Chapter 4: Power and Politics

Learning Objectives

In this chapter, we will:

  • Define power.
  • Contrast power, leadership, and authority.
  • Recognize symbols of managerial power.
  • Explain the relationship between power and dependency.
  • Review the bases of power.
  • Compare the different use of power bases and the likelihood that they will result in resistance, compliance, or commitment.
  • Summarize common power tactics used in the workplace.
  • Define politics.
  • Identify individual and organizational antecedents of political behaviour,
  • Recognize common influence tactics and their outcomes.
  • Describe potential directions of influence.
  • Explore suggestions for how-to use power and politics ethically in the workplace.
  • Define bullying, harassment, and violence.
  • Recognize that bullying and harassment disproportionally impact some groups more than others.
  • Review types of bullying.
  • Compare response to bullying and harassment.
  • Identify the role or organizations in reducing and addressing bullying and harassment

In this chapter, we will examine organizational culture as it relates to conflict. Power and politics are the lifeblood of most organizations. Most organizations are composed of coalitions and alliances of different parties that continually compete for available resources. As a result, informed employees need to understand power dynamics and their impact on conflict.

An awareness of the nature and pervasiveness of power and politics is essential for a better understanding of how conflict can be prevented and managed. We will explore the importance of professionalism and methods for engaging in power, politics, and conflict in an ethical manner. Finally, we will explore extreme situations of conflict that take the form of bullying, harassment, and/or workplace violence.

Adapted Works

Organizational Power and Politics” in Principles of Management by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


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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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