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Politics And Power Notes
This is a sample of our (approximately) 10 page long Politics And Power Notes notes, which we sell as part of the Organisational Behaviour Notes collection, a 1st Class package written at Oxford University in 2011 that contains (approximately) 175 pages of notes across 14 different documents.
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Politics and Power 'Images of Organisation' by G Morgan 1998 o 'rights as a citizen and as a paid employee are in conflict with eachother' o 'only democratic right rests in the freedom to find another job' o 'organisation is intrinsically political' o 'ways must be found to create order and direction among people with potentially diverse and conflicting interests' o 'wheeling and dealing'...'politics in short, is seen as a dirty word' o BUT Morgan argues that politics is not necessarily dysfunctional but may be essential to organisational life o 'politics stems from the view that, where interests are divergent, society should provide a means of allowing individuals to reconcile their differences through consultation and negotiation' o Organisations as systems of government:
Many organisations ruled by authoritarian managers who have considerable power due to personal characteristics/family ties
eg owner operated firm where principle = 'It's my business and I'll do as I like'
eg family business - respect family interest and tradition above all
large organisations often autocratic (power rests in hands of single group/individual)
Political rule found in organisations:
Autocracy: power held by individual/small group and supported by control of resources/ownership rights/tradition/charisma
Bureaucracy: rule exercised through use of written words, rational legal type of authority
Technocracy: power connected with one's expertise eg IT industry
Codetermination: opposing parties combine in joint management of mutual interests
Representative democracy: rule exercised through election of officers mandated to act on behalf of the electorate eg shareholders/directors
Direct democracy: everyone has equal right to rule and decision making
Most are mixed in practice o A person who advocates case for employee rights/election of board of directors etc is often thought as taking an unwarranted political stand but not necessarily the case as not so much political issue but arguing for a different approach to already political situation o Industrial co-determination: owners and employees codetermine future of organisations by sharing power and decision making:
recognise rights of labour to participate in management but not always readily embraced by labour because:
'by being part of a decision making process one loses one's right to oppose the decisions that are made'
so employees interests can be best protected by unions that adopt an oppositional role in order to shape policy without owning it.
Many opponents fear that employees will be allowed to participate in small decisions but not big ones o Some systems dissolve distinction between managers and labours as opposed to just recognising that they have equal rights. BUT conflict from those who wish to protect rights of owners. o Organisations as systems of political activity:
'more fundamentally, however, politics occurs on an ongoing basis, often in a way that is invisible to all but those directly involved'
focus on relations between interests, conflicts and power:
how divergent interests give rise to conflicts resolved/perpetuated by power play
'lead a person to act in one direction rather than another'
relationship and tension between one's job (task), career aspirations, and personal values and lifestyle (extramural interests). Can interact. Complete convergence is the smallest area in the middle (of a 3 circle Venn Diagram) → rare
'The tensions existing between the different interests that he wishes to pursue makes his relation to work inherently 'political''
'existence of other players, each with interest-based agendas to pursue'
'organisations are coalitions and are made up of coalitions'
coalitions arise when individuals get together to cooperate in relation to specific issues
organisations usually have a dominant coalition often built around the CEO/major players
coalitions are usually encouraged as fragmentation between decisions can lead to people only thinking about goals of their own units
'negotiation and compromise becoming more important than technical rationality'
'organisation members often give considerable attention to increasing their power and influence through these means'
or 'developed by the powerful to consolidate their power' Understanding conflict:
'Conflict arises whenever interests collide'
'Organisations promote various kinda of politicking because they are designed as systems of simultaneous competition and collaboration'
hierarchal organisation chart - work together in subdivision but also compete: fewer jobs at the top
workers often collaborate to trick managers that they are working hard, managers know this is happening, but are frequently powerless to do anything about it, particularly where plants are unionised
personal resentments/grudges Exploring power:
'Power is the medium through which conflicts of interests are ultimately resolved. Power influences who gets what, when and how'
Sources of power:
Legitimate ('a form of social approval')
Charisma, tradition or the rule of law
Bureaucratic authority - correct application of formal rules and procedures eg democratic election
'So long as those who are subject to the kind of authority in use respect and accept the nature of that authority'
'The pyramid of power represented in an organisation chart thus builds on a base where considerable power belongs to those at the bottom of the pyramid as well as the top' eg trade unions
Control of scarce resources:
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