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Chapter 6: Power and Politics in Schools. Presented October 28, 2009 by Jake Russo, Rich Moran, Peggy Pughe and Joe Manildi. “The probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance.” Weber, 1947, p. 152.

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chapter 6 power and politics in schools

Chapter 6:Power and Politics in Schools

Presented October 28, 2009 by

Jake Russo, Rich Moran, Peggy Pughe and Joe Manildi

slide2

“The probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance.” Weber, 1947, p. 152

sources of authority legitimate power
Sources of authority—legitimate power

Groups influence who has authority & who follows the authority

authority relations in schools have 3 primary characteristics
Authority relations in schools have 3 primary characteristics:
  • Willingness of staff to comply
  • A suspension of the staffs’ criteria for making a decision prior to a directive
  • A power relationship legitimized by the norms of a group
types of authority
Types of Authority
  • Traditional authority: belief in the sanctity of the status of those exercising authority in the past
  • Legal authority: based on enacted laws that can be changed by formally correct procedures
  • Formal authority: vested in the organization and is legally established in positions, rules, and regulations.
  • Functional authority: variety of sources, including authority of competence and authority of person.
  • Informal authority: stems from personal behavior and attributes of individuals.
authority and administrative behavior in schools
Authority and Administrative Behavior in Schools
  • Chester Barnard (1938) “zone of indifference”
  • Formal authority promotes limited compliance, but doesn’t require employees to exert responsibility or initiative
  • This poses a challenge for school leaders
slide7

Control through domination?

    • Leads to resentment
    • Lack of loyalty
    • Blau refers to this as the “dilemma of bureaurocrat authority”
therefore successful principals do the opposite
Therefore, successful principals do the opposite:
  • They furnish services & assistance to faculty
  • Results: enhanced development of loyalty and an increase in the principal’s informal authority
  • Supervisors should focus on helping, not directing
  • Research supports these assertions
  • “Close authoritarian control of teachers does not generate informal authority; supportive and helpful supervision does.” p. 223
emotional detachment hierarchical independence
Emotional detachment & hierarchical independence
  • Important characteristics of principal-teacher relationships.
    • Emotional detachment: the ability to remain cool/collected in challenging situations
    • Hierarchical independence: extent to which administrators demonstrate their autonomy from superiors (District level admin) as they interact w/ teachers
an administrator s to do list
An Administrator’s To Do List:
  • Be considerate and supportive of their teachers: help teachers be successful
  • Be authentic: be straight, share in the blame, and avoid manipulating others
  • Be unfettered by bureaucracy: substitute good judgment for rigid rules
  • Demonstrate autonomy: be your own person
  • Demonstrate influence: go to bat for your teachers with superiors
  • Stay calm and cool, especially in difficult situations: don’t “blow up”
  • Avoid the use of authoritarian behavior: it is doomed to failure

(p. 244)

sources of power
Sources of Power
  • Reward Power: Influence staff by rewarding a desired behavior
  • Coercive Power: Influence the staff by punishing them for undesirable behavior.
  • Legitimate power: Influence behavior of staff because of his/her formal position (principal).
  • Referent Power: Influence behavior based on the staff’s liking and identification with the administrator
  • Expert power: Influence subordinate’s behavior based on specialized knowledge or skill
don t abuse your power just be nice
Don’t abuse your power, just be nice…
  • Be polite and clear.
  • Explain reasons when requesting something from your staff.
  • Respond to concerns of staffers
  • Use legitimate authority.
make sure you ve got the right wine for that cheese it could get ugly if you don t
Make sure you’ve got the right wine for that cheese…it could get ugly if you don’t!
  • Your effectiveness as an administrator is determined by pairing the right type of power with the right situation.
  • There are five types of power (you’ve got the list in your packet) and Yukl has identified three reactions that they may elicit from your staff:
    • Commitment
    • Simple compliance
    • Resistance
how s about a little informal assessment
How’s about a little informal assessment…
  • Get your “Types of Power” cheat sheet.
  • Obtain a student responder.
  • Wait for me to tell you when to power up your responder.
  • Log in with your three letter code located on the sheet at your table (press slowly).
  • When answering, press only once.
slide17

Expert Power

iRespond Question

Multiple Choice

F

A.) Commitment

B.) Simple Compliance

C.) Resistance

D.)

