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Explain how organizational structure and culture relate to power and influence in the workplace.

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Module - Social, Cultural and Ethical Dimensions Student Identification Number -0363205/1 Word Count 1492 Explain how organizational structure and culture relate to power and influence in the workplace. Power is the potential or actual ability to influence others in a desired direction (Gordon, pg 286). Influence refers to authority, persuasion, manipulation and control. The ability to influence leads to more power. In the work place, influence can occur in downward, upward and lateral directions. Downward influence is directed to those lower in the chain of command, upward influence is exerted by employees to their bosses, and lateral influence is directed by workers to their peers. These relationships can be captured in the organizational structure of an organization. Organizational structure refers to the delineation of jobs and reporting relationships in an organization, as such, it coordinates the work behaviour of employees in accomplishing the organization's goals (Gordon, pg 398). An organizational chart as seen in Figure 1 shows these relationships Figure 1. A hypothetical organizational chart to show how employees of an enterprise are grouped Here, workers B and C are at the same hierarchical level in the organization, both report directly to A, while workers D, E, F and G are all at the same level. ...read more.


However, acting collectively as a group, they may be transformed to a very powerful body, with substantial influence and power. This is sometimes the case during industrial action where the combined actions of the workers could cripple an organization. In organizations, goals are accomplished by the various groups through the coordinating mechanisms of mutual adjustment, direct supervision, standardization of work processes, standardization of outputs and standardization of skills. Mutual adjustment (informal but direct communication between individuals) is an example of lateral influence by peers, while direct supervision (direct supervision by manager of one or more employees) demonstrates downward influence. Power and influence is also related to the control of and access to resources. The greater the amount of resources a group or person controls, the more power the group or person has. For example, the bursar of a college is thought to have a great deal of power as he holds the keys to the purse and in some instances is only answerably to the board. Also, in a production-oriented company, workers in this department would be able to influence decision-making and as such have more power than workers in the marketing department. ...read more.


Rational persuasion involves logical arguments and factual evidence in persuasion that a proposal or request is viable and likely to result in the attainment of task objectives. Chinese managers however, believe that rated coalition tactics, upward appeals and gifts are more effective. Coalition tactics seeks the aid of others in persuasion, while upward appeals relates to the request being approved by higher management. Other tactics include pressure tactics (demands, threats or intimidation used), ingratiating tactics (flattering of another before asking), inspirational appeals (emotional request appealing to their values and increasing their confidence) and consultation tactics (seeking another's participation in making a decision). The author suggests, that the culture of the region impacts on an organization's culture and thus plays a part on the way power and influence is manifested. Organizational structure and culture are interrelated and impact directly on power and influence in the workplace. In relation to organizational structure, people often obtain power form the position or job they hold in an organization, as such the higher the position the greater the position power. This relates to increased authority, centrality and control of rewards and punishments. Also, the amount of power and influence demonstrated by workers or groups is many times in weak culture organizations directly related to the type of relationship they hold with the boss. ...read more.

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