Power Works Best When It Is Seen Least sample essay
Power is define as the capacity of an individual to influence others, tempt others to persuade and encourage others to obtain specific administrative goals or to engage in specific behaviour (Cangemi, 1992). According to French and Raven’s (1960) there are five bases of power which can be divided into formal power and personal power (Robbins, 2011). The first formal power is coercive power, which is based upon punishment by these individual to power for failure to conform or achieve administration goals (French & Raven in Warren, 1969). Where else in reward power it is the ability to distribute rewards that viewed as valuable to others (French & Raven in Warren, 1969). As for legitimate power it occurs when an individual has status and are able to influence subordinates or super ordinals as people privately believe that the individual deserves such a position (Tiedens, 2001).
According to Blau (1956) legitimate power are subordinates following the order of their leader as they respect their leader and the leader position (Blau in Tiedens, 2001). The next will be expert power which an individual have knowledge or specific skills that can influence others without rely heavily on surveillance as control (French & Raven in Warren, 1969). As for referent power, it’s defined as based on individual personal traits, behaviour, beliefs, perceptions and desirable resources (French & Raven in Warren, 1969). As for Weber (1954) defined power as the possibility of imposing one’s will upon the behaviour of others (Weber in Ritzer, 1996).
According to Dahl (1957), suggested that power are the ability to get others to do something they would not otherwise to (Dahl, 1975). In Steven Lukes 3 – Dimensions of Power (1954), he ranged power as clearly visible (overt) and self-evident to an observer, through to power being elusive less visible (covert) and even on to institutionalized (Buchanan & Huczynski, 2010). In the central tension of an organization, when viewed through power lens, is between resistance and obedience (Courpasson in Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis, 2011).
The usage of invisible power or soft power will actually prevent resistance and backfire from happening in organizations. Post-bureaucracy is based on trust, empowerment, and personal treatment and shared responsibility. According to Charles Heckscher (1994) has devised a list of characteristic he calls the post-bureaucratic ideal type which is rules are replaced with consensus. Furthermore, people are trusted to act as the basis of shared value and emphasis on organizational mission (Hecksher in Hodgson, 2004). In post bureaucratic organisation, individuals do not feel tied down by general and role specific rules defining proper conduct. The feel empowered to act instinctively by a shared sense of belonging in the organisation (Adler in Maravelias, 2003).
Therefore, employees tend to be committed when legitimacy comes into the topic as they already know what is expected from them, there is no need to exercise over power (Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis, 2011). Somehow, post-bureaucracy generates its own problem. First of them is control, without rules, control cannot be exercised, especially in large organisations as it rely on self control rather than external monitoring, As risk might be high as employees are given more freedom to innovate and to do away with rules, this might lead to decisions that go wrong. The third main problem will be post-bureaucracy stresses individual treatments as this might lead to irrationalities and prejudices and bring greater stress for employees (Knights and Willmott, 2007).
The concept of empowerment is related to terms such as autonomy, agency, self-direction, self-determination, participation, liberation, mobilization and self-confidence or in another word is employee are allowed to act behalf of what they value and have reason to value (Ibrahim and Alkire, 2007). Empowerment can also be defined as the broad extension of influence throughout the organisations. As Sewell (2002) notes, team work is usually associated with the rhetoric of empowerment, trust and enhance discretion or it’s referred to as ‘giving power’ away (Clegg and et al, 2011).
In team working, employees work together like team members that have been designed to cope better with more flexible manufacturing methods and to provide opportunities for more intelligent organisation of work (Clarke & Clegg in Clegg & et al, 2011). Teamwork is beneficial because by sharing information in a group created a wide range of ideas to take place. By sharing ideas, the group can stimulate unique ways of thinking. In team working, members are encouraged to communicate with each others in attaining the organization goals. Plus teamwork also had greater distributed intelligence of system. Furthermore, team working can helps to increase employee participation and increasing work flexibility.
However, Barker (2002) comes up with an ideal of concertive control. It is something that occurs when there is ‘a substantial of consensus about values, high-level coordination and a degree at self-management by members in an organization (Barker, 1993). As Foucault (1977), do holds the view that power is embedded in all social relations – as he uses the metaphor of The Panopticon by Bentham (1748) for his paradigm. Panopticon is a prison whose allows all the inmates to be observed in their cells by one observer who remains unseen by them. Foucault does also mention that anticipation of control causes people to engage in self-surveillance.
Teams operate with two dimensions of surveillance which is vertical and horizontal. The vertical are traditional forms of surveillance reinforce while the horizontal dimension causes members to monitor each others. (Clegg & et al, 2011) However, team workings are commonly used throughout the world for example like Toyota Motor Co. a Japanese based company that stated the standardized tasks and processes are the foundation for continuous improvement and employee empowerment in the Principle 6 in their annual report. As in Toyota allow creative and individual expression to improve upon the standard (Cho, 2001).
