Power has many perspectives in relation to an organization.This has major impact on the organizational change process because of the “institutionalization of power and behavior of interest groups in and around it” as per Mintzberg, Pettigrewand Pfeffer …
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The consolidation exercises resorted to by the various organizations have made the companies leaner and flatter as management levels are being eliminated. Organizations are now trying to reduce bureaucracy and make the executives directly responsible and accountable for their tasks. Political as well as institutional systems play an important role in the power dynamics during any organizational change process. Some of these forces resist change due to changing dynamics while others stimulate them for the same reason (cited in Boonstra and Gravenhorst 1998). During any change process, CEO and the management along with consultants etc try to use their power to influence the process of change. At times this use of power to influence others can cause resistance while at other times it can facilitate the change process as noted by Fable and Yukl (1992) Power dynamics can be displayed openly or invisibly by the agents involved. For example, Bachrach and Baratz (1962) say that management can exclude participation by keeping certain decision from being open to discussions during a change process. In open display of power dynamics, managers hold meeting and discussions where they try to convince and influence others through facts, expertise or experiences. Theories of power dynamics and change management Boonstra and Gravenhorst (1998) look at power dynamics under five different perspectives. They build on the various researches that have studied the bases of power and root their first perspective on these. They say that “change in organizations is demanded by the top management and they need their position and power in order to effect change” (Boonstra and Gravenhorst 1998). In the second perspective they say that personal power is also used and thought the starting point of change is power, logical arguments and facts to support change are presented. The next two perspectives are based on the research in organization theory and management. In the fourth perspective, they see the role of agencies in exerting power to control processes and the various “interest groups” use power to negotiate the direction in which the change process should go. So far, the use of power was prominently observable in the various perspectives. In the fifth perspective, this is more subtle. The change agents tend to instill values, norms and perceptions through “management of meaning” and emphasize on the usefulness aspects of the desired change. The fifth perspective is about using the models developed by the organizational learning and organizational schools. They say that these models use the power of discussions and employee participation to bring about the desired change. Earlier literature on power viewed it as the ability of the change agent to influence the subjects to accept that change within a particular reference context (French and Raven 1959). Boonstra and Gravenhorst (1998) say that Bass in 1960 described two sources of power – personal and position. In the position power, a manager has received authority to act by virtue of his position in the organization. This is the dominating power of the management and any confrontations to proposals put forward by the management are considered as resistance and hence are intolerable as per Hardy and Clegg (1996) quoted by Boonstra and Gravenhorst (1998). Bouwen (1995) describe this authoritarian model of change as “
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