Power And Politics Management Of Performance Management Essay

Organization politics are a reality in most organizations, and while game-playing might outwardly appear to be wasted time, it is necessary in order to secure resources, progress ideas, achieve personal goals, and often to enhance one’s standing. It is naive to realistically expect to be able to stand aloof from organizational politics. You may be respected for doing so, but your progress will be limited and you will be seen as an easy target. (Buchanan & Badham, 2007, pp 47-59)

Frome managing and leading people prospective, the later part will discuss about how power politics and control influence on the management of performance of individuals and organizational .what are the key aspects of the approaches of the power politics and controls over the management of performance. What is the good aspect and what is the negative aspect of those elements when we bring performance management into consideration on individual bases and on organizational bases. It will also identify what is meant by power, politics and control and the management of performance. All the relevant theories from the module and practical theories will be discussed in detail.

Power and politics & Management of performance:

Before going into discussion about power politics and organizational control one need to discuss the dilemma of performance management. Performance management is not only about the employee’s performance but it mixture of how the organization as whole performing (internally and externally), its various department (sales, administration etc), budgeting, finance management, policies, services and products organizing groups for mutual task etc. According to Bratton & Gold, pp 274, (2007) Performance management refers to the set of interconnected practices which are design to ensure that a person overall capabilities and potential are appraised, so that relevant goals can be set for work and development and, through assessment, data on work behaviour and performance can be collected and reviewed.

On the other hand, Armstrong and Baron, pp 1-5, (2009) defining the management of performance as a process which contribute to the effective management of individuals and teams in order to achieve high level of organizational performance -as such, it established shared understanding about what is to achieved and an approach to leading and developing people which will ensure that it is achieved”.

Power and Politics:

Power and politics are the ability or official capacity to exercise and control authority. It also has been known as an individual, groups, or states that have more control over others. Politics is defined as the art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political body, such as a nation, organizations, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs. As businesses harness the power of technology to change and drive the bottom line, power and politics have been seen as the force behind this change. The managements bring important attributes to the table that lead the enterprise’s direction, from putting the company’s strategic visions to finding short-term solutions, getting long-term targets, and bringing in partners who can change and improve the company’s profits. Examine the persuasive and powerful individuals, and political base management in executive offices. A common feature among many will emerge: strong values and the ability to facilitate change. Thus it is understood how power and politics work together, and benefits each other well in the business setting. Although most individuals think as power as a force over something or someone, it is not identified as a political force. Power shared with political support has proven to be very beneficial in society or in organization. The former president of Pakistan ‘General Pervaiz musharraf’ is an example of how he maintained power and politics in his regime effectively through a positive control which had influence positively on the country overall performance as comparing to its past. Leader is the key success for an effective performance of an organization.

How far we can see power and politics:

The topic of power is so vital and difficult to define in a single sentence yet people made different approaches towards power definition. ”Power can be exerted not only by some individuals over other, but also by some groups, sections departments, organization and indeed by some nations over other”. (Huczynski & Buchanan, 2007). Another writer Jay (1967) commented on the power definition as ”power lies in the acceptance of your authority by others -their knowledge that if they try to resist you they will fail and you will succeed”, (jay, 1967). According to Gallagher (2003), ”power is the capacity to impress the dominance of one’s goal or values on other”. One can say that power is the source of individual authority and approached to get the thing s done. In other words the ability to make something happening or preventing it forms happening. On the other hand Organization politics can be defined as ”informal, parochial, typically divisive and illegitimate behaviour that is aimed at displacing legitimate power” (Mintzberg, 1983).

