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Theories of Practice: The Political Frame

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Theories of Practice: The Political Frame MPA 8002 The Structure and Theory of Human Organization Richard M. Jacobs, OSA, Ph.D. The snakepit of workplace politics... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Theories of Practice: The Political Frame


1
Theories of PracticeThe Political Frame
MPA 8002 The Structure and Theory of Human
Organization Richard M. Jacobs, OSA, Ph.D.
2
A POLITICAL SCENARIO
Managers and leaders have to recognize political
reality and know how to deal with it. Inside and
outside any organization, there are always a
variety of different interest groups, each with
its own agenda. There are not enough resources
to give everyone what he or she wants, and there
is always going to be conflict.
3
MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP IN A POLITICAL SCENARIO
The job of managers and leaders is to recognize
the major constituencies, to develop ties to
their leadership, and to manage conflict as
productively as possible. Above all, they need
to build power bases and use power carefully.
They cannot give every group everything it wants,
although they can try to create arenas for
negotiating differences and coming up with
reasonable compromises. Managers and leaders also
have to work hard at articulating what everyone
in their organizations possesses in common.
Managers and leaders must tell the people that it
is a waste of time to fight each other when there
are plenty of enemies outside that they can all
fight together. Groups that fail to work well
together internally tend to get trounced by
outsiders who have their own agendas. Bolman
Deal (1991, p. 361)
4
the political frame
5
The snakepit of workplace politics...
  • Organizations are comprised of human beings...

who come to organizations possessing diverse
beliefs, values, and interests.
6
  • Interdependence, power relations, and the
    scarcity of necessary resources...

impinge upon people and influence their
decision-making processes.
7
For managers and leaders, the question is not
whether organizations will have politics...
...but the kind of politics they will have.
8
  • Not about how managers and leaders avoid
    politics...

but about how they deal with politics.
9
  • Not whether managers and leaders will use their
    current position as a steppingstone towards
    greener pastures

but how they will manage and lead workplace
politics towards positive and productive ends.
10
Politics...
  • the matters of the people (in Greek, polis)
  • each of whom possesses

cultural milieu
theoretical knowledge
craft knowledge
antecedents
self knowledge
critical knowledge
11
  • these antecedents influence and shape each
    individuals fundamental...

...beliefs
...assumptions
...values
All of these matters are antecedent to an
individuals theories of practice.
12
and in human organizations...
  • many people bring...

CON F L I C T
diverse beliefs
diverse values
resulting in
diverse interests
13
Managing and leading human organizations involves
dealing with conflict...
  • that is

how to engage in battle...
without becoming embattled
14
Requires leaders and managers who...
1. understand the nature of conflict in the
organization
15
Conflict...
  • permeates human organizations

vertical
types of organizational conflict
horizontal
cultural
16
  • since conflict is natural and inevitable in human
    organizations...

conflict is not a problem or an issue per se...
but requires managers and leaders who understand
and are capable of dealing directly and
effectively with conflict
17
Understanding conflict...
  • conflict challenges the status quo
  • conflict can stimulate personal and social
    change, interest, creativity, and innovation

Effective managers and leaders focus not on
eliminating conflict but on strategies and
tactics that channel conflict toward positive and
productive ends.
18
Requires leaders and managers who...
2. deal with conflict
19
Managing and leading conflict...
  • the goal is to mobilize people to achieve shared
    goals and to overcome obstacles by relating with
    allies and opponents alike...

Effective managers and leaders view adversaries
not as difficult people to deal with but as
interesting people they compete with.
20
Tactics for dealing with conflict...
1) to establish boundaries in conflict situations
arenas characterized by fair competition
bounded conflicts
vs.
streetfights ending in obliteration of the
opponent
unbounded conflicts
21
vs.
arenas
streetfights
conflict is an ongoing interplay of competing
interests and agendas among different individuals
and groups
people are independent agents who possess and
will use whatever tools necessary to achieve
their self-interest, irrespective of others
22
vs.
arenas
streetfights
everything is defined the game, field,
rules, interests, and preferences to be pursued
nothing is defined individuals and groups
legislate their own rules and behavior ad hoc
23
vs.
arenas
streetfights
multiple opportunities for formal and informal
communication, including meetings, committees,
and task forces
communication transpires somewhere beneath the
surface
24
vs.
arenas
streetfights
the objective is to avoid mutually assured
destruction
the objective is to take no prisoners
25
Tactics...
2) to define the agenda
purpose
strategy
vs.
self-interest
conflict
26
  • agenda setting requires
  • interpersonal sensitivity
  • discrete arm twisting
  • planting seeds
  • moving elephants

