Ethics and Politics

6983 Words Dec 27th, 2010 28 Pages
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Strategic Leadership and Decision Making
17
LEVERAGING
POWER AND POLITICS
The challenges faced by strategic leaders in implementing complex and long-range consequential decisions demand that they be sophisticated with respect to issues of leadership, power and influence. The changes that are shaping the nature of work in today's complex organizations require that we develop the political will, expertise and personal skills to become more flexible, innovative and adaptive. Without political awareness and skill, we face the inevitable prospect of becoming immersed in bureaucratic infighting, parochial politics and destructive power struggles, which greatly retard organizational initiative, innovation, morale and performance
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If power involves the employment of stored influence by which events, ac- tions and behaviors are affected, then politics involves the exercise of power to get something done, as well as to enhance and protect the vested interests of individuals or groups. Thus, the use of organizational politics suggests that political activity is used to overcome resistance and implies a conscious effort to organize activity to challenge opposition in a priority decision situation. The preceding discussion indicates that the concepts of power and organizational politics are related. Thus, in this chapter, we define organizational politics as the use of power, with power viewed as a source of potential energy to manage relationships.
THE POLITICAL FRAME As discussed earlier, Bolman and Deal describe four "frames" for viewing the world: structural, human resources, political, and symbolic. The political frame is an excellent tool for examining the concept of organizational politics and makes a number of assumptions about organizations and what motivates both their actions and the actions of their decision makers.
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• Organizations are coalitions of individuals and interest groups, which form because the members need each others' support. Through a negotiation process, members combine forces to produce common objectives and agreed upon ways to utilize resources thus aggregating their power. Power bases are developed that can accomplish more than
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