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Organizations mainly consisted of organizational politics. Authorities or leaders usually exercising power have the same amount of politics. Working in organization one can see closely the relation of power and politics. It is believe that it is a reality in the organizations. According to Prasad, (1993) ”Politicking is one of the option for those who wish to influence decisions”. It is believed that politics inside organization can be exercised for and against the organization. But most of the critics believed that politics mostly ‘disrupt organizational efficiency and effectiveness’ (kacmar et al., 1999). Also it consuming time, restricting information and making communication difficulties (Eisenhard & Bourgeois, 1988). It also creating the environment stressful, decreasing job satisfaction and making high level of employees turn over. Form a very way power and politics described as essential sources in the organizational life .some critics described as good well for organizational life and some criticised as negative element for organizational life and individuals well being. Power and politics can understand through its sources and tactics that how individuals exercising them through various means and controlling the whole sort of culture which automatically reflects on their performance. There are different approaches has been made by the writers, ‘individualist and pluralist’ are the commons in them.

Power as an individual’s property:

This type of power has been exercised by individuals with a ”Social and Interpersonal skills, Power can be seen in particular individuals inside the organizations” (Huczynski and Buchanan, pp 435, 2007). Clearly stating who have the power and those who don’t have. Individual property can be eliminated in two types of sources, structural sources and personal source based on managing with power theory (Jeffrey, 1992).

Structural source:

Individual formal role and position .the Ability of gaining support and allies, Individuals have fully control over information Reducing problems and uncertainty. Also have influence on the organization communication physically and emotionally, and the pervasiveness of individual activities within the organization.

Such kind of power can be seen in accountants or accountant general officers and HR manager who have more power and authority than others. They hold a strong position and can be positive or negative effect on the organization overall performance.

Individual’s source:

Power can be seen in Individuals, those who have more energy and physical stamina. The ability of focusing on energy and avoiding worthless efforts has fully understanding of other employee’s feelings. Individuals have a great capability of mental toughness and ability to control stress situation like conflicts and confrontations. All those Characteristics of power are known as more socialistic and talk about individual behaviour of its approach towards power.

Power as a source of relationship

According to French & raven, pp 259-269 (1959) and Buchanan & Budham (1999), ”Power as an individual’s property yet it is property of relationship”. French & raven, pp 259-269 (1959), identified five types of power which are exercising within organization. Relationship power can be described as ‘personal power and positional power’. Each of these can be influence on the individual’s behaviour, attitude and values.

Figure 1. Types of Individual Power. (Source: French & raven, 1959)

Reward power:

It is combination of different element such as resources, assisting employee or empowering them in some areas, sharing information, advancement, recognitions, personnel and emotional support of an individual authority exerting in organization. From political aspect, study found that politics influence on the reward power. In other word if the leader wants to give someone reward, politics can influence it from both positive and negative aspects. So, that would affect the overall performance of an individual from both aspects. On the other hand reward power can be a positive aspect of getting good performance and control of the employees in organization. So, one can see both positive and negative elements in such type of power.

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Coercive power:

Authorities exercising the power of punishing individuals, firing them, and maintaining discipline and spreading the feelings of fear inside the organization, the leaders mostly delivered the massage of what their superior wants to do (transactional leadership). Politics may contribute in the form of other employees can get the massage what their superior wanted to do. Coercive power can be seen as negative in organizational culture, for example other employees may not be put their best in achieving the strategic goals and can turn hostile against the management which would influence on the management of performance and control of the individual and organization. In addition most of the critics seen it as a threat to employee well being. Using positive politics in such kind of power may give a massage to the employees to do what they asked to do. According to Hofstade, pp 42-63, (1980), ”culture does have high power distance and high uncertainty avoidance in some nations (i.e., Pakistan) has a significant influence on the performance and control of the organization or country. ” So to use some sort of coerciveness might be beneficial for the organizational performance and control.

Expert power:

This power based on facts or impression, the expertise of a manager to posse’s particular skills, knowledge and authorities capability of management issues and technique. The person may be given the power to make decisions for others individuals because he has an expertise on the particular subject area. Again it can be taken as positively and negatively influence on the management of performance. It can help others by getting things done on the right place and time but also can make barriers between the individuals and authorities if they take them in coercive manner, (Benfari & Buchanan et, al, 2007 pp 51).

