals directed. And, when they become more goal directed, they show less empathy. 7. Which bases of power are most effective? Of the three bases of formal power (coercive, reward, legitimate), and two bases of personal power (referent, expert), which is most important to have? Interestingly, research suggests pretty clearly that personal sources of power are most effective.

Both expert and referent power are positively related to employees satisfaction with supervision, their organizational commitment, and their performance, whereas reward and legitimate power seen to be unrelated to those outcomes. Moreover, one source of formal power-coercive power-actually can backfire in that it is negatively related to employee satisfaction and commitment. 8. What is Influence? The action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc. , of another or others (Dictionary. com 2011, p. ‘n. d. ’).

Influence is any behavior that attempts to alter another person’s attitudes and behavior (McShane et al 2010). 9. Types of influencing others. The type of influence tactic used tends to vary based on the target. These are: Upward influence [(Top management (subordinate)]: Upward influenceupward influenceThe ability to influence your boss and others in positions higher than yours. , as its name implies, is the ability to influence your boss and others in positions higher than yours. Upward influence may include appealing to a higher authority or citing the firm’s goals as an overarching reason for others to follow your cause.

Peer/Cross influence- [Co-workers (co-workers)]: Peer influence occurs all the time. But, to be effective within organizations, peers need to be willing to influence each other without being destructively competitive. There are times to support each other and times to challenge—the end goal is to create better decisions and results for the organization and to hold each other accountable. Downward influence- [Subordinates (Top management)]: Downward influencedownward influenceThe ability to influence those in positions lower than yours. s the ability to influence employees lower than you. This is best achieved through an inspiring vision. By articulating a clear vision, you help people see the end goal and move toward it. It is found that, the better the quality of the relationship between the subordinate and their supervisor, the more positively resistance to influence attempts are seen. 10. Tactics/Strategies of influencing others. When managers, employers or teams face a situation in which they want to influence the behavior of others, they must choose a strategy.

There has no definitive influence tactics to influence others. But, there have some common identified tactics to influence others. These are as follows: |Tactics |Description |Feature | |Silent authority |Seek to establish legitimacy of request by claiming authority or by verifying | | |/ Legitimacy |consistency with claiming practices or traditions. | | | | | | | |HARD | |Assertiveness/ Pressuring |Using demands, threats or persistent reminders. | | |Information control |Explicitly manipulating someone else access to information for the purpose of | | | |changing their attitudes and/or behavior. | |Coalition formation |Forming a group that attempts to influence others by pooling the resources and | | | |power of its members. | | |Upward appeal |Gaining support of higher authorities or expertise. | | |Rational persuasion |Use logical arguments, factual evidence to convince people. | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |SOFT | |Integration/ impression management |Attempt to create a favourable mood before making request. | | |Exchange |Offer an exchange of favours, share of benefits or promise to reciprocate at | | | |later time. | | |Inspiration |Appeal to values, ideas or aspirations to arouse enthusiasm. | | |Collaboration |Somehow making it easier for a target person to agree to a request. | | 1. Consequences of influencing others.

People can influence others in different ways. On the one hand, they can restrict the others’ freedom (hard influence tactics) and ignore their interests (restrictive control). On the other hand, they can promote the others’ freedom (soft influence tactics) and take their interests into account (promotive control). Each influence effort you make have benefits & challenges assosiated with it. Effects of Soft influence tactics: Build commitment: When a manager influence others by providing sufficient reasons, desirable resources or personal traits, then s/he gets employees’ voluntary endorsement & support to carry out the tasks as well as to achieve organizational goals.

Increase motivation: Positive or soft influence helps the organization to improve people’s performance and affect their perceptions of expectancy to achieve organizational goals. Effects of Hard influence tactics: Resistance: When a manager takes something away or punishes someone for noncompliance & put employees often works through fear and it forces them to do something that ordinarily they would not choose to do, employees express their resistance to that manager. Compliance: Managers gain compliance of employees when they assign tasks & provide orders from their organizational position & in returns distribute rewards that others view as valuable. Undermine trust: Hard tactics of influencing others rely on position of power which tend to undermine trust which can hurt future relationships.

But, trust among the members of any organization is one of the most valuable factors to bring the organization in the meridian of success. So, it is seen that, soft tactics of influence brings better outcomes for organization that helps the organization to reach its destination. 2. What is organizational politics? Organizational politics is the behaviors or tactics for personal gain at the expenses of other people & possibly the organization (McShane et al 2010). Political action is a part of organizational life. It is as prevalent today as it ever was. Organizational politics occurs in different ways & across different levels in organization i. e. ? Managerial level ? Sub-unit level ? Chief executive level 3. Factors contributing to support organizational politics. Individual Factors |Organizational Factors | |High self monitors | Reallocation of resources | |Internal locus of control |Promotion opportunities | |High match personality |Low trust | |Organizational investment |Role ambiguity | |Perceived job alternatives |Unclear performance evaluation system | |Expectations of success |Zero sum reward practices | | |Democratic decision making | | |High performance pressure | | |Self serving senior managers | Table 2: Factors influencing political behavior (Robbins 2003, OB: 10 ed, pp. 377-380) 4. What are the consequences of organizational politics? Positive |Negative | |Enhance organizational competencies |Divert from organizational goals | |Helps in career advancement |Lose power, position & credibility | |Helps to overcome personal inadequacies | | |Helps to cope with change | | |Substitute for formal authority | | 5. Ways to minimize organizational politics. ? By providing clear rules and regulations ? Establishing a free flow of information. ? Using education and involvement ? Supporting team norms ? Having leaders to become role models ? Giving employees more control over their work and keeping them informed. 6. Social Network: Key elements of Power, Influence & Politics.

Social network is the cultivation of social relationships with others who trust each other to accomplish specific goals through sharing & caring of each other (McShane et al 2010). 7. What are the dimensions which make a network effective? There are 2 types of dimensions which make a social network effective. These are: Philosophical dimensions: Self similarity: When first starting to build networks, people tend to follow the self-similarity principle which helps to establish relationship among members easily. Proximity: We have greater trust in those who are similar to each other & willing to cooperate with them to whom we see most frequently.

It helps to develops strong ties with other. Sharing: When we build relationship with like minded others or those we frequently interacts with, then we restrict the flow of information or benefits within the circle. Operational dimensions: Breadth – refer to the number of people in the network, and the kinds of relationships shared by those people. It increases visibility. The benefits of breadth are that each member adds value to the network and helps members connect with a greater range of people. Depth – refer how often people meet in the network, how strongly are they attached and whether people serve more than one function (e. g. a friend who is also a colleague).

While core network leads to strong ties to greater trust while extended network defined by weak ties which provides access to different groups of people. Centrality – refers to person’s importance to a particular network. They place themselves to strategic locations in the network, thereby gaining centrality. (e. g. an individual might be regarded as the main person who distribute information in the network or who keeps the network connected through informal gatherings. So, it is said that, when a social network holds the philosophical & operational dimensions jointly, then it becomes effective in its own existence. 8. Ethics of Power, Influence & Politics. Utilitarian outcomes: It produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

Individual rights: It respects the basic human rights to free consent, free speech, and freedom of consistence, privacy & due process. Distributive justice: It treats people equitably & fairly as opposed to arbitrarily. After satisfying these criteria, organization should examine them by asking the following 3 questions. When they get the 3 YES out of 3 questions, then it could be said that they are ethical in their actions. Otherwise, they have to take corrective actions to be ethical. [pic] So, when an organization performs their activities on the basis of ethical standard, today or tomorrow they will be able to bring their organization on the meridian of success.