An effective manager accepts the political nature of organizations. Power tactics are used to translate power bases into specific action, and there are a number of tactics that could be used in various situations. As a manager trying to influence your employees, what tactics would you personally be most likely to use? Why? It is often necessary to have political influence to enable organizational members to achieve their goals, especially if these goals involve some degree of change or innovation.
Network is defined by Richard L. Daft as, “a system that links together people and departments within or among an organizations for the purpose of sharing information resources. ” But, a more common and more subtle form of political behavior involves networking. Networking is when an individual establishes good relations with key organization members and/or key people outside the organization in order to accomplish one’s goals. Something as seemingly trivial as the arrangement of furniture in an office can affect perceptions of another person’s power.
One vivid example comes from John Ehrlichman’s book Witness to Power. Ehrlichman described his first visit to J. Edgar Hoover’s office at the Department of Justice. The legendary director of the FBI had long been one of the most powerful men in Washington, DC, and as Ehrlichman’s impressions reveal, Hoover used every opportunity to reinforce that image. Ehrlichman was first led through double doors into a room replete with plaques, citations, trophies, medals, and certificates jamming every wall.
He was then led through a second similarly decorated room into a third trophy room, and finally to a large but bare desk backed by several flags and still no J. Edgar Hoover. The guide opened a door behind the desk, and Ehrlichman went into a smaller office, which Hoover dominated from an impressive chair and desk that stood on a dais about six inches high. Erhlichman was instructed to take a seat on a lower couch, and Hoover peered down on Ehrlichman from his own loftier and intimidating place.