Powerand politicsPower is the potential orcapacity of a person or group of persons to influence the actions of the otherpeople or groups. The essence of power lies in the fact that one can regulatethe behaviour of other person according to his/her wish.
Power is needed to getthe work done in the organizations. Power exists naturally in any group ororganization and is an indispensable base for management and leadership. Itmakes others dependent for execution of work.
The concepts ofleadership and power are closely related to each other. Leaders use power as ameans to attain the goals of the group. In the process of achieving the goalsof the groups, power serves as a means of facilitating their achievement. Thedifference between the two terms lies in their implications. Power can beobtained without having leadership, but on the other side, one cannot lead thegroup of people without having power.There are two major baseson which we can differentiate these two broad terms:Goal congruency: Powerdoes not require goal congruency, it basically requires dependence. On theother hand, leadership requires some sort of similarity between the goals of aleader and group that is being led.Direction of influence:Leadership focuses on the downward influence on one’s followers.
It diminishesthe pattern of sidewise as well as upward influence. But power does not.Following factors createdependency of people on someone:1. Importance2.
Scarcity3. Non substitutability/Non replaceablePower can be categorizedinto two types: Formal & InformalFormal Power: Formalpower depends on the position one individual holds in that organizationalchart. Formal power is derived from either one’s ability to coerce or rewardothers. Formal power may be categorized into three types, which are as follows:Coercive Power, Reward Power and Legitimate Power.Personal Power: This typeof power resides in the individual and it is completely unassociated with theindividual’s position. In this perspective, power comes from the individual’sunique characteristics and charisma. Personal power can be further divided intotwo subparts: Expert Power and Referent Power. Politics refers to the structure and processof the use of authority and power, to affect definition of goals, direction andother major parameters of the organization.
Decisions are not made in arational way, but rather through compromise, accommodation and bargaining.There are primarily twodistinct dimensions of politics. These are: Legitimate PoliticalBehaviour: It refers to the normal everyday politics, for example, complainingto your supervisor, bypassing the chain of command, forming coalition,obstructing organizational policies or decision through inaction or excessiveadherence to rules and developing contacts outside the organization throughone’s professional activities.Illegitimate PoliticalBehaviour: It can be defined as the behaviour that violates the stated rules ofgame.
This kind of behaviour shows the extreme political behaviour thatviolates the stated rules and regulations of the organization that arepre-decided by the people at the strategic positions. Activities like sabotage,whistle blowing, symbolic protests, etc. are the examples of illegitimatepolitical behaviour.The majority of all organizationalpolitical behaviours are legitimate in nature.Applicationsof Power & Politics in HRM:Organizational politicsportrays itself in diverse forms; however in two functional human resourcemanagement activities i.
e. recruitment and selection and training and development,nepotism and paternalism are the obvious forms of organizational politics in boththe public and private sector.The move towards humanresource strategies as a competitive advantage tool saw many organizationsranking recruitment and selection as major levers in strategic change.LearningLearning is a sequentialprocess that happens all through life. Learning involves change, the changethat enhances the level of knowledge or wisdom. Such change causes a change inattitudes and values. As a result of new wisdom and values, there is a changein behaviour.
Unless a change in behaviour is reflected, learning is not saidto have taken place. Learning is thus arelatively permanent change in knowledge or observable behaviour that comesfrom practice or experience.Changes keep taking placeboth within and outside the environment. These changes bring forth newopportunities and threats.
Human resources have to be constantly enabled tomake the best use of opportunities and secure themselves from the potentialthreats. The concept of learning gains significant importance in the turbulentbusiness environment.Learning has broadly beenclassified into three types, which are also referred to as theories of Learning.1. Classical Conditioning- This type of learning involves learning of involuntary responses such asemotional reactions.
2. Operant Conditioning -This type of learning involves learning of voluntary responses. The learning ofgoal-directed behaviour takes place through the direct experience ofconsequences of that behaviour.3. Social Learning – Thistype of learning involves learning by observation. The learning ofgoal-directed behaviour takes place through observation and imitation ofothers.
Applicationsof Learning Theories in field of HRMThe study of Pavlov’stheory of conditioned response and Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning isvery useful to Human Resource managers in seeking desirable response from theiremployees in the organization. As an application of theory of conditionedresponse, let us say the HR manager notices that giving higher incentives(unconditioned stimulus) leads to enhanced productivity (response) ofemployees. He may pair additional responsibility (conditioned stimulus) withunconditioned stimulus for some time to make the employees learn thatadditional responsibility will bring forth higher incentives. Thereafter, hemay use only conditioned response, i.e. additional responsibility or jobenrichment to elicit enhanced productivity.
Similarly, as an example foroperant conditioning, let us say that when the HR manager observes employees’dedication towards his work or loyalty towards organization (voluntaryresponse), he may promote them to higher positions (stimulus). Such a practiceover a period of time will cause the learning in the organization thatdedicated and loyal contributions will bring forth promotions. By establishingsuch a practice in the organization, he would be successful in elicitingcommitted work behaviour and loyalty of employees.Managers can applythe social learning theory by identifying behaviours in models or employeesthat lead to improved performance. They can select an appropriate model forothers to emulate.
They need to ensure that the behaviours are repeated byemployees having requisite skills. They also need to positively reinforce anylearning that takes place as a result of emulating such behaviour by givingpositive consequences for successful performance and developing organizationalsupport for the projected behaviours