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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)

Free Resources
– CPD Tools – https://gum.co/MC-CPD
Paid resources
– Management Courses Onboarding Kit – https://gum.co/MC-ObK ($3)

– 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)

Management Courses Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Points
You can record your Management Courses CPD points on our free, downloadable CPD record log.
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Each video has two levels of MC CPD points. For this video:
– If you simply watched the video, record 2 MC CPD points
– If you also carried out all of the recommended exercises, score a total of 6 MC CPD points

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#Management #ManagementCourses #RobinFincham


What is Globalization?
Kim Cameron: Positive Organizational Scholarship
Charles Handy: Philosopher of Organizations
Edgar Schein: The Master of Organizational Culture
Harold Geneen: Data-driven Charismatic Organization
Chester Barnard: Organizations as Networks of People
Max Weber: The Father of Organizational Theory
How we Work: Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cross-Organization Cultural Dimensions
National Culture within an Organization: Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions
Quinn and Cameron: Competing Values Model of Organizational Culture
Edgar Schein’s 3 Levels of Organizational Culture
Cultural Web: Johnson & Scholes on Where Culture Originates
Introduction to Organizational Culture
Empowerment: The Organization Giving up its Power
French and Raven: Social Power Bases in Organizations
Power in Organizations: The Power of Governance
Amitai Etzioni: How Organizations Secure Compliance
Organizational Power: What is Power?
Virtual Organizations
Brian Robertson’s Holacracy Organizational Model
The Agile Organization
Adhocracy Organizational Model
Peter Senge’s Learning Organization
The Matrix Organization Model
Charles Handy’s Triple-I Company
Charles Handy’s Federal Organization Model
Charles Handy’s Shamrock Organization
Charles Handy’s Gods of Management
Henry Mintzberg’s 4 plus 2 Organizational Types
Edgar Schein’s Two Organizational Cultures
Why do we need Organizations? Structure vs Agility
The Features of Organizations: What an Organization Needs
Organizations as Processes: Understanding an Organization as a Set of Processes
Organizations as Structures: Understanding an Organization as a Structure
Morgan’s 8 Organizational Metaphors: An Organization is Like a…
What is an Organization? – the Nature of Organizations

Mike Clayton

About Mike Clayton 

Dr Mike Clayton is a (former) Project Manager and now a management educator. Having trained thousands of people at live workshops, seminars, and conferences, he now delivers training mainly via video. He has 14 books with international publishers and runs two successful YouTube channels. He is also the founder of OnlinePMCourses.com

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