Module 5 Case Organizations as Political Systems MGT 501 Leaders in an Organization must have the pulse of the organization and fully understand the Politics and culture within their organization to be able to effectively lead and know which style of leadership to apply in a various array of situations. In the Clement article he discusses 3 main topics. First is the importance of dealing with organizational culture. His key point is that management must work within the existing culture to transform the organization. The important objective is to improve the company, not necessarily change the culture.
His second topic is the role of leadership in organizational change. He discusses the role of leadership in dealing with culture and the leadership styles that may be required. Lastly he discusses the consideration of organizational power, and the related topic of politics, in organizational change. In the three companies that he conducts analysis on two of them received outside pressure of board members to make a change and bring in new top management teams. Their new interactions and relationships both inside and outside the organization appear to be what was needed to turn those companies around.
Leadership is a tough business and politics both internal and external to an organization add an extra challenge. (Ratzburg, 2002) “Politics is a means of recognizing and, ultimately, reconciling competing interests within the organization. Competing interests can be reconciled by any number of means. For example, resorting to “rule by the manager” might be seen as an example of totalitarian rule. On the other hand, politics may be a means of creating a non-coercive, or a democratic work environment. According to Aristotle, politics stems from a diversity of interests.
To fully understand the politics of the organization, it is necessary to explore the processes by which people engage in politics. Consistent with Aristotle’s conceptualization, it is a given that, within the organization, all employees bring their own interests, wants, desires, and needs to the workplace. The successful practice of organizational politics is perceived to lead to a higher level of power, and once a higher level of power is attained, there is more opportunity to engage in political behavior.
Common Influence (Political) Tactics are identified a series of common influence tactics and listed them from most effective to least effective: * rational persuasion — logical arguments and factual evidence * inspirational appeal — arousal of enthusiasm by appealing to values * consultation — seeking participation in planning * ingratiation — * exchange — offering an exchange of favors * personal appeal — appeals to feelings of loyalty or friendship * coalition — seeking the aid of others legitimating — pointing to organizational policies, rules practices, or traditions * pressure — demands, threats, persistent reminders” Politics and power can both be used in positive ways. Coercion may occasionally be needed to influence those who refuse to support change. Communication and collaboration can often enable political activities of a positive nature, especially if the organizational culture has been considered and the leader of the cultural change effort was effective in influencing positive change. CLEMENT, 1994) “Those attempting to implement change should study the history of the organization and its relationships with its various stakeholders, including those beyond its boundaries. Only in this way can change advocates understand the observable but misleading “facts” and uncover the real systems of meaning to which managers and employees subscribe. Any discussion of organizational power needs to consider the closely related topic of organizational politics. Politics is power in action; it involves acquiring, developing, and using power to achieve one’s objectives.
Because change always threatens the existing balance of power in an organization, politics will always be used to maintain balance. The analysis of politics must be performed at three levels: individual, coalition, and network. Not only must the advocates of change watch out for political and power plays, they must also use power and politics themselves. It’s a necessary case of fighting fire with fire. A somewhat higher level of political maneuvering–political facilitation—calls for direct interaction with those who may help or hinder the change.
It applies to more substantial changes– perhaps major reorganizations within manufacturing divisions, individual retail outlets, or government agencies. The level of political maneuvering appropriate for large-scale organizational change is called political intervention. ” This module relates to the previous module where we discussed culture, and the occasional need for a change in the culture of the organization. A key factor with any change is strong and honest communication from the top level management and that top managers must talk the talk and walk the walk to be a role model for the change in which they are trying to implement. CLEMENT, 1994) “In addition to communication and widespread participation, they noted two other key leadership behaviors. First, top management needs to demonstrate visible and consistent support for change. Modeling expected behaviors is important; if the change effort calls for team-building, then top management should be the first group to try to build teams. The other important leadership behavior is tying the change program to business needs. Management needs to show how the change will improve outcome measures such as profits, productivity, or quality of work life.
The most commonly cited reason for the failure of a change effort was the presence of inaccurate and negative rumors, often caused by management’s neglecting to provide timely and accurate information. The second biggest reason for failure was that of employees learning of the change from outsiders–again, because management did not communicate. Many employees, especially those affected by the change, expressed extreme resentment about this situation. The final cause of failure was management’s reliance on a “lean” channel of communication, such as a memo instead of a face-to-face meeting. The leadership style of the leaders and managers which are trying to implement change is important to note, not only do leaders need to be able to use the appropriate leadership style for a particular situation but, they also need to know their managers and leaders within their organization and understand which leadership style they respond to best. (Clark, 2010) “Authoritarian or autocratic This style is used when leaders tell their employees what they want done and how they want it accomplished, without getting.
Some people tend to think of this style as a vehicle for yelling, using demeaning language, and leading by threats and abusing their power. This is not the authoritarian style, rather it is an abusive, unprofessional style called “bossing people around. ” It has no place in a leader’s repertoire. The authoritarian style should normally only be used on rare occasions. If you have the time and want to gain more commitment and motivation from your employees, then you should use the participative style. * Participative or democratic
This is normally used when you have part of the information, and your employees have other parts. Note that a leader is not expected to know everything — * Delegative or Free reign The leader allows the employees to make the decisions. However, the leader is still responsible for the decisions that are made rather this is a style to be used when you fully trust and confidence in the people below you. Do not be afraid to use it, however, use it wisely! ” In many organizations the company will succeed or fail due to the decisions and culture that the leadership makes with regards to the way they choose to do business.
Organizational core values are extremely important but, they are only as important as the leaders “model” for members of their work force to emulate as a standard of acceptable behavior. Organizational politics is closely related to organizational power. (CLEMENT, 1994)” Politics is power in action; it involves acquiring, developing, and using power to achieve one’s objectives. Because change always threatens the existing balance of power in an organization, politics will always be used to maintain balance” Clark, D. (2010, June 13). Leadership Styles.
Retrieved July 29, 2011, from A Big Dog, Little Dog and Knowledge Jump : http://www. nwlink. com/~donclark/leader/leadstl. html CLEMENT, R. (1994, January-February). Culture, Leadership, and power: the keys to organizational change. Retrieved Aug 3, 2011, from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m1038/is_n1_v37/ai_14922916/ Ratzburg, W. (2002, November 20). Defining Organizational Politics. Retrieved August 4, 2011, from OBnotes. HTM: http://web. archive. org/web/20080216010425/http://www. geocities. com/Athens/Forum/1650/htmlpolitc01. html