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Reframing Organizations , 3 rd ed. Chapter 9. Power, Conflict, and Coalitions. Power, Conflict, and Coalitions. Assumptions of the political frame Organizations as coalitions Power and decision making Authorities and partisans Sources of power

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chapter 9

Chapter 9

Power, Conflict, and Coalitions

power conflict and coalitions
Power, Conflict, and Coalitions
  • Assumptions of the political frame
  • Organizations as coalitions
  • Power and decision making
  • Authorities and partisans
  • Sources of power
  • Distribution of power: overbounded and underbounded systems
power conflict and coalitions ii
Power, Conflict, and Coalitions (II)
  • Conflict in organizations
  • Moral mazes: the politics of getting ahead
assumptions of the political frame
Assumptions of the Political Frame
  • Organizations are coalitions.
  • Enduring differences exist among coalition members.
  • Most important decisions involve allocation of scarce resources.
  • Conflict is the central process and power the most important resource.
  • Goals and decisions arise from bargaining, negotiation, and jockeying for position.
organizations as coalitions
Organizations as Coalitions
  • Coalitions rather than pyramids
  • Organizational goals are multiple and sometimes conflicting because they reflect bargaining involving multiple players with divergent interests.
power and decision making
Power and Decision Making
  • Gamson: authorities and partisans
    • Authorities make binding decisions.
    • Partisans are subject to authorities’ decisions; they will support or question authority depending on how decisions affect their interests.
sources of power
Sources of Power
  • Position power
  • Information and expertise
  • Control and rewards
  • Coercive power
  • Alliances and networks
  • Framing: control of meaning and symbols
  • Personal power
distribution of power overbounded and underbounded systems
Distribution of Power: Overbounded and Underbounded Systems
  • Overbounded: strong, top-down control, conflict is tightly regulated (e.g., Iraq under Saddam Hussein)
  • Underbounded: weak authority, chaotic decision making, open conflict and power struggles (Iraq after collapse of old regime)
conflict in organizations
Conflict in Organizations
  • Conflict is natural and inevitable; organizations can have too much or too little.
  • The political frame focuses on strategy and tactics for dealing with conflict.
  • Forms of organizational conflict
    • Hierarchical
    • Horizontal
    • Cultural
moral mazes the politics of getting ahead
Moral Mazes: The Politics of Getting Ahead
  • Getting ahead is a political process involving conflict for scarce resources.
  • Assessment of individual performance often depends on subjective judgments.
    • Does advancement depend on doing good work or doing what is politically correct?
  • Organizations can’t eliminate politics, but they can influence the kind of politics they have.
  • The world as seen through the political frame is very different from the traditional view of organizations.
    • Traditional: organizations are hierarchies, run by legitimate authorities who set goals and manage performance.
    • Political view: organizations are coalitions whose goals are determined by bargaining among multiple contenders.
  • Politics can be nasty and brutish, but constructive politics is possible and necessary for organizations to be effective.