Corporate Pursuit of Power- A Gender Typed View

Power & Organisation


Term Paper, 2004
13 Pages, Grade: 1.2

Excerpt

Contents

1 Abstract

2 Introduction

3 Literature Review - Theoretical background
3.1 What is Power?
3.1.1 Interpersonal Sources of Power
3.1.2 Effect on Managerial Power

4 Power by Gender
4.1 Masculinity vs. Femininity at Work
4.1.1 Encoding Of Messages
4.1.2 Gender Authority & Power
4.1.3 Gender-typed Behaviours
4.2 Nonverbal Power - Body Language at Work
4.2.1 Facial Play
4.2.2 Gestures
4.2.3 Paralinguistics

5 Discussion
5.1 Personal Learning

6 Conclusion

7 References

List of Figures:

Figure 1: Sources of Interpersonal Power

Figure 2: Sources of Power in Organisations

Figure 3; Effect on Managerial Power - Male Samples in UAE

1 Abstract

This paper will discuss & assess power control within a corporate setting, focusing particularly on the pursuit of power by gender. It will include an analytical approach and a personal reflective view and bring to light the key determinates for the pursuit of power and authority within a corporate context.

2 Introduction

Power can be found throughout history in all kinds of organisation. Initially in the ancient world, power within groups, i.e. in clans, was determined by factors closely related to physical strength. Obviously, in today’s societies, corporate structures are derived from other factors. Corporate hierarchies within organisations are establish based on various “unambiguous or explicit” and “unspoken or implicit” criteria such as past success, professional experience and education (unambiguous), or age and political behaviour (unspoken). A study done by McClelland et al. (in Weiss,p.102i) refers to

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Without power, people cannot plan or achieve goals, and without varying degrees of power among individuals, it would be impossible to motivate or manage others, mobilise resources or protect individual rights (Weiss,2001,p.234). Empirical research on power also makes a gender distinction, pointing to the different career paths of men and women. Power is, by nature, a rare commodity and beyond the grasp of most women and men, but still it is almost exclusively in the hands of men (Morris, 1994ii).

3 Literature Review - Theoretical background

3.1 What is Power?

The concept of power is multifaceted; it contains a range of dimensions and aspects. In this sense, the meaning of power shifts depending on the stance taken to view it. Some decades ago, Dahl (1957iii) and Weber (1947iv) coined the term “organisational power” as the ability to get another individual to do what you want them to do. In a recent work, Weiss (2001,p.234v) restated this notion rather more precisely, defining power at an individual level in an organisation as the ability of A to influence the behaviour of B according to A’s desire. The definition implies both a potential relationship (need not be actualised to be effective) and a dependency relationship (which, similarly, need not be actualised to be effective).

The concept of potential power allows for power to exist without it actually being used, i.e., one can have power, but need not ostensibly employ it, although it may be present as non-verbal communication, such as body language, or as passive power (as opposed to overt power). Dependency also points to another significant aspect of power, where, by definition, “The greater B’s dependence on A, the greater A’s power in the relationship”.

3.1.1 Interpersonal Sources of Power

French and Raven, as cited by Weiss (2001,pp.235-236) and Pheby (2003,pp.27-29vi), define the five interpersonal sources of power: reward, expert, referent, legitimate, and coercive. These are summarised below in Figure 1.

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Figure 1: Sources of Interpersonal Power

Building on French and Raven’s sources of power,(Pheby, 2003,p.27) two main categories (Figure 2) are suggested:

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Figure 2: Sources of Power in Organisations

3.1.2 Effect on Managerial Power

Politis (2003, pp.147-158vii) sampled 119 Inline, only male Managers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from the service and manufacturing sectors, concentrating on their managerial power perception. Discussions were held with both management and employees to investigate the joint effect on interpersonal trust and managerial power. Politis’ research on managerial power was based on French and Raven’s (1959) work on power-based taxonomy, and he adopted a 9-point response scale (9 = agree, 1 = disagree) with the 5 subscales mentioned above: coercive power, expert power, legitimate power, referent power, and reward power.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3; Effect on Managerial Power - Male Samples in UAE1

The study evidences that coercive, referent, and expert power are important determinants of communication, problem understanding, personal traits/control, and organisation. The findings further lead to the assumption that referent (personality) power facilitates negotiation between knowledge employees - and this will then enable a manager to develop his subordinates, getting the best out of the personalities they have.

4 Power by Gender

4.1 Masculinity vs. Femininity at Work

An empirical study by Gudykunst/Kim (1992,p.47viii) suggests differences in power also depend on gender and different cultural surrounds. Countries where masculinity is rated highly, i.e., Italy, correlate strongly with emphasising and valuing materialistic issues, power, recognition, advancement, and challenges at work. In contrast, countries where women are highly regarded, e.g. Scandinavian countries, the focus is more on life style and quality of life, old age security, and environmental issues. These latter countries also place more emphasis on cooperation in organisational behaviour, a point dealt with in more depth in the article.

4.1.1 Encoding Of Messages

In order to be able to communicate, messages have to be put into codes to be transmittable. For the purposes of this paper, we distinguish between verbal codes (speech) and nonverbal codes (body- language, gestures). Normally, we encode by means of language, which may differ from culture to culture and is, hence, closely related to it. “Our language is a product of our culture, and our culture is a product of our language. The language we speak influences what we see and think, and what we see and think, in part, influences our culture” (Gudykunst/Kim,1992,p.34).

4.1.2 Gender Authority & Power

Both women and men at work know they have to respond or negotiate around the rules set by the senior members of the company. Yet within this general structure, some individuals are more personally powerful than others - a fact noted many years ago by social psychologists (French/Raven,1959ix). They identified between power from the job (i.e. being the senior manager), individual charisma, specific forms of knowledge, or power associated with experience of particular situations.

If women are to obtain the power rightfully theirs, it will require a considerable change in organisational activity. The derisive cry from the opposition has always been that women cannot work together. Yet even while denying this is the case, we recognise it does contain a grain of truth, since why else would women women-to-women organisations fail so often (Wolf, 1994,p.307x)? It should be borne in mind, though, that men are usually the ones propounding the idea that women cannot work together. As Wolf (1994) points out, since it is the predominant myth from the previous century, there are also some women who subscribe to it. Reality, however, teaches us that many men cannot work together either. There are senior and influential men who refuse to have any contact with an enemy or rival; others engage in dangerous game-playing solely with the intention of damaging anyone perceived as a threat or adversary, with no concern for corporate welfare whatsoever.

[...]


1 Source: http://www.ejkm.com/volume-1/volume1-issue-2/issue2-art14.htm

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Details

Title
Corporate Pursuit of Power- A Gender Typed View
Subtitle
Power & Organisation
College
University of Strathclyde
Grade
1.2
Author
Year
2004
Pages
13
Catalog Number
V178453
ISBN (eBook)
9783656004547
ISBN (Book)
9783656005094
File size
439 KB
Language
English
Notes
This paper will discuss &amp, assess power control within a corporate setting, focusing particularly on the pursuit of power by gender. It will include an analytical approach and a personal reflective view and bring to light the key determinates for the pursuit of power and authority within a corporate context.
Tags
corporate, pursuit, power-, gender, typed, view, power, organisation
Quote paper
MBA Andreas Keller (Author), 2004, Corporate Pursuit of Power- A Gender Typed View, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/178453

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