Respond to the following..Review the political tactics used by organizations described on pp.196-197 of the text...Have you experienced any of these tactics in your workplace?...Or have you heard anyone describe a situation in their workplace in which they experienced a political tactic?...Describe the situation and the political tactic...minimum of 200 word response.
The term politics has a negative connotation for some people. Managers who are
"political" are often viewed as people who have risen to the top not because of their
own merit but because of "whom they know" and their ability to "work the system."
These people believe political managers act in a self-interested way and wield power
to benefit themselves and not their companies. There is some truth to this negative
view. The scandals that plagued companies like Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom,
and others are warning about what can happen at the top of a company if corrupt
managers are allowed to misuse their power.
Nevertheless, organizational politics can often be a positive force that helps a company
pursue its business model profitably. This is because managers striving to
improve the performance of a company often encounter resistance from other managers
who feel threatened by their actions and want to maintain the status quo (and
thus their personal benefits). To champion new products and increase profits, active,
forceful managers often need to engage in politics to get the support they need to
implement change. They often face resistance from other managers who, although
they might not be resistant to change, disagree with the specifics of how the changes
should be implemented. Indeed, in most business settings, politics is commonly used
to influence and persuade others.
When managers use political tactics to increase their power, they sometimes find it
easier to persuade others. Some common tactics include attacking and blaming others
versus making everyone a "winner"; reducing uncertainty and using objective information;
being irreplaceable and in a central position; and building coalitions and
alliances. (These tactics are shown in Figure 6.10.)
THE ATTACK-AND-BLAME TACTIC VERSUS MAKE-EVERYONE-AWINNER
TACTIC Two influential, but opposite, approaches can be effective in
different situations. The first approach is to attack and blame others. When pursuing
an attack-and-blame strategy, Manager "A" might spread the word to his or her colleagues
and higher-level managers that Manager "B" is the source of all the firm's
problems. The implication is that if these people would merely follow Manager's A's
suggested course of action, everyone would be better off. Sometimes the attack-and-
blame tactic occurs face-to-face in a meeting in which one manager comes under
attack from others. If a manager cannot defend his or her position, the manager leading
the attack will then find it easier to pursue his or her objectives. This tactic can be
particularly useful when several managers are competing for an important position
but only one will be chosen.
The second approach is to make everyone a "winner." When managers pursue the
make-everyone-a-winner tactic, they try to find a way to make a proposed course of
action benefit all the parties involved (or at least convince them that is the case). The
idea is to build a consensus. This approach is particularly effective when the active
cooperation of different functions or groups is needed to achieve a certain goal.
THE REDUCE-UNCERTAINTY AND USE-OBJECTIVE-INFORMATION
TACTIC Uncertainty is a threat for managers and their functions because it can
cause their performance to suffer. Valuable time and resources can be wasted because
people are uncertain about what must they do to achieve a particular goal. In the case
of Microsoft, for example, the risk is that Tammy Savage's group and the other
groups that work with it will develop software that the NetGen does not want. This
uncertainty can cause the developers to suffer a sort of paralysis and flounder. But
managers like Tammy Savage, who are able to understand the customer's needs and
can clearly articulate them, can reduce uncertainty by providing these people with a
vision and plan they can follow. This increases the power and influence a manager
has. In general, managers gain power when they can eliminate uncertainty for other
managers and groups.
Another way managers can reduce uncertainty and gain power is to collect and
distribute accurate information supporting the course of action they are proposing. In
many cases, the facts speak for themselves. This can lend a manager political credibility
and put the person in a better position to influence others. Still, even the most
accurate information has to be presented skillfully for a manager to gain support.
THE BE-IRREPLACEABLE OR OCCUPY-A-CENTRAL-POSITION TACTIC
Managers gain power when they are irreplaceable, that is, when they have valuable
knowledge and expertise that that no one else has. The more influence a manager
gains by being irreplaceable, the more power he or she has to persuade others. Managers
also gain more influence when they are central, meaning that their activities are
highly visible. These managers and the people who work with them must do a good
job because if they don't, there is little chance the company will meet its goals. In most
cases, managers such as these have access to important company information, and
other members of the firm become dependent on them for their knowledge, advice,
and political support. As such these, managers have a great deal of influence. People
who are outstanding performers, have a great deal of knowledge, and have made
important and visible contributions to their companies are likely to be offered central
positions as managers. This works to increase their power.
THE BUILDING-COALITIONS-AND-ALLIANCES TACTIC When managers
build coalitions and alliances, they actively develop mutually beneficial relationships
with other people and groups, both inside and outside of their companies.
Unlike the make-everyone-a-winner strategy, this strategy is an ongoing activity. It
involves finding other parties of equal power and allying with them to either achieve
or sustain power. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W.
Bush are good examples. Bush and Blair know if they combined forces, they are
more likely to influence people to follow the course of action they are proposing-
such as fighting terrorism. The partners in an alliance support one another because
they know they are far better off by cooperating versus competing with one another.
In terms of business organizations, sometimes this leads to needed changes, but in
other cases, this unity of power has an adverse effect on the firm. This is precisely
what happened at Kodak, discussed in Business in Action.
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