Power And Politics In An Organization

Submitted By bonolo2013
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Pages: 6

You will write an individual paper analyzing your organizations performance. Pick any three chapters from the book and notes and use it to assess your organization's competencies.

Kefiloe Tsotetsi

MGT 500

Organizational Performance

Power and Politics:

Robbins and Judge define power as the ability to influence others. They categorize the sources of power under formal power (coercive, reward, legitimate) – power due to one’s position in an organization, and personal power (expert, referent, informational) – power from an individual’s distinctiveness. The sources of power that I have observed in my workplace are:

Coercive Power – I have observed managers and supervisors in my workplace use this power to force subordinates to work over-time, work over holidays and weekends, and to reach tight deadlines. As people fear the consequences of not doing what has been asked of them they tend to unwillingly comply with their supervisors. This source of power contributes the most to employee dissatisfaction as employees are left feeling deprived of any power and free will.

Reward Power – This is used occasionally in my workplace in the form of job assignments, schedules, pay or benefits. This method is favored most by those who benefit from it. I’ve seen this form of power lead to resentment by employees who interpret the reward as ‘favoritism’ rather than a result of hard work.

Legitimate Power – The head or our organization exhibits this power, he is recognized for his authority which is largely related to his title and position.

Expert Power – The physicians and research scientists we work with hold this source of power. We tend to hold them in high regard because we acknowledge that we do not possess the information and knowledge that they do.

Referent Power - People who are well-liked and respected in our organization have this power. People with this source of power, tend to be able to get others to do what they want not because they are feared, but rather because others like them and want to please them.

In most social interactions in my workplace some source of power is in play. Different people in our organization have different forms of power and while I’ve noticed that some individuals abuse their power, other people use their power - particularly referent power to motivate others and to effectively get tasks, assignments, work goals and favors accomplished in the workforce. Superiors towards their subordinates mostly use informational power, expert power, and reward power. It has also been interesting to observe how some leaders or superiors use power to strengthen their own position, advance their career goals or organizational goals.

I also noticed that impression management - an individuals attempt to control the impression others form about them - is a prevalent practice in the workplace. Interestingly enough, I found impression management to be employed primarily by individuals who are perceived to be less competent and more prone to making errors. Employees who are knowledgeable and confident were less likely to engage in impression management. Flattery, excuses, conformity, apologies and self-promotion are the recurrent impression management techniques I noticed amongst the less diligent employees in my organization.


Employee efficiency, competency and motivation are crucial to any organization that wants to thrive. Motivated employees work tirelessly to seek solutions to make an organization’s goals and mission a reality. Motivation in the workplace has drastic effects on quantitative and qualitative output further more low staff motivation can become contagious if the cause is not identified and addressed.

Some of the factors that can and have degraded staff motivation in my organization include:

Lack of a defined goal - When a department’s goal is vague, employees are uncertain about what they need to do and how to accomplish it. This leads to a