Chapter 10 Managing Politics, Conflict, and Change
Politics, Conflict, and Change • Politics, conflict, and change are real, pervasive, and important, and they create uncertainty, turmoil, and stress. • They share some similar causes, such as resource scarcity. • They each foster more of the same: politics leads to more politics, conflict to more conflict, and change to more change. • They also breed one another: politics and change are likely to engender conflict; conflict may foster change, and may lead to political behaviors. • While not often listed on job descriptions, each involves critical skills.
Organizational Politics • Organizational politics refer to activities that people perform to acquire, enhance, and use power and other resources to obtain their preferred outcomes in a situation where there is uncertainty or disagreement. • Since the focus is on people’s preferred outcomes rather than those of the organization, organizational politics may or may not involve activities that are contrary to the best interests of the organization.
Statement The experience of workplace politics is common in most organizations. Successful executives must be good politicians. The higher you go in organizations, the more political the climate becomes. Powerful executives don’t act politically. You have to be political to get ahead in organizations. Top management should try to get rid of politics in organizations. Politics helps organizations function effectively. Organizations free of politics are happier than those where there is a lot of politics. Politics in organizations is detrimental to efficiency. % Agreeing 93.2 89.0 76.2 15.7 69.8 48.6 42.1 59.1 55.1 Manager’s Feelings About Workplace Politics
Machiavellianism • Self-Monitoring • Need for Power • Individual Values • Organizational • Values • Ambiguity • Counternorms • Competition • Level in • Organization Individual Determinants Organizational Determinants Some Determinants of Organizational Politics (Figure 10-1) Organizational Politics
Al Neuharth Individual Determinants: Machiavellianism • Since Machiavellians believe that ends justify means and they should always “look out for number one,” it’s not surprising that they are highly political. • Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today and author of Confessions of an SOB, has argued that that CEOs commonly employ Machiavellian behavior and that “Being Machiavellian, as a general offense, is not all bad.” • Machiavellians see political behavior as pragmatic and appropriate. • Machiavellianism has been related to the decision to offer kickbacks and lower scores on ethical orientation.
Individual Determinants:Self-Monitoring • Recall that high self-monitors are chameleon-like, adjusting their behaviors in ways to induce positive reactions from others. • High self-monitors have been shown to be more apt than low self-monitors to engage in manipulation and filtering of information that they transmit upward to create a favorable impression.
Individual Determinants:Need for Power • Need for power is the desire to control other persons, to influence their behavior, and to be responsible for them. • Personalized power seekers try to dominate others for the sake of dominating, and derive satisfaction from conquering others. • Socialized power seekers satisfy their power needs in ways that help the organization. They may show concern for group goals, find goals to motivate others, and work with a group to develop and achieve goals. • We would expect more political behavior from personalized power seekers than from socialized power seekers.
Organizational Determinants: Organizational Values • Bottom-line mentality. Sees financial success as the only value to be considered; rules of morality are simply obstacles on the way to the bottom line. • Exploitative mentality. A selfish perspective that encourages using people to benefit one’s own immediate interests. • Madison Avenue mentality. Says, “It’s right if I can convince you that it’s right.” Focuses on making others believe our actions are moral.
Norms Openness, honesty, candor Follow the rules Be cost-effective Take responsibility “All for one and one for all” Maintain an appearance of consensus; support the team Take timely action Counternorms Secrecy and lying; “play your cards close to your chest” Break the rules to get the job done. “Spend it or burn it” Avoid responsibility; “pass the buck” Achieve your goals at the expense of others Maintain high visibility; “grandstanding” “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow” Organizational Determinants: Norms andCounternorms (Figure 10-3)
BUILD LEGITIMACY MAKE POWER UNOBTRUSIVE BUILD A BASE OF SUPPORT Pfeffer’s Political Strategies EFFECTIVE POLITICS
Pfeffer’s Political Tactics • Selectively use objective criteria • Use outside experts • they have expertise • they appear to be objective • they are expensive • Control the agenda • keep items off the agenda that you don’t want discussed • place items on the agenda in ways to get desired amount of discussion • place a weak “dummy” proposal on the agenda before a key proposal you want to be approved
Pfeffer’s Political Tactics(Continued) • Form coalitions • external coalitions • these bring in new resources • they may cause resentment • internal coalitions • these may seem less overtly political than external coalitions • one form of internal coalition is coalition through promotions • Coopt dissenters • Use committees
Questioning the Tactics Sample questions to challenge the tactics might include: • Why were these criteria specified in the posting of job requirements? • Who selected the outside consultant who was brought in to make recommendations regarding changes in the reward system? • Why wasn’t a discussion of the proposed job redesign program on the agenda? • Is this committee to which I’ve been appointed for real or is the decision it’s making a “done deal”?
