Power, Politics, and Organizational Justice
We begin by briefly revisiting the concept of influence. Although we introduced influence at the beginning of Chapter 12 as a basis for defining leadership, we now examine influence a bit more completely, and also describe a specific form of influence known as impression management. We then discuss power in its myriad forms in organizations. Politics and political behavior are then introduced and described in detail. Finally, we discuss organizational justice. (Some authors treat justice in the context of motivation, but given its close association with influence, power, and politics, it seems most reasonable to cover it here.)
CHAPTER LEARNING OBJECTIVES
After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
1. Define and discuss influence in organizations.
2. Describe the types and uses of power in organizations.
3. Discuss politics and political behavior in organizations.
4. Describe the various forms and implications of justice in organizations.
I. Influence in Organizations. The leadership topics discussed in Chapter 12 dominated leadership thinking for many years, although they devoted little attention to influence processes. This chapter covers a variety of topics that deal with influence.
A. Influence should be seen as the cornerstone of leadership, because regardless of the leader’s traits or behaviors, what really matters is whether others are influenced to change their behavior. B. Influence is the ability to affect the perceptions, attitudes, or behaviors of others. It can be dramatic or subtle, aimed at a person or a group, and be beneficial or harmful.
C. Impression Management is a direct and intentional effort by someone to enhance his or her image in the eyes of others.
1. Reasons people engage in impression management:
a) To further their own careers.
b) To make themselves more likely to receive rewards, better job assignments, and promotions. c) To boost their own self-esteem.
d) To acquire more power and control.
2. Mechanisms used in impression management:
a) Enhancing personal appearance.
b) Association with successful people.
c) Use of dishonest or unethical tactics.
d) Exaggeration or falsification of personal accomplishments.
Chapter 14: Power, Politics, and Organizational Justice 135
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II. Power in Organizations
A. The Nature of Power
1. Power is the potential ability of a person or group to influence another person or group.
Power need not be exercised to influence others. Power may reside in individuals or in groups. Influence is the mechanism for affecting others.
2. The Pervasiveness of Power. Some people argue that virtually all interpersonal relations are influenced by power; others believe power is confined to certain situations. In either case, power is an important part of organizational life.
B. Types of Power. Types of power usually are described in terms of bases of power and position power versus personal power.
1. Bases of Power. John R. P. French and Bertram Raven developed a framework for studying five general bases of power in organizational settings.
a) Legitimate power is granted by virtue of one’s position in the organization. It is essentially the same as authority and varies from one organization to the next. In highly mechanistic and bureaucratic organizations such as the military, the legitimate power inherent in each position is closely specified, widely known, and strictly followed. In more organic organizations, lines of legitimate power often are blurred.
b) Reward power is the extent to which a person controls rewards that another person values. Reward power includes control of both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. c) Coercive power is the ability to punish or inflict physical or psychological harm on someone else. Coercive power involves considerable costs—notably…