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Power and Politics in Organizational Development - Essay Example

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This paper will examine the two major organizational forces of Power and Politics. Both Power and Politics will be defined and explored in depth to get a better understanding of how these atmospheres come to be and how they affect everyday organizational life…
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Power and Politics in Organizational Development
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Download file to see previous pages The concepts of power and politics are two areas of organizations that can be very difficult to define and understand. However, in order to be successful in organizational life and development these areas must be explored. In the past Organizational Development has been criticized for not taking these factors (French & Bell, 1999, pg. 282). French & Bell (1999) explain that the understanding of Power and Politics is still in very early stages in OD. However with recent research we still continue to derive theories and applications for the OD field. Organization development is influenced by and depends upon politics and power, culture and effective performance of the management team. Organization development is complex process which relies on high moral values that transcend both the organization and the individual. The shared values that underlie a high-performing organization's strategy and bring meaning to the individual employee's work are reflected in both the decision-making and the goal-setting processes.
Power is the potential to influence behavior, "to change the course of events, to overcome resistance, and to get people to do things that they would not otherwise do (Pfeffer, 1994, pg. 30). In short, it is a way to get things done; not the only way, but at least a major way, and one that is often used in organizational life. ...
283). Managers use power to accomplish goals all the time. The use of power is sometimes called "organizational politics" as managers use power and influence to produce results. Because of its association with politics, power is many times looked upon with disdain, as a dirty word. At the same time, we admire managers for what they achieve, and while we may not like it, we acknowledge that the ability to willingly wield power is often a prerequisite to managerial success.
Following David McClelland, "positive faced of power is characterized by a socialized need to initiate influence and lead" (French and Bell 1999, pg. 282). Power is used frequently when the necessity to accomplish goals requires us to rely on those on whom we depend. It is especially important when they have a different point of view and cannot otherwise be relied on to do what we want them to do (Pfeffer, 1994, pg. 39). The greater the degree of difference in point of view, the greater the resistance and conflict and the more important it is to use power, influence, and organizational politics as a way to get things done. If everyone has the same goal and is in agreement about how to achieve it, there is no need to use power. Studies have shown that the more agreement there was on the goal and the means to attain it, the less political activity occurred (Pfeffer, 1994, pg. 39). There is no need to engage in politics or exercise power when there are no differences in perspective or when no conflict exits. The time and energy can, in these situations, be more productively employed toward goal accomplishment. To the extent that organizations can agree on goals and on the means to attain them, organizational politics can be reduced. In the absence of this ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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