Defensive Behaviors Defensive Behaviors to Avoid Action • overconforming • passing the buck • playing dumb • depersonalization • stretching and smoothing • stalling
Defensive Behaviors (Continued) Defensive Behaviors to Avoid Blame • buffing • playing safe • justifying • scapegoating • misrepresenting • escalation of commitment Defensive Behaviors toAvoid Change • resisting change • protecting turf
Impression Management • Impression management is behavior that people direct toward others to create and maintain desired perceptions of themselves. • The most prominent type of impression management behavior is self-presentation, which involves the manipulation of information about oneself. • Self-presentation can be verbal or nonverbal or involve display of artifacts. • There are at least eight types of verbal self-presentations.
Rendering Favors Self- Descriptions Other Enhancement Organization Descriptions Acclaiming Opinion Conformity Apologies Accounts Verbal Self-Presentational Behaviors (Figure 10-5) Verbal Self-Presentation
Political Games • Henry Mintzberg has suggested that organizational politics is a “collection of goings on, a set of ‘games’ taking place … a kind of three ring circus.” • He identified four types of games: • Authority Games • Power Base Games • Rivalry Games • Change Games
NO YES Right: Does the Act Respect the Rights of the Individuals Involved? Political Act is Unethical NO YES Justice: Is the Act Consistent with the Canons of Justice? NO YES Political Act is Ethical Asking Whether a Political Act is Ethical (Figure 10-7) Utility: Does the Act Optimize the Satisfaction of All Constituencies?
Potential Benefits of Political Activity Political activity may: • act in a Darwinian way to ensure that the strongest members of an organization are brought into positions of leadership. • ensure that all sides of an issue are fully debated. • stimulate necessary change that is blocked by those currently in power. • ease the path for the execution of decisions.
Guidelines for Minimizing Political Activity • Don’t close your eyes to politics. • Challenge political behaviors. • Reduce ambiguity. • Make things visible. • Walk the talk. • Recognize that others may interpret your behaviors as political, even if you really weren’t being political. • Reduce your own and others’ vulnerability to political behaviors.
Establish Cred- ibility and an Overall Positive Impression in the Eyes of Others in the Organization Build a Base of Support by Networking, Forming Alliances, etc., with Key Players Create and Implement Formal and Clear Policies, Procedures, etc., to Reduce Ambiguity Use Defensive Behaviors as Protection Against Dirty Political Players in the Organization Act in Ways Consistent with What is Verbally Communicated to Employees (Walk the Talk) Be Open and Visible with Employees When Dealing with Key Issues that Affect Them The Bottom Line: Managing Organizational Politics Effectively Learn the Culture and the “Rules of the Game” for Success in the Organization
Conflict Premises • Conflict and disagreement are normal in human relationships. • Conflict may be good. • The way in which conflict is framed may influence its nature and outcomes. • Relationship/task • Emotional/intellectual • Cooperate/win • A mutually acceptable solution can often be found.
Conflict Premises (Continued) • Any of the parties to conflict can contribute to its resolution by taking personal responsibility and initiating communications. • Trusting behavior can evoke trusting behavior. • Consensus and synergy are likely only when people choose to cooperate in a win-win relationship rather than compete. • Some conflicts may never be resolved because of fear, rigidity, intolerance, paranoia, or other emotional impairment.
Competition Over Scarce Resources Differentiation Ambiguity Competitive Reward Systems Task Interdependence Goal Incompatibility Causes of Conflict Conflict
A Conflict Model • Latent Conflict. Latent conflict is essentially conflict waiting to happen. • Felt Conflict. Felt conflict is experienced as discomfort and tension. • Perceived Conflict. Perceived conflict is the awareness that we are in a conflict situation. • Manifest Conflict. After conflict is perceived and felt, it may or may not become open, or manifest. • Conflict Aftermath. Conflict is likely to breed more conflict and, when it does, that conflict is likely to take on a life of its own.
Environmental Effects Latent Conflict Organizational and Extra- Organizational Tensions Attention- Focus and Diversion Mechanisms Felt Conflict Perceived Conflict Conflict Resolution Mechanisms Manifest Conflict Strategic Considerations Conflict Aftermath A Conflict Model (Figure 10-8) Aftermath of Preceding Episode
The Legacy of Conflict at the Dart Group • The legacy of conflict is seen in the saga of the Hafts, once called the “most feared family in retailing.” • Dart Group founder Herbert Haft fired his wife and older son, Robert, when he read a newspaper article suggesting that his clout was on the wane and that Robert had become Dart’s de facto head. • This led to a divorce, lawsuits among family members, and a battle for control of the empire that led to bankruptcy and dismantling the company. • The battle continues in cyberspace as Herbert and Robert have competing online health products ventures.
Conflict Styles • Competing. Involves trying to win at the other party’s expense. Generally leads to antagonism and festering resentment. • Avoiding. Attempts to avoid or smooth over conflict situations. Generally unproductive. • Accommodating. Involves acceding completely to the other party’s wishes or at least cooperating with little or no attention to one’s own interests. • Compromising. Involves an attempt to find a satisfactory middle ground (“split the difference”) • Collaborating. This problem-solving style is mutually beneficial. Requires trust, open sharing of information, and creativity.