E.)

slide18

Reward power

iRespond Question

Multiple Choice

F

A.) Commitment

B.) Simple compliance

C.) Resistance

D.)

E.)

slide19

Coercive Power

iRespond Question

Multiple Choice

F

A.) Commitment

B.) Simple Compliance

C.) Resistance

D.)

E.)

slide20

Legitimate power

iRespond Question

Multiple Choice

F

A.) Commitment

B.) Simple Compliance

C.) Resistance

D.)

E.)

slide21

Referent Power

iRespond Question

Multiple Choice

F

A.) Commitment

B.) Simple compliance

C.) Resistance

D.)

E.)

so what do we get out of this
So, what do we get out of this?
  • Two of the five types of power will maximize commitment from the school community.
  • At the very least, the type of power you choose should avoid resistance and alienation.
issues with each type of power
Issues with each type of power.
  • Referent power most effective, but also most difficult to achieve because it requires longevity.
  • Expert power requires the constant demonstration of knowledge and skill (you may also have to relinquish some control )
  • Reward power may guarantee simple compliance, but we want to avoid bringing Ivan to the party.
  • Legitimate power is a possibility but limited in its scope (i.e. grades).
  • Coercive power just gets ugly. You didn’t do what I want so I’m going to do this to you…
there is also the possibility of sharing power
There is also the possibility of sharing power.
  • Sharing EMPOWERS staff. Components of sharing power include:
    • Shared decision making
    • Delegation of authority
    • Promotion of teamwork/collaboration
  • Minimizes the need to yield less productive types of power and may have positive outcomes on student achievement.
mintzberg s perspective on power
Mintzberg’s Perspective on Power
  • Power is controlled by the individuals in a school that control a resource, a technical skill, or a body of knowledge. Do you have power if most people have a skill that you have?
  • Case study – me.
  • Power can also come from a legal perogative.
  • Some people can wield power because they have special access to those in the power structure.
four sets of internal power systems
Four Sets of Internal Power Systems
  • The System of Authority
    • Personal control (Administrative directives)
    • Bureaucratic control (contractual obligations, etc.)
  • The System of Ideology
  • The System of Expertise
  • The System of Politics
what to do
What to do?
  • Combining systems of authority and ideology with a pinch of expertise will allow you to maximize the effectiveness of your power on campus.
  • The overarching message…
  • SHARE POWER WHILE LIMITING POLITICAL GAMES.
rationality vs rationalization
Rationality vs. Rationalization
  • Rationality is the application of evidence and reason to make decisions
  • Rationalization is an attempt to make a decision seem rational after it has already been made.
the influence of power on reason
The influence of Power on Reason
  • Possession of power spoils the free use of reason (Kant, 1974).
  • People in Power spin the truth to suit their own purposes. (Sweetland and Hoy, 2000b).
  • Power defines reality!
  • People in power reinterpret evidence.
the influence of power on reason31
The influence of Power on Reason
  • Nietzsche 1968
    • Interpretation is itself a means of becoming master of something and subduing and becoming masters involves a fresh interpretation.
    • Self delusion may be part of the will to power.
  • Machiavlli (1984)
    • Two types of power use
      • People who can force the issue
      • People who must use persuasion.
rationalization and power
Rationalization and Power
  • Administrators often believe their own rationalizations.
  • An administrator unwilling to present a rational argument is using the power to act.
  • Administrators are more likely to listen to reason when power is Stable.
  • “Knowledge is power” Bacon (1597) but also “power is knowledge”
organizational power and politics pg 236 238
ORGANIZATIONAL POWER AND POLITICS pg. 236 – 238
  • Organizational Politics is informal and illegitimate.
  • Coalitions are groups of individuals who bargain for power.
  • Individuals have parochial needs and attempt to satisfy those needs by forming groups.
  • Groups may be professional, departmental, gender, ethnic, internal or external.
coalitions
Coalitions

