‘Management is ultimately about acquiring, keeping

“Management is finally about geting, maintaining and utilizing power successfully? ” Discuss this statement in the visible radiation of your readings.

Power has traditionally been a complex issue. History has been marked by leaders who have misused their places of power to the disadvantage and subjugation of others. As a consequence, power has frequently been synonymous with manipulative and evil leading qualities. Furthermore, power is seldom referred to in direction preparation, yet it is a accomplishment that has been shown to be a impulsive force behind many great administrations and directors today. This paper will critically analyze the assorted literature environing the acquisition and usage of power in direction to accomplish success. While there is a diverse scope of definitions of power, this paper will utilize the definition suggested by the great philosopher Bertrand Russell that:“Power is the capacity of some individuals to bring forth intended and foreseen effects on others.”( ( 1938 ) as cited in Wrong, 1995, pg. 2 )

Negatively depicted traits of power have created a great trade of confusion and misinterpretation of the relationship between direction and power. Throughout history, power has been identified with subjugation, doing it hard for it to be referred to as anything other than an infliction on the powerless. As a consequence, persons who are known to be seeking power are frequently distrusted and their motivations are questioned. The deficiency of attending to the topic of power in modern literature, peculiarly in the field of direction, is merely adding to the onerous misinterpretation of power. Even leaders, such as directors, who use power as an inevitable portion of their place, oftentimes feel guilty when they use power. Kotter raises concerns of the reverberations of such a misinterpretation of power in forestalling the new coevals of directors from developing their abilities to efficaciously get and utilize power. ( 2003 pg. 127 ) Foucault supports the position that power is non wholly negative:

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We must discontinue one time and for all to depict the effects of power in negative terms…In fact, power green goodss ; it produces world ; it produces spheres of objects and rites of truth. The person and the cognition that may be gained of him belong to this production.( 1977 pg. 194 cited in Townley pg. 61 )

Foucault believed that power is originative, productive and encourages knowledge which allows directors to accomplish their aims. This creativeness and cognition can besides be seen in the manner in which power is sometimes acquired and maintained by directors to act upon others. One such method referred to by Kotter ( 2003 pg. 135 ) is placing and procuring resources such as capital, equipment, entree to of import people, information and subsidiaries, that another individual requires to execute their occupation. The director so makes the other single aware of his recent acquisition of resources every bit good as his willingness to utilize them to either support or hinder the other individual. Alternatively, where the director does non hold entree to such resources, he or she may look to give the feeling that he does possess them, in order to back up or hinder the person concerned. The most widely accepted and used method used by directors to enforce their powers on others is through the usage of elements such as their rubric, authorization, office, budget, subordinates or relationships. While this resource of power may be limited, it is an effectual one from which a director can develop farther beginnings. ( Kotter ( Ibid ) pg. 135 )

Directors besides get and keep their power by impacting the opinions of others by utilizing images and reputes to develop and back up their ain and others go so far as to make rumors. Such persons are frequently rather sensitive with respect to the feeling that their actions have on others. There are assorted other methods which directors frequently draw on, but due to the restrictions of this paper, it will non be possible to give a complete reappraisal of them. However, it can be said that directors use more than one signifier and beginning of power to influence others. ( Kotter ( Ibid ) pg. 135 )

Directors are vulnerable in their dependence on the activities of other persons, due to the nature of administrations which are divided into assorted specialized sections. Consequently, directors are made responsible for these sections and are dependent on information and cooperation of changing grades from employees, providers, brotherhoods, regulative bureaus and clients to accomplish their aims. Kotter highlights the challenges that many directors of assorted degrees face in happening themselves dependent on persons whom“they do non command and who are non ‘cooperating’ , ”( Kotter ( Ibid ) pg. 128 ) and hence advocates the usage of power to act upon them in order to run into their aims. In fact, he finds that one of the cardinal benefits to utilizing power to influence others is the velocity with which directors are able to accomplish their aims.

Foucault proposes that power exists in all relationships and he maintains that these relationships are non needfully strictly power based. ( ( 1984 pg. 96 ) cited in Knights and Vurdubakis ( 1994 ) pg. 187 ) McClelland and Burnham ( 2003, pg. 120 ) travel further in their support of the usage of power in direction, by suggesting that top directors are driven by power. They find that such directors are relatively more effectual ; exhibit greater squad spirit ; study greater answerability ; and a greater lucidity in end scene. Furthermore, their subsidiaries are thought to experience stronger instead than weak. In fact, they propose that top directors possess a high demand for power, but that it must besides be disciplined and controlled so that they serve the involvements of the administration instead than their ain. This is in crisp contrast to directors who lack self-denial and hence use power impetuously, disempowering others and environing themselves with symbols of prestigiousness.

Kotter argues that the turning tendency in modern administrations towards greater technological dependence and complexness besides makes the usage of power by directors more of import. This is expected to be even more so as both administrations and industries grow and become more regulated and competitory. ( Kotter ( Ibid ) pg. 131 ) This is supported by Knights and Sturdy ( ( 1989 pg. 128 ) cited in Austrin ( 1994 ) pg. 202 ) who maintain that there is a new signifier of power in the ‘computerised’ workplace which has formed greater individuality among the work force. Consequently, they and their work are more accountable, doing it their duty and duty to exert the power entrusted on them.