Focus on Larger Goals Improve Communications Bring Parties Together to Foster Understanding and Cooperation Clarify Job Responsibilities Develop Employees’ Negotiating Skills Separate Conflicting Parties Use Third Parties as Mediators Approaches to Conflict Resolution(Figure 10-10) Reduced Conflict
Sharing a Boat • It is sometimes helpful to bring competing parties together so they can get to know each other’s perspectives and practice cooperation. • Two Pacific Northwest nonprofit groups used this approach to smooth the waters between environmental and timber interests, battling over preservation of timberland for the spotted owl. • Ten men who were central to the fight agreed to spend three days guiding an old wooden sailboat through the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound. • According to one of the organizers, “It’s a cooperative effort to be on a boat, and that spills over into any kind of discussion.”
Korean Conflict Management • The way conflict is managed depends on cultural factors. • Koreans feel harmony is essential in all relationships and situations; this belief is founded in Confucianism. • To achieve harmony, Confucians laid out a hierarchical societal structure and prescribed that individuals should maintain their position. • Those higher in status have an obligation to maintain or restore harmony among those below them, and they reap respect when they do so.
Communication Guidelines to Build More Productive Relationships • Be honest; say what’s on your mind now. Be open. • Be specific; provide examples. • Don’t use the words never and always. • Listen in depth; reflect and paraphrase what you hear. • Ask questions to clarify the meaning of what the other person is saying. • Focus on behavior that the other person controls. • Maintain good eye contact.
Communication Guidelines to Build More Productive Relationships (Continued) • Focus on only one specific issue or behavior at a time. • Don’t interrupt. • Stay there. Don’t walk away mentally, emotionally, physically, or psychologically. • Be direct and tactful. • Use I statements rather than you statements (e.g., “When this happens, I feel …” rather than “When you do this, it makes me feel …”). • Don’t attack the other person by ridiculing, taunting, or otherwise being rude and hostile. • Don’t defend yourself by blaming others, avoiding, or withdrawing.
Seek to Understand Others’ Conflict- Handling Styles Match the Most Appropriate Conflict- Handling Style to the Situation Manage the Aftermath of the Conflict to Main- tain Important Relationships Reach an Acceptable Resolution to the Conflict The Bottom Line: Applying the General Conflict Management Process Identify the Basis for Conflict
Approaches to Generating Conflictive Conflict • Sales contests create competition among marketing employees. • Uncertainty can be induced by assigning different tasks, hiring new personnel, or changing the reward system. • A devil’s advocate can be given the task of finding faults in proposed solutions so as to avoid a situation in which a group fails to evaluate its choices critically. • A scapegoat -- someone who bears the blame for an unpopular action -- may be required to introduce needed changes. Such as person may “shake things up,” “take the heat,” and then be replaced.
Managing Change • Change is a critical uncertainty facing the organization, and the ability to manage change is a valuable skill. • Organizations are becoming more change-oriented, responding to various forces in increasingly dynamic environments. • Change is difficult, and may not always be good. • Change may often be necessary, but it may also be painful. • People may differ in the degree to which they resist change and in their motivations to change.
Some external forces for change: globalization the growing diversity of the workforce the explosion of the Internet new legislation changing customer desires and expectations heightened levels of competition Some internal forces for change: performance gaps new leadership a new mission employee pressures Forces for Change
Planned Versus Reactive Change • Managers can respond to change either by planning or reacting. • Planned change occurs when managers develop and install a program that serves to alter organizational activities in a timely and orderly way. • Reactive change occurs when managers simply respond to the pressure for change when that pressure comes to their attention. • Planned change is typically regarded as superior to reactive change.
Phase 1 Unfreezing Phase 2 Changing Phase 3 Refreezing • Create High • Felt Need for • Change • Minimize • Resistance to • Change • Change • People, Tasks, • and Structure • Encourage • Ongoing • Support • Reinforce • Outcomes • Constructive • Modification The Change Process -- Lewin’s Change Model (Figure 10-11)
Targets of Change(Figure 10-12) Structural Technological Purpose or Task Human
Web Wise: Robot Information Central • The installation of robots is a good example of technological change. • For a huge listing of robotic links, go to Robot Information Central at the website of Arrick Robotics. • http://www.robotics.com/robots.html
Uncertainty Lack of Understanding and Trust Self-Interest Differing Perceptions Habit Rejection of Change Source Lack of Tolerance for Change Sources of Resistance to Change(Figure 10-13) Resistance to Change
Focus on Management: Trust Building at Eastman Chemical • Earnest Deavenport, CEO of Eastman Chemical, credits the company’s substantial success to the way in which Eastman has retooled the traditional contract between company and employees. • One element of Eastman’s trust-building strategy is an incentive and compensation system, Eastman’s Performance Plan, that encourages employees worldwide to become stewards of the company. • Through the system, Eastman employees will soon own 20% of the company’s stock.
Lighten Up: Bad Fads • While change is often desirable, people may implement change for questionable reasons. • For example, some change efforts are essentially impression management, attempts to give the appearance of progress or to detract attention from other problems. • In addition, change may sometimes take the form of blindly following fads. • Check out the Bad Fads museum at: http://www.badfads.com
The Rhetorical Triangle(Figure 10-15) Logos Pathos Ethos