When Power PLAYS

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Power, Politics, Organizations

Every individual who join an organization all have a personal purpose to fulfill. It could be in the form of financial, professional, or developmental reward, the motivation towards self-satisfaction seems endless. What happens when the interests of an individual conflicts with the need of another individual is political activity. Politics is an inevitable component in organizations that needs to be recognized. The corporate scene is nowhere near Narnia or Neverland where dreams simply come true.

Politics stems from whoever has the power at hand. “Power is the potential ability to influence behavior, change the course of events, to overcome resistance, and to convince people to do things they would do otherwise (Wood, 1994).” Power as discussed by Wood is classified into Positional and Personal. Positional power may be exercised by means of reward, coercion, and legitimate or formal authority. Personal power, on the other hand, is manifested through the use of one’s expertise, reference to the power source, and guilt.

We need to understand that power and politics play out in organizations and you could be a target. It could occur in all levels of the organization and in every possible direction-downward, upward, horizontal. It then implies that as future members of the workforce we must learn to stand our guard. No one can protect us better than ourselves.

An effective tool is by improving our personal power as noted by Wilf Ratzburg. First, make sure that you possess just about the right amount of knowledge–you do not know it all, you may sometimes need to pretend you know nothing at all, or you’ll let people know of what you know only at the right moment. Next is to possess as much information as the situation requires especially if it will affect your job. Third is personal attractiveness. This does not suggest physical appearance alone. Attractiveness comes in the form of charisma or appeal to people. Lastly, in doing all of the above you will definitely be in need of some effort. To make it more natural, try putting in effort without actually looking like it. What this means is you walk through the gates of empowerment flawlessly, while wearing a concealer.


Drummond, H. (2000). Introduction to Organizational Behavior. Great Britain: Bath Press.

Wood, J. (1994). Organizational Behavior. New York: ARS Press.

  1. I so totally know where this one’s coming from. We don’t always have to be reminded that life is unfair, we just get used to it and power play is certainly one of the things that makes life even more unfair especially inside organizations where you are competing with different people who also wants the same results that you want. It’s true that anyone can be a target, if we’re not armed and careful enough we might be manipulated and it can destroy our personal ethics and values. Certain power can bring out the worst in people.

    Mind your own business is passe. I say, mind your own business and be a little mindful of others’ business.

  2. Could not agree more, the power of the net, NSM and other technologies have led to drastic changes in power play, and in the acquisition, loss, growth and development of power.

    And also, the steps to increasing personal power were laid out clear and concise. It’s not enough to know one’s own power, but the dynamics that this power and other factors are subject to such as the specific circumstance, and other power players involved. Balance is always key – the right time, the right place and the right things to think, say or do.

    And attractiveness just jolted through my mind. As much as many do not acknowledge, we’re still judgmental, and aesthetics are pretty powerful. Oftentimes have I overlooked or thought less of a person, company or website because he/she/it appeared tacky, cheap, unkempt, or just plain and simple – unattractive.

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