Relationship between power and resistance in organizations

Power (social and political) - Wikipedia

relationship between power and resistance in organizations

We examine the literature on resistance to organizational change and identify two dominant yet power relations between change agents and change recipi-. In the last 30 years or so, the relationship between power and resistance has been theorized as a defining feature of organizations and organizing. While there . Resistance and Power in Organizations (Critical Perspectives on Work and Organization) [John M. Jermier, David Knights, Walter R. Nord] on

People who use power cues and act powerfully and proactively tend to be perceived as powerful by others. Some people become influential even though they don't overtly use powerful behavior. Power as a Relational Concept: Power exists in relationships. The issue here is often how much relative power a person has in comparison to one's partner. Partners in close and satisfying relationships often influence each other at different times in various arenas. Power as Resource Based: Power usually represents a struggle over resources.

The more scarce and valued resources are, the more intense and protracted are power struggles. The scarcity hypothesis indicates that people have the most power when the resources they possess are hard to come by or are in high demand. However, scarce resource leads to power only if it's valued within a relationship.

The person with less to lose has greater power in the relationship. Dependence power indicates that those who are dependent on their relationship or partner are less powerful, especially if they know their partner is uncommitted and might leave them. According to interdependence theory, quality of alternatives refers to the types of relationships and opportunities people could have if they were not in their current relationship.

The principle of least interest suggests that if a difference exists in the intensity of positive feelings between partners, the partner who feels the most positive is at a power disadvantage.

There's an inverse relationship between interest in relationship and the degree of relational power. Power as Enabling or Disabling: Power can be enabling or disabling. Research[ citation needed ] has been shown that people are more likely to have an enduring influence on others when they engage in dominant behavior that reflects social skill rather than intimidation.

People who communicate through self-confidence and expressive, composed behavior tend to be successful in achieving their goals and maintaining good relationships. Power can be disabling when it leads to destructive patterns of communication. This can lead to the chilling effect where the less powerful person often hesitates to communicate dissatisfaction, and the demand withdrawal pattern which is when one person makes demands and the other becomes defensive and withdraws mawasha, Both effects have negative consequences for relational satisfaction.

Power as a Prerogative: The prerogative principle states that the partner with more power can make and break the rules.

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Powerful people can violate norms, break relational rules, and manage interactions without as much penalty as powerless people. These actions may reinforce the powerful person's dependence power. In addition, the more powerful person has the prerogative to manage both verbal and nonverbal interactions.

They can initiate conversations, change topics, interrupt others, initiate touch, and end discussions more easily than less powerful people. See expressions of dominance. Rational choice framework[ edit ] Game theorywith its foundations in the Walrasian theory of rational choiceis increasingly used in various disciplines to help analyze power relationships. One rational choice definition of power is given by Keith Dowding in his book Power.

In rational choice theory, human individuals or groups can be modelled as 'actors' who choose from a 'choice set' of possible actions in order to try to achieve desired outcomes. An actor's 'incentive structure' comprises its beliefs about the costs associated with different actions in the choice set, and the likelihoods that different actions will lead to desired outcomes.

Understand power and identify resistance to change

In this setting we can differentiate between: This framework can be used to model a wide range of social interactions where actors have the ability to exert power over others.

For example, a 'powerful' actor can take options away from another's choice set; can change the relative costs of actions; can change the likelihood that a given action will lead to a given outcome; or might simply change the other's beliefs about its incentive structure. As with other models of power, this framework is neutral as to the use of 'coercion'.

Cultural hegemony[ edit ] In the Marxist tradition, the Italian writer Antonio Gramsci elaborated the role of ideology in creating a cultural hegemonywhich becomes a means of bolstering the power of capitalism and of the nation-state. The back end, the beast, represented the more classic, material image of power, power through coercion, through brute force, be it physical or economic. But the capitalist hegemony, he argued, depended even more strongly on the front end, the human face, which projected power through 'consent'.

In Russia, this power was lacking, allowing for a revolution. However, in Western Europe, specifically in Italycapitalism had succeeded in exercising consensual power, convincing the working classes that their interests were the same as those of capitalists.

In this way revolution had been avoided. While Gramsci stresses the significance of ideology in power structures, Marxist-feminist writers such as Michele Barrett stress the role of ideologies in extolling the virtues of family life. The classic argument to illustrate this point of view is the use of women as a ' reserve army of labour '.

