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Power has been one of the forces that drive any organization. Understand this concept will clarify certain things and how it is done in any enterprise. It may impact the organization in different ways depend on the industry. Certain techniques used to make or to motivate people may be a little complex or even obvious on how they are applied. Closer consideration to the outcome may highlight the importance of employee behavior as influencing factor that could lead to unethical issue. Most of time, the way management direct staff to do things that may not be in relation to their visible diversity, this could be very challenging to the company’s culture.
McGregor has developed two theories: theory X which stated that people are generally lazy, they need strong command from managers to achieve any goals; and theory Y on the other hand stated that employees are self-motivated, proactive, without supervision they can achieve great results (Hommelhoff, 2017). Although power is important for managers to achieve goals, at the same time ones can perceive it as privilege to force other employees to make things happen. A deep analysis of the use of power in different industry such as: retail, hospitality, will help us to have a better understanding of the application of this concept.
Every time managers try to affect how others think, behave, or decide; they are trying to influence them. This is related to power. It is a technique use to manipulate others to get to a desire outcome. Most of the time, the leadership of a corporation could be in jeopardy when they don’t pay attention to how power is deployed. Too often in retail industry, we notice that many managers are using their power and authority to get things done. But at the same time forget about the corporate culture and values. According to John Kotter, “power is the ability to get things done, while the authority is a formal right that come with to a person who occupies a particular position, since power does not necessarily accompany a position (Marcus, 135)”. If not careful the used of power can be deemed unethical. We all know that leadership style plays a big role on decision making. In the preponderance of organizations today, managers continue to instill fear in their subordinates by threatening them with various statements and consequences that could happen if they don’t comply with directive given. These statements may include being fired, demoted, having bad reviews and so on. Many employees or workers would agree with us that managers hold a great deal of power over them. They have the power to withhold benefits, given raises, assignment choices or rewards. In any ideal corporation, effective leaders should be idolized by the people they lead as Goncalvez mentions in his book. In the same objective, leadership style is very important to the accomplishment of these goals. Any businesses to prosper in this 21st century, need to be able to adapt to changes. They should able to transform themselves to meet the new requirements of organization.
To make a better sense of power, French and Raven have given the five sources of power such as: Legitimate, Coercive, Expert, Referent, Reward. Each of them can be used independently or can be a combination of many (Nahavandi, 2012). Reward power is mostly used in retail because it seems more appropriate to reach desire outcome. It results in workers complying with what they ask because they need to get rewarded at the end. A reward could be anything worker values, including pecuniary compensation and promotion, praise, special treatment (special parking spot) and so on. For instance, a salesperson works to reach his goal because he knows at the end of payroll cycle, he will get a big check, and he can make plan on that.
Many other retails such as warehouses, grocery stores and more, people are thriving to meet goals because they expect to have success sharing at the end of the quarter. Customers benefit from that because everyone is thriving to make a “wow” moment in customer’s experience.
Very often, a goal leader will emphasize more on the positive side to make things happen. People may have good intention to do the right thing but not considering the company’s culture and values may have a side effect on the organization. That is one reason why the use of power in the organization can be seen unethical. And therefore, needs appropriate action to correct certain behaviors. An effective leader is the one that has a good story to tell and has people come onboard to follow his directive (Goncalves, 137). Other thing to consider different industry requires different approach to motivate their staff. In some organization, tension may be always a bad thing. In fact, it could be important to productivity. This concept applies to any organization where there is distributed work. In effort to manage and develop healthy tension, avoid saying one point is more important than another, as a leader in the middle of a disagreement. This can undermine the success of the organization.
- Hommelhoff, S. (2017). Implicit managerial theories about followers and customers. Journal of Service Theory and Practice, 27(1), 47-68. doi:http://dx.doi.org.csuglobal.idm.oclc.org/10.1108/JSTP-05-2015-0124
- Biong, H., Nygaard, A., & Silkoset, R. (2010). The Influence of Retail Management’s Use of Social Power on Corporate Ethical Values, Employee Commitment, and Performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 97(3), 341-363. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0523-0
- Goncalves, M. (2013). The Right Power for the Right Organization. Journal of Leadership, Accountability & Ethics, 10(3), 135-138.
- Kotter, J. (1985). Power and Influence, New York City, NY: Free Press.
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