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The Political Frame Chapter 9 Power, Conflict, and Coalition Politics in Organizations Leaders are naieve and romantic if they hope to eliminate politics in organizations. The must understand and learn how to manage political processes. Key Terms in Context of Text

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The political frame l.jpg

The Political Frame

Chapter 9

Power, Conflict, and Coalition


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Politics in Organizations

  • Leaders are naieve and romantic if they hope to eliminate politics in organizations.

  • The must understand and learn how to manage political processes.


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Key Terms in Context of Text

  • Authorities - Those who are entitled to make decisions binding on others and who control the social system

  • Partisans – Those who cannot exert control in a social system; try to change the system by exerting bottom-up influence; agents or initiators of influence ; recipients of social control

  • Overbounded System – A system wherein power is highly concentrated and everything is tightly regulated


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Key Terms

  • Horizontal Conflict – occurs at interfaces between departments or divisions.

  • Vertical Conflict – occurs at interfaces between levels of the organization.

  • Cultural Conflict – occurs at interfaces between groups with different values, traditions, beliefs, and lifestyles


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Political View

  • Does not blame individuals or personal characteristics, i.e. selfishness, myopia, incompetence

  • Blames political behaviors, spawned by interdependence, divergent interests, scarcity, and power relations

  • Political processes are universal

  • Political processes won’t go away

  • Political processes must be understood and managed


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Political Assumptions

  • Organizations are coalitions of diverse individuals and groups

  • Coalition members differ in terms of values, beliefs, information, interests, and perceptions of reality

  • Important decisions are about allocating scarce resources


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Political Assumptions

  • Scarce resources and enduring differences make conflict central to organizational dynamics and underline power as the most important asset

  • Goals and decisions emerge from bargaining, negotiation, and jockeying for powition among competing stakeholders


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Traditional Organizations

  • Guided by goals and policies set at the top


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Challenger Case Analysis

  • Where were goals set in the Challenger case?

  • What coalitions were involved in the Challenger case?

  • What were the perspectives from which these coalitions viewed the launch?


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Scarce Resources -- ALWAYS

  • Politics will be more salient and intense during difficult times

  • Economic and demographic trends

  • Power is who, where, how “someone” gets things done

  • Goals are established through iterative interactions among key players


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China

  • What was the goal of the Chinese government?

  • Why was “the rest of the world” reluctant to let China in?

  • What was China’s position?

  • What was the outcome?


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Organizations

  • Pyramids or coalitions?

  • What impact does the view make?

    • Wages – “costs”

    • Dividend payments “profits”

  • What happens, particular in public organizations that makes many goals conflicting? (Air France)


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Roots of Political Frame

  • An organization is not a “person”

  • No singular goal

  • Relational concepts

    • Quasi-resolution – break problems into pieces and “farm out” to keep functional

    • Uncertainty avoidance – SOPs to simplify

    • Problemistic search – “find” first available solution

    • Organizational Learning – evolve, adapt goals

  • Cyert and March (1963) “A Behavioral Theory of the Firm”


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Power and Decision Making

  • Political frame views authority as only one among many forms of power.

  • Sources of power

    • Position

    • Information, expertise

    • Reward

    • Coercive

    • Alliances and networks

    • Agendas

    • Framing: control of meaning and symbols

    • Personal


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Distribution of Power

  • Overbounded – Highly concentrated and tightly regulated

    • Political activity often forced underground

  • Underbounded Systems – Diffuse power, loosely controlled


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Conflict in Organizations

  • Scarce resources

  • Divergent interests

  • Conflict undermines effectiveness

  • Not necessarily a problem


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Benefits of Conflict in Organizations

  • Challenges status quo

  • Stimulates interest and curiosity

  • Roots of personal and social change, creativity, innovation

  • Encourages new ideas and approaches to problems


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Politics of Getting AheadOrganizations as Jungles

  • Not room for everyone at the top

  • Strong devour the weak

  • Moral mazes

    • Did Thiokol engineers deserve praise for persistence and integrity?

    • Or reprimands for failure to stop launch?


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Jungles

  • How does one balance getting ahead with credibility?

  • Is there such a thing as productive politics?

  • Legitimate power leaders have position power but must compete for other forms

  • What is the Biblical view of power and “competitiveness”?

  • What is required of leaders?


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