The Meaning of Power • Power is the capacity of a person, team, or organization to influence others. – The potential to influence others – People have power they don’t use and may not know they possess – Power requires one person’s perception of dependence on another person
• Agreement that people in certain roles can request certain behaviors of others • Based on job descriptions and mutual agreement from those expected to abide by this authority • Legitimate power range (zone of indifference) is higher in high power distance cultures
Information Power at Lowe Counsel Information about the future helps companies to cope with environmental uncertainties, so trendspotters like Zoe Lazarus and Richard Welch at Lowe Counsel (shown here) potentially wield considerable power.
Networking and Power • Cultivating social relationships with others to accomplish one’s goals • Increases power through
– social capital -- durable network that connects people to others with valuable resources – referent power -- people tend to identify more with partners within their own networks – visibility and centrality contingencies
Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, is famous for influencing people through his persuasiveness, which draws them into his “reality distortion field.”
Contingencies of Influence Tactics • “Soft” tactics generally more acceptable • Appropriate influence tactic depends on: – Organizational position – Influencer’s power base – Cultural values and expectations – Age cohort
WorldCom Politics Former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers (left), CFO Scott Sullivan (right), and other executives perpetrated one of the largest cases of accounting fraud in history by using assertiveness, information control, and other influence practices as political tactics to protect their financial interests.