Chapter I Introduction 1.1 Background Most people working in an organization would admit, though privately, that they are surrounded by people and activities aimed at advancing personal interests. People are expected to keep their mouth shut or turn a deaf ear to what is happening around them…
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In the highly competitive environment, where every individual is concerned about job security, pursuance of self-interest has taken dominance. Managers engage in enhancing their abilities and capabilities to use power, and participate in political activities. In the process, they attempt to exercise coercion and control over their subordinates. This naturally gives rise to resistance which takes the shape of conflicts. However, according to Max Weber, organizations can achieve the coordination necessary for rational, logical and calculable action only through impersonal coercion and discipline of subordinates and clients (McNeill, 1978, p65). Pfeffer (1992, p10) contends that power and influence are social realities and in trying to ignore them, organizations lose a chance to understand these critical social processes and to train managers to cope with them. However, power has been associated with such a negative interpretation that people keep away from it for fear of getting a bad name. Politics in general is also related to negative outcomes; politics is considered to be inherently non-rational and subject to power interactions between diverse interests (Kinicki, 2008) but Vigoda (2000, p1) found weak negative relationship between perception of organizational politics and employees’ performance. ...
Allen et al (1978, p78) emphasize that managers must know of the political processes and elaborate on the proactive and reactive behavior of the managers. Lee (1987, p316) identifies sources of power as coalition, expertise, information, rewards, emotional ties, authority and coercion while Varman and Bhatnagar add formal authority, rules and regulations, knowledge and information, counter organizations and informal organizations. However, a person’s actual power is a function of the sources, importance and scarcity of the power available to them (Lee, 1987, p317). Farrell and Peterson (1982, p403) examine individual political behavior within an organization, which they feel has been neglected. Fleming and Spicer (2008, p302) propose that power and resistance in an organization are intertwined. Bureaucratic power is used to exercise control and this gives rise to conflicts in the organization. Thompson (1960, p390) discusses the different forms and sources of organizational conflicts while Rubenstein (1996) differentiates between conflict management, conflict resolution and conflict settlement. To resolve conflicts power and politics are the facilitators. Most of the literature reviewed here suggests that people are rational and active in pursuit of their goals. They need to influence, they need to manipulate to accomplish goals. This would imply that using tact and manipulation is acceptable as it helps further the interest of the individual as well as of the organization. However, they are seldom conscious of the repercussions of their actions. Imbalance of power can lead to several undesirable consequences such as workplace bullying, harassment and victimization. Several authors such as
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74 Pages(18500 words)Dissertation
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