Research on dominance (control) versus submissiveness (agency) dimension of social relationships in organizations illustrate that most of the individuals prefer coordinating with each other when one of these individuals is dominant while the other is submissive in a task-oriented context. On that note, it is surprising that submissive individuals prefer working with dominant partners compared to submissive partners. A dominant individual in a task-oriented context directs submissive individuals hence assisting groups to achieve their goals. Power is, therefore, the core dimension of hierarchical differentiation (Anderson & Brown, 2010). Research shows that hierarchical rank in any organization predicts motivational, cognitive, and behavioral variables such as job satisfaction and goal setting. However, the way power holders including managers make decisions, approach goals, and how they process information helps them increase their domination over colleagues and control over resources. It is, therefore, important to understand how dominion by managers affects task performance (Mookherjee, 2006).
Success in influencing people is one of the most important determinants of managerial effectiveness but how they achieve this success still remains debatable. Most of the managers have successfully achieved power over colleagues while delegating their responsibility as they are able to influence their peers to provide assistance and support to subordinates, and also influence superiors to provide the necessary resources in the organizations thus influencing change in the firm (Bateman & Snell, 2004). Power is an essential ingredient on how people influence others in an organization. Power is defined as the ability or capacity to influence people and events for instance, the influence of managers on organization decisions. Managers have more influence on their subordinates but their power depends on the influence tactics they use so as to impact change in the organization. Power reinforces hierarchy because it transforms how people act and live hence an important base of hierarchy. Power in a hierarchy drives behavior and cognition as explained by the power approach theory which states that those managers who posses power focus on attractive aspects of situations for instance, increased employee rewards. The need hierarchy theory (Maslow hierarchy of needs) states that the lower level need controls behavior until it is satisfied with the higher level directing behavior. Maslow hierarchy of needs falls into five hierarchical needs which needs to be satisfied (Brown, 2008).
Power hierarchies in organizations are very important because they ensure that responsibilities are done so as to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Power hierarchies increase the functioning of teams/groups in organizations. Most of the teams function better when they have hierarchical structure compared to teams with a flat structure. It is argued that teams with hierarchical structure such as status, power, and influence show a higher level of performance than the team with no status, power, or influence. These groups also tend to have lower levels of intra-group conflict, high levels of intra-group coordination and cohesion which are important for effective performance in organizations (Anderson & Brown, 2010).
According to the functionalist theory of hierarchy, hierarchical groups with power, status, and influence have collective decision making. The managers have control over these decisions and have the responsibility to direct actions. The concentration of power and control at the top helps managers and groups make decisions easily thus avoiding conflict over control (Leavitt, 2005). The hierarchies are also important in that they help in increasing the quality of manager decisions as they are the most competent individuals with disproportionate control in the organization. The managers through the delegation process give higher rank to employees who are top performers, and this enhances the performance of the organization. However, the specific capabilities required for the higher rank depends on the tasks and how they are exhibited by various groups. It has been argued that when an organization runs on hierarchy based on expertise and leadership skills, these organizations perform better (Anderson & Brown, 2010).
Again, hierarchies provide psychological, material, and social incentives for instance, managers who are highly ranked get more power, self-esteem, and respect from subordinates. Higher rank is given to managers who drive the company to achieve its goals both in the short-run and in the long-run. The people seen as major contributors to the performance of the organization get more power than those who are less contributors (Leavitt, 2005). Hierarchies also ensure that information flows smoothly from the top management level to the groups or individuals thus encouraging intra-group coordination. For instance, in a prototypical pyramid hierarchy, information flows in a hierarchical manner from the top management to the subordinates, for example, from the managers to the groups. When managers get this information, they make the best decision which is passed to the groups or individuals which is later implemented according to the manager’s plans (Leavitt, 2005).
However, there are corrupting effects of power in a hierarchical organization. The Approach-Inhibition Theory of Power argues that power can inhibit behavior when the behavioral approach is associated with rewards and threats. Power in many organizations lead managers to treat their subordinates in a more aggressive and hostile ways and this has an impact on organizational performance (Leavitt, 2005). The highly ranked managers are described by their subordinates as having rude and uncivil behaviors. The possession of power by managers also lead to unbiased decisions because most of them are confident in their own beliefs and understanding hence unwilling to welcome more ideas from their subordinates. This shows a rigid and less flexible style which is dangerous in the modern organizational environment which requires more ideas from all levels of employees so as to achieve a competitive advantage in the market (Anderson & Brown, 2010).
- Quote paper
- Caroline Mutuku (Author), 2018, How Managers accomplish Domination over Colleagues while delegating Responsibility, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/426908