External

Internal

  • Achieve goals outside of official decision making process.
  • Three types
    • Dominated
    • Divided
    • Passive
  • affected by external coalitions
  • Five types
    • Personalized
    • Bureaucratic
    • Ideological
    • Professional
    • Politicized
the power game pg 238 240 power matters
THE POWER GAME pg. 238 – 240 Power Matters!
  • Your options are…
    • Leave
    • Stay and play for power
    • Stay and contribute as expected
politics can be good
Politics can be good!
  • Politics creates conflict and can bring attention to an issue.
  • Politics ensures and promotes:
    • Strongest members become leaders
    • All sides of issue are debated
    • Change
    • Action on decisions.
  • Now let the GAMES BEGIN!!!!
slide37

Political power is

iRespond Question

Multiple Choice

F

A.) legitimate

B.) illegitimate

C.) Either depending on the situation

D.)

E.)

slide38

When a group of students begin to protest an event, then students and teachers take sides. The type of internal coalition formed is

iRespond Question

Multiple Choice

F

A.) personalized

B.) ideological

C.) bureaucratic

D.) professional

E.) politicized

political tactics
Political Tactics
  • Ingratiating: a tactic used to gain the goodwill of another group doing favors.
  • Networking: The process of forming relationships with influential people
  • Information Management: A tactic used to control others or build status
  • Impression management: Create a favorable image…tout your accomplishments.
  • Coalition building: the process of individuals banning together to achieve a to; oppose or support a proposed policy or change.
  • Scapegoating: is blaming and attacking others when things go wrong or not working
  • Increasing indispensability: individuals make themselves necessary to the organization.
political games
Political Games:
  • Rules establish opportunities or pathways by which people gain access to positions, power and materials.
  • Insurgency games: used to resist formal authority
  • Power building games: Games that are used by participants to build a power base.
  • Alliance-building game: individuals develop a concern and seek supporters or a group of individuals concerned about an issue seek out an informal leader to effectively present their position
  • Empire building game: the attempt of an individual to enhance his or her power base by collecting subordinates and groups. Individuals are typically fighting over territory. This type of game typically takes place during budgeting; Secure resources, satisfy your constituents; retain power.
  • Expertise game: Secure power through the development of specialized skills necessary to the success of the organization

Lording: Those with legitimate power “lord over” subordinates; often seen in the classroom.

slide41

Rival Games:

  • Line and staff game: Conflict between middle managers with formal authority and staff advisors with specialized expertise (District level coordinator -vs -principal)
  • Rival-camps game: Two well defined groups square off.

Change Games: Designed to alter the organization or its practices.

  • Strategic-candidates game: Use the legitimate system of authority to promote a proposal or project.
  • Whistle blowing game: The use of inside information on a particular behavior that violates an important norm or perhaps the law. The informant typically circumvents the legitimate channel of control and is subject to reprisal, the contact is typically kept secret.
  • Young Turks-game: an attempt to affect a change so fundamental that is throws the legitimate power into question.
conflict management
Your needs -vs.- needs of others Conflict Management

Uncooperative Cooperative

Assertive

Unassertive

slide43

Conflict-management styles: Two basic dimensions of behavior that can produce conflict: attempting to satisfy one’s concerns and attempting to satisfy others’ concerns.

    • Avoiding style: Unassertive and uncooperative. Ignore conflicts
    • Compromising style: Balancing the needs between the organization and individuals. Negotiate; focus on middle ground.
    • Competitive style: creates win lose situations-assertive and uncooperative style which produces rivalry and creates a situation in which the winner achieves his/ her goals at the expense of others.
    • Accommodating style: Unassertive and cooperative; submissive and compliant.
    • Collaborating style: Assertive and cooperative. Problems and conflicts are seen as challenges. Differences are confronted and ideas and information are shared. Attempting to s satisfy organizational demands can be viewed along an assertive-unassertive continuum: attempting to satisfy individual needs can be conceptualized from uncooperative to cooperative.