Referent power:

Leader’s ability to rally his staff and urge them to cooperate in achieving the organizational goals (transformational leadership), the ability of the leaders to influence on individuals, we can call him as ‘charismatic leader’ or manager who can influence his personality by his own values and perception in the organization. These leaders are able to move the organization toward the ideal perspective by coordinating the employees and integrating all system components (Cacioppe, pp 336, 2000). This type of power purely considers being positive for organizational culture and performance. Individuals mostly manipulate towards referent power, pure satisfaction prevailing over organizational culture.

Legitimate power:

Legitimate power is based on an individual formal position in the organization. It also can be known as position power. It is usually based on the compliances of individuals.

Political perceptions in organization:

Organization politics can be defined as ”Informal, parochial, typically divisive and illegitimate behaviour that is aimed at displacing legitimate power” (Mintzberg, 1983). Organizations mainly consisted of organizational politics. Authorities usually exercising power have the same amount of politics. Working in organization one can see closely the relation of power and politics. It is believe that it’s a reality in the organizations. According to Prasad, 1993 ”Politicking is one of the option for those who wish to influence decisions”. It’s believed that politics inside organization can be exercised for and against the organization. But most of the critics believed that politics mostly ‘disrupt organizational efficiency and effectiveness’ (kacmar et al., 1999). Also it consuming time, restricting information and making communication difficulties (Eisenhard and Bourgeois, 1988). It also creating the environment stressful, decreasing job satisfaction and making high level of employees turn over.

Political behaviour needed to be considered more effectively and individuals have to be understood the causes and effects of politics in organization and its performance. Leadership may influence positively with powerful politics to reduce the level of high uncertainty, conflicts, building coalition with other, reducing the communication barriers between the employees and the managers or leaders, implementing strategic change and policies. Those who are in opposition can be tackling down on powerful politics, also handling trade unions or employees unions in the work place, etc.

Politics can influence positively on organization and individuals performance and control. But most of the employees understand the philosophy of political behaviour in organization as a negative aspect of work life assuming that it is a self- serving aspect of getting promotion and personal objectives.” Such behaviour can be identified as, hierarchical, associated with the influencing bad attitudes, destroying or abusing power and were not seen to be responsible towards organizational goals and interest of the employees”. (Vigoda & Poon, pp 138-155, 2003). In such political behaviour, individuals trying to surpass other in order to get more information and to get more power. Several factors are influencing on the political behaviour of an organization performance and can be known as personnel situational. Personal factors including demographic factors, individual’s characteristics, attitudes, needs and values and Situational factors like ‘job autonomy, job variety’ and on the organizational level such as centralization and formulization (Poon pp 138-155, 2003).

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Formal situational perception of organizational politics:

Job ambiguity:

In job ambiguity situations, individuals are mostly unclear about their job role, not clear about their objectives or goal and what can they do to get rewarded. Most of the employees trying to secure their jobs and their personnel interests using political resources and can turn them in ‘defensive political behaviour’ (Ashforth and Lee, 1990).

Scarcity of resources:

In the situation of pay rise, promotion opportunities etc individual compete for such resources May using politics to get promotion and to get career opportunities and developments and get positively relation to political behaviour.

Trust climate:

According to Das and Teng, pp 251-283, (2001), ”Trust is subjective state of positive expectations regarding another person’s good-well and can exist at the personal, organizational, inter-organizational and international levels”. Working climate of trust can motivate individuals positively and can be influence on the political behaviour of an organization. On the other hand it can reduce employee performance if there is lack of trust climate in organization.

Job satisfactions:

The work environment, where individuals feel satisfaction and security of their jobs, According to Lock, 1973 and Poon, 2003, ”job satisfaction is a positive emotional state that arise when people appraised their jobs or job experience”. The level of decrease in job satisfaction can be seen in organization with higher political behaviour. Decision and policies based on higher political environment can create job stress as well.

Employees turn over intention:

Turnover of employee can be discussed from two aspects psychological and physical usually caused when the organization are high politicking, most of the employee give up their struggles towards the job targets mentally and physically in a work life based on political environment,( Kacmar, 1999).

The listed below diagram can evaluate about the political perception in organization clearly.

Figure 2. Perceptions of Organizational Politics (Source: Poon, 2003)


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