Toyota will actually put the company’s interests above the individual’s, and sharing knowledge with others within the team, a process of on-the-job training (Buchanan & Huczynski, 2010). Goffman (1961) suggested Total Institutions which are all human activities are conducted in the same place and under the same authority (Goffman, 1961). All the activities in the Total Institutions are well planned and formally ordered. Participants are not allowed to do something differently in the situations and they are being fully monitored like for example in prisons, hospitals, boarding schools and military training camps.
Somehow this will cause stripping of identity (Goffman, 1961) which is there are no identity available for individual and individuals are required to follow the same routines. There is also another studies by Milgram (1963) about behavioural study of obedience in the laboratory which measure the willingness of participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that is conflicted with their personal conscience (Milgram, 1963). In Milgram’s testing, he suggested that it could have been that millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs, (Blass, 1991) as this is referring to the trial of German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichman in Juresalem.
Plus there is a study of Prisoners and Guards that carried out by Zimbardo (1973). A total of 21 male participants were selected without any criminal records. This testing was forced to stop early as prisoners suffered from mental breakdown and depression and many of the guards were behaving in ways which brutalized and degraded their fellow subjects. The emerging reality of this role-playing situation was sufficiently compelling to influence virtually all those who operated within it to behave in ways appropriate to its demand characteristics but somehow is inappropriate to their usual life roles and values (Haney, Banks and Zimbardo, 1973).
It is strongly believed that roles played are determined by social conditions and positions of the individual. Individual tends to adapt themselves to the environment they are in. Therefore, organisations should practice positive power as this will prevent any backfire in decision-making processes and lower the rate of sabotaging acts. Organisations that used positive power encourage employees to work in informal environments and love the work they doing. Positive power reflects on the ethics of the relations of power, freedom and control in these new forms of organizations. (Clegg and et al, 2011) According to Lukes power viewpoint (2005), the first dimension that power is exercised to secure a decision in situations where there is some observable conflict or disagreement.
This dimension concerns a clash in interests between those making a decision. It focuses on the observable behaviour of individuals or groups that influence or determine the form or content of decision (Buchanan and Huzcynski, 2010). For example, during the meeting, the CEO’s words which can be verbal and paraverbal behaviour and manner which is non-verbal can be observed by all the employees who notice their effects and decides what to do. Therefore individuals or groups though they might be overruled and nevertheless involved in the decision-making process. Where else the second dimension will be power that is exercised to keep issues in the decision-making agenda, so that potential conflicts or disagreements are precluded and therefore unobservable. This dimension concerns the manipulation of issues and non-issue.
The focus in this dimension is on the non-observable behaviour that is involved in keeping issues in an agenda. Bachrach and Baratz (1962) noted that this can be manifested as much through non-decisions (not doing something) as through direct decisions (Pettigrew, 1973). For example, students are given assignment and there is no direct pressure placed upon them, and yet they decided they should pass up on time to get good grade. This is the invisible power and it can avoid completely any overt conflict or resistance in employees. Power is most commonly related with someone doing something, such as making a decision or acting in a particular way (Bachrach and Baratz, 1962).
The third dimension will be institutionalized power is used to define reality for its members. If norms and meanings become internalized by employees, they tend to accept and act accordance with those defined for them even if it goes against their actual interests. In this dimension involves shaping people’s perception, cognitions and preferences, so that they are able to accept their existing as they cannot see an alternative. Antonio Gramsci (1971) suggested that hegemony signifies a system of rule or domination where those who are being ruled or dominated, consent to a rule. Under hegemony, people are unable to specify their interests except in terms of the concepts that dominated them thus they cannot achieve autonomy (Clegg and et al, 2011).
Somehow, hegemony of management is always fragile and open to contestation and resistance. This is because social movement actors continuously seek to express and create ‘chains of equivalence’ amongst diverse struggles (Willmott, 2005), just to challenge the formally disapproving unity of the management. Besides that Fleming and Spicer (2007) referred to it as ‘power as domination’ which leads us to act against our own objective interests (Fleming and Spicer, 2007).
This power dimension is characterized by invisible power as overt conflicts are avoided. Organisational culture remains a controversial concept. Tom Peters and Robert Waterman (1982) suggested that a strong culture was a powerful lever for guiding workforce behaviour (Peters and Waterman, 1982). They conceived that company’s culture as consisting of values, beliefs, symbols and heroes that possessed meaning for all the employees (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2001). Schein’s second level of culture concerns organizational values. Organisational values are often unspoken and yet they are able to guide employee’s behaviours (Schein, 1983). For example taking risk, be creative, be cautious, respects the authority and so on.
