Robin Fincham: Three Levels of Organizational Power
Etzioni talked about the types of Power that organizations wield. But where does it come from? Robin Fincham, a British academic, has given us a helpful analysis of three levels from which organizational power emanates.
Our Etzioni video: https://youtu.be/4mSdeda8elk
Watching this video is worth 2 Management Courses CPD Points*.
(See below for more details)
The Nature of Organizations
This video is part of course module number 6.1.3
Program 6: Managing within Organizations
Course 1: The Nature of Organizations
Section 3: Power in Organizations
Other videos in this section include:
What is Power? https://youtu.be/mIlnEkzIiHs
Amitai Etzioni: How Organizations Secure Compliance https://youtu.be/4mSdeda8elk
The Power of Governance https://youtu.be/QI4pGksO4Ns
French and Raven: Social Power Bases in Organizations https://youtu.be/wLtTu8B0aek
Empowerment: The Organization Giving up its Power https://youtu.be/B4-_u51mffk
Robin Finchamdescribed three levels from which organizational power emanates.
The Organizational Level
Organizations have their own hierarchy and power systems. These work to create a dominant culture and rule-set that they use to exert coercive, remunerative, or normative power.
Crucially, the people with authority are usually those who select their successors and therefore sustain the existing power structure. This is called a self-perpetuating oligarchy.
The tools they use are rules and regulations, policy, processes, control of information, and access to resources (including pay and terms of employment).
Above the Organization is Society: The Institutional Level
Organizations always sit within a wider society. And this is where we get our understanding of organizations as entities in their own right. The power organizations have is devolved from wider social and economic structures.
We see the people who run organizations (the managers) as agents of society with a significant status. So, when they exert power, they are doing so by borrowing from wider societal norms.
In this sense, we all ‘give’ organizations their power, as members of the society that hosts them.
Within the Organization are People: The Processual Level
The third level of organizational power arises from the interactions between the people within the organization. These relationships result in a constant stream of social transactions. Each one exerts an element of the individual’s power in service of the organization, as a whole.
This is lower-case-p politics – the internal influencing, negotiating, conflict, guidance, and support that happens day-to-day.
The positive results are productive alliances and constructive competition. But we also see neutral uses of power like rule enforcement and negative uses like dominance and abuse – from low-level manipulation to all-out bullying.
This people dimension of power is the kicking-off point for our next video but one, which will be about Social Power Bases – the work of John French and Bertram Raven: https://youtu.be/wLtTu8B0aek
Examine your experience and consider the balance of where different organizations you know well gain their power. To what extent does Fincham’s model explain the power that each organization holds? (4 MC CPD Points)
– Understanding Organizations https://geni.us/oB774Do
– Images of Organization https://geni.us/hrOemEs
– Inside Organizations: 21 Ideas for Managers https://geni.us/YwwL
– Gods of Management: The Four Cultures of Leadership https://geni.us/bpPeC5
Managers Need a Basic set of kit to do your job well. Here are my top recommendations: https://kit.co/MikeClayton/manager-s-work-kit (the links are affiliated)
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