Walter A. Haas School of Business University of California, Berkeley UGBA105: Organizational Behavior Professor Jim Lincoln Week 7: Power, politics, & networks in Organizations Power and Politics: Class Agenda Review forms of power in organizations
“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”
John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834–1902):
Letter to Mandell Creighton, April 5, 1887. Reprinted in Acton, Essays on Freedom and Power, ed. Gertrude Himmelfarb, pp. 335–36 (1972).
Other ways of getting & exercising power:
Sen. Everett Dirksen
Representative Tom DeLay
“…(A) wise prince ought to adopt such a course that his citizens will always in every sort and kind of circumstance have need of him.., then he will always find them faithful."
“No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution."
“He who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined”
"Hence it is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity. "
1. The classical rational model
2. The political model
Decision-making is unplanned and disorderly. It can occur without clear rules and behind the scenes. It is the outcome of conflicts in which one side prevails over others
Boardroom DuelBehind H-P Chairman's Fall,Clash With a Powerful Director
The Cautious Patricia DunnAnd Flashy Tom Perkins Were a Combustible Pair
WSJ, G. Anders and A. MurrayOctober 9, 2006
Fiorina: Board intrigue familiar. Fired chief executive at HP describes 'veil of dysfunction'
B. Pimentel, SF Chronicle,
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
C. Fiorina: Tough Choices: A Memoir, 2006
“If someone as blessed as I am is not willing to clean out the barn, who will?”
“Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering, and providing tremendous service to customers.”
Perot ran for president of the United States in 1992 as an independent candidate, winning 19 percent of the vote—one of the largest percentages ever for an independent candidate. He ran again in 1996 on the Reform Party ticket.
Ganz and Murray “The Experience of Workplace Politics” Academy of Management Journal 23 (1980)
“We did our level best, but it wasn’t good enough...The decision to recommend a launch was pre-ordained by others, by NASA leaning on our upper management. The deck was stacked.”
“I was so sure that Challenger was doomed that I asked my daughter, Leslie, then 33, to my office to watch a super colossal disaster unfold on live TV...and then I prayed”
That he foresaw disaster and could not stop it has tortured him since.
The modern flat, lean, horizontal organization
power & politics
“Apple is highly relationship and network oriented. If you know the right people you can get things done—there are lots of inner circles. Management by coercion doesn’t work here..
There is a lot of politics—like everywhere-but lack of rules and policies may make it more important here. Most organizations have their smoke-filled rooms; Apple does too. The difference is that here if you want into the argument, you can find your way in.”
--Apple HR manager
Power flows to centrally-placed actors
Having a power base is not enough!
Be central; be a broker!
Forge “weak” ties!
Who were the allies and adversaries in this conflict? What were the reasons for the conflict? What resources did the parties bring to bear? What strategies were used? Who prevailed and why? Does the gender of the protagonists have any relevance here? Why or why not? How might the debate over the distribution system have been better managed? How did Apple’s culture, structure, and the leadership styles of the executive team shape the evolution of the conflict? Was “incongruence” or poor alignment among the various parts of Apple’s organization a cause of the conflict? Was it leveraged or exploited in any way by the players?