Organizational behavior is a power game in which various players, called influencers, seek to control the organization's decisions and actions. … Since the needs of influencers vary, each tries to use his or her own levers of power—means or systems of influence—to control decisions and actions. … Thus to understand the behavior of the organization, it is necessary to understand which influencers are present, what needs each seeks to fulfill in the organization, and how each is able to exercise power to fulfill them.
AS SET FORTH in chapter 1, the human service organization is a socially constructed image. It may be analyzed in a number of different ways depending on the perspective being used. From one perspective, the organization can be analyzed as a production machine with human beings as the key elements in the production technology rather than gears or electronic circuits. This perspective is embodied in “scientific management” or “rational-legal” conceptual frameworks (Hasenfeld 1992a). From another perspective, the organization can be analyzed as a network of relationships among those individuals who occupy social roles in the organization. This perspective is embodied in the “human relations” conceptual framework (Hasenfeld 1992a).
Still another perspective views the organization as essentially a “political economy” arena (Zald 1970), in which individuals involved with the organization are viewed as influencers (Mintzberg 1983:23), or “stakeholders.” The individuals who are participants in stakeholder constituencies are involved in a “political” process of both collaboration and competition within the framework provided by organizational goals and organizational structure (Gummer 1990). This “political” process often involves various forms of power, including financial power, legal authority, and symbolic power, as well as various forms of persuasion.