• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Theories on Power in Organisations. The primary goal of critical theory is to properly understand and assist in overcoming the social structures through which people are dominated within an organisation.

Extracts from this document...


'The pervasiveness of power is the most central aspect of organisational life....for this reason it is important to understand the limits of power and authority, resistance and obedience' (Clegg, Kornberger and Pitsis, 2008: 294). Power is indeed the most central aspect of organizational life. Without it employees would whatever they wanted with no consequences. In regards to an organisation authority stands out as the most common form of power purely due to the fact of the way an organisation is structured i.e.: Hierarchy. There are many diverse perspectives that all have similarities and differences between. The Modernist perspective states that 'you must commit to limiting what you count as knowledge to what you can know through your five senses' (Hatch, M & Cunliffe, A 2006, pg, 15). This essentially means that the only facts that you can truly believe is the ones you have witnessed yourself by repeating another's methods. Critical Theory however is a social theory oriented towards critiquing and changing society as a whole. Based on the Marx theory, 'Critical Theory maintains a primary goal of philosophy is to understand and to help overcome the social structures through which people are dominated and oppressed.' (Seiler, R 2006). To fully understand the limits of power we must first define what power is. 'A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do' (Hatch & Cunliffe 2006). ...read more.


The final face of power incorporates hegemony where for example managers will subtly influence the interests of workers so that they are thinking what managers want them to. The labour process theory is the last form of critical theory, which was devised by American sociologist Harry Braverman. He believed that managers of production can control work by deskilling the labour force by job fragmentation and simplifying each workers duties into one task. This takes on the practices that were earlier introduced by Frederick Taylor in his scientific management. (Hassard, Hogan & Rowlinson, 2001). The many facets of Critical Theory mentioned above all indicate how power is the central aspect of Organisational life. Critical Theorists refer to power as 'a defining ubiquitous feature of organisation life' (Miller, K 2006, pg 101). Power is always related to control domination and exploitation in which all these ideas are key in critical theories. Miller (2006) states that there are three approaches to the concept of power. They are the Traditional approach where power is possessed by those who are high up on the hierarchical chain, the symbolical approach where power is a product of social interactions and finally radical-critical approach whereby 'economical, social, and communicative relationships produce and maintain organisational power relationships' (Miller, 2006, pg 101). The labour process theory has been used heavily in organisations, which is creating quite an imbalance in regards to power within the workforce. ...read more.


In essence employees have no input into the decision making process. If an organisation decides to adopt a socio-technical systems approach then power is predominantly shifted from the managers to the employees. This is because the employees are more left to them to do their tasks without constant supervision and the ability to use teamwork to meet a common goal. In regards to respect and obedience employees are mindful that the managers are the boss and understand that without them the organisation would not run successfully. Being a cooperative team member is vital to an organisation to run smoothly. The ability to understand what tasks need to be completed and obeying orders from superiors is paramount. In conclusion, power is the most central aspect of organisational life. Without power in the workplace there would be no structure and employees would have no motivation to complete their tasks. Power in organisations need to be evenly distributed amongst managers in order for employees to be motivated to work. The limits of power and authority show that within an organisation there needs to be a balance of power, authority, respect and obedience. Manager's needs to demonstrate their power to the extent that their employees perform their tasks but at the same time not to hold it over its employees heads. Employees need to respect the power balance and obey what their supervisors ask of them. It is for these reasons that The pervasiveness of power is the most central aspect of organisational life. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Management Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Management Studies essays

  1. Leadership Theories - this review seeks to determine which theoretical perspectives, theories and schools ...

    that will form the resources utilized to retrieve the data that will be analyzed and synthesized in the systematic review. DATABASES Four databases were selected for this review (see Table 7). Two of the databases, Proquest and EBSCO, were explored thoroughly, while the other two were examined quickly to determine

  2. General Management - organisation, leadership and theories.

    To achieve profit goals managers got involved in an undetected check-kiting scheme and the firm pleaded guilty to 2,000 counts of mail and wire fraud. Other undetected behaviors were the $900,000 in travel and entertainment expenses for one executive in one year and the listing of party girls from escort services as temporary secretarial help.

  1. counselling theory

    situation assumingly has gone from worse to worst. Antecedents Th? newly perceived and systematically developed Situational Counseling Theory essentially takes its leads from th? different theories and techniques ?f counseling. But it does not base itself on any single theory as such. Th? complexity ?f human mind ?s even more complex than its body and at th?

  2. Management Theories

    ( Human Relations Approach Where the classical approach takes a mechanistic view to organisations, the Human Relations approach considers and gives attention to social factors at work i.e. the behaviour of employees within an organisation. Several scholars, including Elton Mayo and Douglas McGregor, advocated this approach.

  1. Organisational structures and Behaviour - theory and examples from my employment experience.

    According to Kotter and Heskett (1992), "organizations with adaptive cultures perform much better than organizations with unadaptive cultures. An adaptive culture translates into organizational success." There are four main types of organizational cultures that are mainly referred to: power, role, task and person culture.

  2. I will discuss two theoretical perspectives, modernist and postmodernist theories of power, control and ...

    Clegg & Kornberger (2003, P.2) gave idea about modern, 'It does so through adherence to the canons of positivism empiricism, and science'. Power In modern concept of power, modernists tried to find way to keep authority and power within organisations, because authority was one of resources of power.

  1. Why the Triple Bottom Line should be viewed as a new goal for businesses

    This paper will touch on the topic of CSR, briefly discussing the before and after effects of CSR, followed by the advantages of long-term sustainability and the need for sustainability. Subsequently, more emphasis will be placed on the triple bottom line sustainability as an integral measurement of economic, environment and social business aspects.

  2. This dissertation aims to understand and delve deeper into the nature of organisational commitment ...

    from his/her superiors. This type of commitment is only called calculative because it is calculated strategically by the employee as the employee works hard and in return he/she calculates that he/she will get something back from the organisation he/she works for (Randall, et.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work