While there are advocates of the usage of power in direction, there are besides those who believe that it can besides be a confining factor in relationships and public presentation. Foucault ( 2000 pg. 25 ) proposes that in every power relationship, there is an implied grade of battle and confrontation which are either reacted to or escaped from, instead than animating action. As a consequence, he maintains the position that power, whilst originative can besides make restrictions and frequently reversals. Harmonizing to Foucault“power is neither good nor bad in itself. Its something perilous”. ( Gandal ( 1986 ) pg. 129 cited in Knights and Vurdubakis ( 1994 ) pg. 187 )

Knights and Roberts maintain that power is an component that exists in relationships with persons, instead than being an single ownership. Therefore, they raise the point that directors who ignore or deny the fact that they are dependent on their staff and finally use their powers coercively find themselves with“counter coercive strategies”. ( 1982 pg.1 ) These finally undermine the possible productive relationship of the director and his or her staff. This position is besides supported by Kotter, who believes it is necessary to unite more than one method of exerting power to understate the hazard of revenge ( Kotter ( Ibid ) pg. 137 )

There are many who believe that any signifier of power is destructive and harmonizing to Charles Reicht: “it is non the abuse of power that is evil ; the really being of power is evil”. ( ( 1970 ) , cited in Kotter ( 2003 ) pg. 127 ) Domhoff ( 2005 ) supports the position that regardless of the leader, powerful persons over clip become destructive, deceivers, mistreat others, go irresponsible, chesty, flash their position symbols and frequently provoke competitions. While he admits that there is no clear account for the development of such behavior, he does propose that as directors begin to interact with other leaders and go cognizant of their powers and the increasing obeisance of their staff, they begin to believe that they are indestructible. ( Lalich, 2004 cited in Domhoff ( 2005 ) ) Domhoff besides reminds us that the powerful believe that“enemy of their enemy is their friend”, which depicts the invariably altering confederations that occur through power battles. ( 2003 )

Kotter adds that seeking to command and direct them utilizing power entirely does non work for several grounds. First, he highlights the trouble that directors face in covering with persons who have no formal authorization. Second he argues that regardless of the authorization held by a director, today employees will non accept a uninterrupted watercourse of orders. Furthermore, the usage of power combined with persuasion, whilst of import, is deficient in the long-run. Kotter maintains that successful directors are sensitive to those on whom they depend and limit unneeded dependence elsewhere where possible. ( Angle ( Ibid ) pg. 130 )

There are different signifiers of power and therefore it is more about choosing the appropriate signifier that leads to its being used efficaciously to accomplish aims. Directors who use their powers in a democratic manner are much more likely to be effectual in accomplishing their aims, compared to one who uses autocratic methods of act uponing others. One survey carried out by McClelland and Burnham ( 2003, pg. 120 ) finds that the autocratic managerial manner leaves subsidiaries with a low morale which oftentimes consequences in hapless public presentation degrees. They besides propose that directors who possess emotional adulthood and a democratic, training managerial manner can command their self-importances and aggression every bit good as command their subsidiaries and utilize their powers to act upon others without fall backing to coercion or an autocratic managerial manner.

This paper has sought to give a review of the assorted literature environing the acquisition and usage of power in direction to accomplish success. The findings from the research have highlighted the great figure of published plants which depict power as a negative trait in leading and direction which has lead to a misinterpretation of the relationship between direction and power. Directors are basically dependent on others, which may or may non be in their direct control and hence utilizing power is frequently necessary to transporting out their aims. Additionally, power can be a originative and productive quality which when used right has been known to make great directors and administrations.

There is a broad consensus on the theory of power that supports the position that power when used to hale others finally creates revenge and has a negative impact on public presentation and the manager’s relationship with staff. In contrast, directors who use a democratic, training managerial manner to influence others will be able to command their staff without utilizing coercion or aggression. The usage of power in this manner is successful because it besides encourages high public presentation in staff and motive, thereby back uping the director in his way to success. The lone caution is that the director must keep control over his or her self-importance and develop an emotional adulthood. This determination has of import deductions in the preparation of directors in that the usage of power should be embraced instead than avoided and treated as a potentially positive managerial trait which if harnessed decently could be the key to organizational success.


Austrin, Terry ( 1994 ) ,Positioning Resistance and Resisting Position,printedin Jermier, J. M. et Al.Resistance & A ; Power in organisations:Subjectivity, and the Labour Procedure, London: Routledge

Dormhoff, William ( April 2003 ) Analyzing Power, Sociology Dept. , University of California hypertext transfer protocol: //sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/theory/studying_power.html

Foucault, Michel ( 2000 )The Subject and Power, published in Kate NashReadings in Contemporary Political Sociology,Blackwell

Knights, D and Roberts, J ( 1982 )The Power of Organization or the Organization of Power?, Organization Studies, vol.3, No.1, 47-63

Knights, D and Vurdubakis, Theo ( 1994 )Foucault, Power, Resistance and All That printedin Jermier, J. M. et Al.Resistance & A ; Power in organisations:Subjectivity, and the Labour Procedure, London: Routledge

Kotter, John P. ( 2003 )Power, Dependence, and Effective Management, published in Angle, H. L. et Al.Organizational Influence Procedures, Second Edition, M.E. Sharpe

McClelland, D. and Burnham, D. ( January 2003 )Power is the Great Motivator, Motivating Peoples, Harvard Business Review

Townley, Barbara Foucault, ( 2005 )Power/Knowledge, and its Relevance for Human Resource Managementpublished in Salaman, Graeme et Al.Strategic Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice,Second Edition, SAGE

Incorrect, D. H. ( 1995 )Power: Its Forms, Bases and Uses, USA, Transaction Publishers


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