In wartime it is accepted that women perform masculine tasks, while after the war the roles are easily reversed. Therefore, according to Barrett, the destruction of capitalist economic relations is necessary but not sufficient for the liberation of women. He shows that power over an individual can be amplified by the presence of a group.

If the group conforms to the leader's commands, the leader's power over an individual is greatly enhanced while if the group does not conform the leader's power over an individual is nil.

Foucault[ edit ] For Michel Foucaultthe real power will always rely on the ignorance of its agents. No single human, group nor single actor runs the dispositif machine or apparatus but power is dispersed through the apparatus as efficiently and silently as possible, ensuring its agents to do whatever is necessary. It is because of this action that power is unlikely to be detected that it remains elusive to 'rational' investigation.

relationship between power and resistance in organizations

This milieu both artificial and natural appears as a target of intervention for power according to Foucault which is radically different from the previous notions on sovereignty, territory and disciplinary space inter woven into from a social and political relations which function as a species biological species. He writes, "A body is docile that may be subjected, used, transformed and improved. Instead of using corporeal punishment in order to convince people to adhere to the laws of the day, Foucault says power becomes internalized during this period.

Instead of watching someone be drawn and quartered in a public space, political power is exerted on individuals in a way that compels them to obey laws and rules on their own - without this show of force. He builds on the ideas of Jeremy Bentham regarding the Panopticon in which prison inmates are compelled to behave and control themselves because they might be in the view of the prison guard. The physical shape of the Panopticon creates a situation in which the prison guard need not be present for this to happen, because the mere possibility of the presence of the guard compels the prisoners to behave.

Foucault takes this theory and makes it generalize to everyday life. He claims that this kind of surveillance is constant in modern society, and the populous at large enacts it. Therefore, everyone begins to control themselves and behave according to society's rules and norms. Organizational change initiatives often arise out of problems faced by a company.

In some cases, however, companies change under the impetus of enlightened leaders who first recognize and then exploit new potentials dormant in the organization or its circumstances.

Some observers, more soberly, label this a "performance gap" which able management is inspired to close. But organizational change is also resisted and—in the opinion of its promoters—fails.

Power (social and political)

The failure may be due to the manner in which change has been visualized, announced, and implemented or because internal resistance to it builds.

Employees, in other words, sabotage those changes they view as antithetical to their own interests. Daniel Wischnevsky and Fariborz Daman, for example, writing in Journal of Managerial Issues, single out strategy, structure, and organizational power.

Others add technology or the corporate population "people". All of these areas, of course, are related; companies often must institute changes in all areas when they attempt to make changes in one. The first area, strategic change, can take place on a large scale—for example, when a company shifts its resources to enter a new line of business—or on a small scale—for example, when a company makes productivity improvements in order to reduce costs. There are three basic stages for a company making a strategic change: Technological changes are often introduced as components of larger strategic changes, although they sometimes take place on their own.

An important aspect of changing technology is determining who in the organization will be threatened by the change.

relationship between power and resistance in organizations

To be successful, a technology change must be incorporated into the company's overall systems, and a management structure must be created to support it. Structural changes can also occur due to strategic changes—as in the case where a company decides to acquire another business and must integrate it—as well as due to operational changes or changes in managerial style.

For example, a company that wished to implement more participative decision making might need to change its hierarchical structure. People changes can become necessary due to other changes, or sometimes companies simply seek to change workers' attitudes and behaviors in order to increase their effectiveness or to stimulate individual or team creative-ness. Almost always people changes are the most difficult and important part of the overall change process.

The science of organization development was created to deal with changing people on the job through techniques such as education and training, team building, and career planning.

How to Deal with Resistance to Change - Heather Stagl - TEDxGeorgiaStateU

Resistance to change is normal; people cling to habits and to the status quo. To be sure, managerial actions can minimize or arouse resistance.

People must be motivated to shake off old habits. This must take place in stages rather than abruptly so that "managed change" takes on the character of "natural change. If the future after the change comes to be perceived positively, resistance will be less. Education and communication are therefore key ingredients in minimizing negative reactions.

Employees can be informed about both the nature of the change and the logic behind it before it takes place through reports, memos, group presentations, or individual discussions. Another important component of overcoming resistance is inviting employee participation and involvement in both the design and implementation phases of the change effort.

Organized forms of facilitation and support can be deployed. Managers can ensure that employees will have the resources to bring the change about; managers can make themselves available to provide explanations and to minimize stress arising in many scores of situations.

Some companies manage to overcome resistance to change through negotiation and rewards.