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The Use and Abuse of Power in Management - Essay Example

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Business THE USE AND ABUSE OF POWER IN MANAGEMENT INTRODUCTION Power is a complex, multifaceted process like other social interactive processes. The use of power in an organisation is a political course of action, and a “dynamic, interactive, perishable process that is effective in the moment of use and not so much in its mere potential” (Fairholm 1993: 37)…
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Download file to see previous pages Hence, power is an inherent characteristic of organisational action. Leaders and organisational management find “continued opportunity to sharpen their power-use skills in every contact they make in the group and with relevant stakeholders” (Fairholm 1993: 37). Power is an essential part of the organisational decision making undertaken by managers, and forms the medium of leadership. It plays a critical role in the selection of key staff, in resource allocation, in promotion actions, reorganisation decisions, and in the development, flow, and use of information. Power is also considered in motivational terms to be the critical difference “between the person who seeks to control the conduct of the individual and the group, and the leader who exercises control over the results they achieve” (Fairholm 1993: 46). In contemporary organisations, effective leadership depends on the use of power for success; therefore skilled use of power forms the core accomplishment in organisations. Contrasting with the use of power is the other side of the corporate coin in the form of abuse of power by organisational leadership. Increasingly, large corporation engage in corruption, and misuse of the immense power they have built up. The corporate world is overreaching the power it has amassed, similar to power in other domains such as in politics, which also exceed their limit when permitted. Due to its excessively predatory practices, the atmosphere in today’s corporate world has been termed as ‘piratical’. Abuse of power reveals itself in several ways. The most disturbing occurrences pertain to “the efforts of corporations to conscript the political process for their own benefit through their large financial contributions, both legal and illegal” (Clinard 1990: 6). Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the significance of power in organisations. The dynamics of power will include the theoretical background on the use and abuse of power by leaders, examination of a case study and illustrations through organisational examples. THE DYNAMICS OF POWER IN ORGANISATIONS According to Pfeffer (1992), besides organisational leaders, the members of an organisation vie with each other for dominance. They compete for the power to get their own way, while confronting competitive action by others in their intimate work group. This situation takes five aspects into consideration. Organisational participants interact continually with people in an interdependent relationship with them. The participants are in a competitive situation regarding who among them will achieve the desired goals. Scarcity forms a part of the situation to some extent. “The participants attach enough importance to the situation, goals, or approach that they are willing to engage their energy in this relationship” (Fairholm 1993: 30). These five dimensions of the power relationship also defines typical organisational life. Employees’ understanding of a situation increases by viewing the relationship in political power terms. Theoretical Background: Use and Abuse of Power in Organisations Leadership is a relational term, it identifies a relationship in which “some people are able to persuade others to adopt new values, attitudes and goals, and to exert effort on behalf of those values and goals” (Hogg 2005: 53). The relationship is almost always defined within the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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