Organizational Power Politics: Tactics in Organizational Leadership

By Gilbert W. Fairholm | Go to book overview

3
A Power-Use Model: Using Power in the Organization
We have shown that power use is a part of an organizational dynamic that is, at heart, political. This political process is an ingredient of planning, organizing, staffing, budgeting, goal setting, and program management. However, texts on management often ignore (and as a result mask) the political power dimension of these functions. In budgeting, to use only one example, guidelines concentrate on goals methods, steps, and criteria of the budget cycle; elements of the budget process; implementation; and control. They assume that producing a budget is as mechanical as, say, manufacturing an automobile.The organizational reality is that participants influence each other during each phase of the budget process. They negotiate schedules, they compromise goals, they marshal support, they compete for limited resources. Budgeting and all of these other activities are power tasks. Organization members accomplish them via use of power tactics implicit in a political action process many call organizational politics.We all continually find ourselves in situations where power negotiation is a legitimate part of our working lives. Organization members are continually in situations where they are competing with other people for dominance ( Pfeffer, 1981, 1992). They compete for the capacity to get their own way in the face of competing action by others in their intimate work group. We can describe this situation in five sentences:
1. Organizational participants react continually with other people who are in interdependent relationship with them.

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