4.5 Key Takeaways, Knowledge Check and Key Terms

Key Takeaways

In this chapter, we learned that:

  • Power is the ability to influence the behavior of others to get what you want. It is often visible to others within organizations.
  • Power is distinct from both leadership and authority. Authority represents the right to seek compliance by others; the exercise of authority is backed by legitimacy. Leadership is the ability of one individual to elicit responses from another person that go beyond required or mechanical compliance.
  • Symbols of managerial power include access to key people and resources within an organization.
  • Power is closely tied to dependency. The more dependent someone is on you, the more power you have over them. Dependency is increased when you possess something that is considered scarce, important, and non-substitutable by others.
  • There are many bases of power, including legitimate, reward, coercive, expert, information, and referent power.
  • Depending upon which kind of power is employed, the recipient of a power effort can respond with commitment, compliance, or resistance.
  • Common power tactics include controlling access to information, controlling access to persons, the selective use of objective criteria, controlling the agenda, using outside experts, bureaucratic gamesmanship, and forming coalitions and alliances.
  • Organizational politics is a natural part of organizational life. Organizations that are driven by unhealthy levels of political behavior suffer from lowered employee organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and performance as well as higher levels of job anxiety and depression.
  • Individual antecedents of political behavior include political skill, internal locus of control, high investment in the organization, and expectations of success.
  • Organizational antecedents include scarcity of resources, role ambiguity, frequent performance evaluations and promotions, and democratic decision making.
  • Political behavior is more likely to occur when there are scarce resources, ambiguity, performance evaluations/promotions, and democratic and/or nonprogrammed decisions.
  • Influence tactics are the way that individuals attempt to influence one another in organizations. Rational persuasion is the most frequently used influence tactic, although it is frequently met with resistance. Inspirational appeals result in commitment 90% of the time, but the tactic is utilized only 2% of the time. The other tactics include legitimizing, personal appeals, exchanges, ingratiation, pressure, forming coalitions, and consultation.
  • Influence attempts may be upward, downward, or lateral in nature.
  • Workplace harassment is behaviour aimed at an individual (or group) that is belittling or threatening in nature. This can include actions (e.g., unwanted touching) or words (e.g., insults, jokes) that have the effect of causing psychological harm to victim(s). Harassment can take a variety of forms, including racial/ethnic harassment, sexual harassment, and general workplace harassment.
  • Bullying is similar to harassment and comprises repeated actions or verbal comments that lead to mental harm, isolation, or humiliation of a worker (or group), often with the intent to wield power over them.

Knowledge Check

Review your understanding of this chapter’s key concepts by taking the interactive quiz below.



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Conflict Management Copyright © 2022 by Laura Westmaas, BA, MSc is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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