Values are said to provide the same directions for all employees and most of all to guide their behaviours. Organisational culture and teamwork are typically seen to play important roles in the system of domination where professional freedom and trust are only superficial (Willmott, 1993). Furthermore, Robbins described senior management as the ‘culture carriers’ (Robbins, 2011). Culture can acts as a form of invisible power to employees. In conclusion, organisations that used hard power or visible power are more likely to face resistance and backfire. Organisation should encourage leaders or managers to increase their personal power, charismatic and expertise to enhance their effectiveness in order to influence subordinates.
When people know what is expected from them, there is no need to involve any overt power or invisible power as they are cleared with their direction to obtain the administrative goals. As invisible power can greatly reduces the chance of opposition and it actually created meaningful context for employees. Furthermore, managing with power does not have to involve the usage of hard power.
Organisation that uses empowerment seeks to enhance the overall system of powers of the organisations, to mobilize every employee’s resources to get things done. Using such power frequently means by not being selectively inattentive to others, but listening and attending to them and did not claim for special privilege because of title or experience. No. of Words: 2119
Bachrach, P. and Baratz, M. (1962) The Two faces of Power. American Political Science Review, 56 (4), p.947 – 52.
Barker, J. (1993) Tightening the Iron Cage: Concertive Control in Self-Managing Teams.Administrative Science Quarterly, (38), p.408-437.
Blass, T. (1991) Understanding Behaviors in the Milgram Obedience Experiment: The Role of Personality, Situations and Their Interactions. Personality and Social Psychology, 60 (3), p.398 – 413. Buchanan, D. and Huczynski, A. (2010) Organizational Behaviour. 7th ed. England: Pearson. Cangemi, J. (1992) Some Observations of Successful Leaders and Their Use of Power and Authority. Education, 112 (4), p.499 – 505. Cho, F. (2001) The 14 Principles of the Toyota Way: An Executive Summary of the Culture Behind TPS. Toyota Way document, p.35 – 41. Clegg, S., Kornberger, M., and Pitsis, T., 2011, Managing Power, Politics, and Decision-Making in Organization, Managing & organizations: an introduction to theory & practice pp. 251-293 Dahl, R. (1957) The Concept of Power. Behavioral Science, 2 (3), p.201 –
215. Fleming, P. and Spicer, A. (2007) Contesting the Corporation: Struggle, Power and Resistance in Organizations. Cambridge University Press. Goffman, E. (1961) Asylums. Harmondsworth: Penguin
Haney, C, Banks, C and Zimbardo, P., 1973, A Study of Prisoners and Guards in a Simulated prison: Naval Research Review. p.1-17 Hodgson, D. (2004) Peoject Work: The Legacy of Bureaucratic Control in the Post-Bureaucratic Organization. Organization, 11 (1), p.81 – 100. Ibrahim, S. and Alkire, S. (2007) Agency and Empowerment: A Proposal for Internationally Comparable Indicators. Oxford Development Studies, 35 (4), p.377 – 403. Knights, D. and Willmott, H. (2007) Introducing Organizational Behaviour and Management. London: Cengage. Maravelias, C. (2003) Post-bureaucracy – Control through Professional Freedom. Organizational Change Management, 16 (5), p. 547 – 566. Milgram, S. (1963) Behavioral Studies of Obedience. Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67 (4), p.371-378. Peters, T. J., & Waterman, R. H. (1982). In search of excellence: lessons from America’s best-run companies. Pettigrew, A. M. (1973). The politics of organizational decision-making. London, Tavistock; distributed in the U.S.A. by Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., Barnes & Noble Import Division. Ritzer, G. (1996). Classical sociological theory. New York, McGraw-Hill. Schein, E. (1983) The Role of the Founder in Creating Organization Culture. Organization Dynamics, 12 (1), p.13 – 28. Robbins P. and Judge, T. (2011) Organizational Behavior. 14th ed. New Jersey: Pearson. Tiedens, L. (2001) Anger and Advancement Versus Sadness and Subjugation: The Effect of Negative Emotion Expressions on Social Status Conferral. Personality and Social Psychology, 80 (1), p.86 – 94. Warren, D. (1969) The Effects of Power Bases and Peer Groups on Conformity in Formal Organizations. Conflict within and between Organizations, 14 (4), p.544-556. Willmott, H (1993) ‘Strength is ignorance; slavery is freedom; managing culture in modern organizations’, Journal of Management Studies, 30(4): p 515-52 Willmott, H. (2005) Theorizing Contemporary Control: Some Post-Structural Responses To Some Critical Realist Questions. Organization, 12 (5), p.747 – 780.