27
Tactics...
3) to map the political terrain to identify where
the players self-interests collide and how the
players view one another (Pichault, 1993)
  • determine the channels of informal communication
  • identify the principal agents wielding political
    influence
  • analyze the possibilities for both internal and
    external mobilization
  • anticipate the strategies that other individuals
    and groups are likely to employ

28
Mapping the political terrain. A
scenariobut, whos view?
high
p o w e r
top management
middle management
support staff
low
pro-change
anti-change
interests
29
Whos view?
p o w e r
high
top management
middle management
support staff
low
pro-change
anti-change
interests
30
Tactics...
4) to build coalitions among and network players
through influence building
a coalition is
  • a group of individuals possessing diverse
    objectives and resources
  • attempting to negotiate and bargain with other
    players both overtly and covertly
  • to influence goals, tactics, and projects

31
  • the collision of self-interests (what people
    want) and the scarcity of resources (what people
    need) requires intense bargaining and
    negotiating...

thus, the critical question for managers and
leaders is
How do the groups articulate their preferences
and mobilize power to get both what they want and
need?
32
...a four-step process of mapping political
influence (Kotter, 1985)
  • identify relevant relationships, that is, who
    needs to be managed or led
  • assess who is likely to resist, why, and how
    strongly, that is, figure out ahead of time where
    the likely challenges are
  • develop, wherever possible, relationships with
    potential opponents to facilitate communication,
    education, and negotiation

33
...in the event these steps fail, then carefully
select and implement more subtle or more forceful
methods...
  • identify whose help you need
  • develop relations with them through pre-selling
    and cheerleading
  • engage in horse-trading, that is, promise
    rewards in exchange for resources and support
    which will secure the blessing of scarce resources

34
Tactics...
5) to engage the players in bargaining and
negotiating
creating value
claiming value
finding better solutions (vs. the best
solution) for contending players
players endeavor to maximize their individual
gain at minimal cost
win-win
win-lose
35
  • Change generates conflict and creates winners and
    losers. Effective managers and leaders avoid
    smoothing over those issues which drive conflict
    underground.
  • Managing and leading change effectively requires
    creating arenas where organizational problems
    issues can be bargained and negotiated.

36
Requires leaders and managers who...
3. create and claim value
37
  • creating value...
  • the conscious insertion of principles into the
    decision-making process
  • the art of using bargaining and negotiating as a
    forum for building consensus about shared values
  • the moral aspect of management/leadership
    (Barnard, 1938/1968)

38
Tactics...
1. separate the players from the problem by
focusing on the merits of the argument
2. insist on objective criteria in substance and
procedures by avoiding anecdotal data and feelings
3. focus on interests not positions
4. invent options for mutual gain
39
  • claiming value...
  • acting upon the pragmatic recognition that
    bargaining and negotiating is a mixed-motive
    game...

wherein both players want an agreement but have
different interests and preferences which
influence the process
40
Tactics...
1. focus players on the interdependence of
decisions as well as the series of decisions to
be made
what each player does affects the other
each player wants, as much as possible, to be
able to predict what the other will do while
limiting the others ability to do likewise
the implicit goal is for player A to control
player Bs level of uncertainty so as to exercise
greater power in bargaining and negotiating
41
2. use judicious threats rather than sanctions
threats are potent only to the degree that the
opponent believes the threat will be carried out
noncredible threats weaken ones position and
confuses the process
the players may then threaten to use force, go
on strike, or break off negotiations
but, in most cases, they cannot bear the costs
of carrying out the threat
42
3. calculate the appropriate level of threat
underthreatening only weakens ones position
overthreatening is perceived as bluffing and
may lead another party to disbelieve, to break
off bargaining and negotiating, or to force an
escalation in threats
43
  • all of this claiming value increases the
    probability that managers and leaders will be
    perceived as functioning as manipulators...

who breed self-interest, mistrust, and hostility
in their followers
44
  • effective managers and leaders...

create value and claim value
as they engage in conditional openness
and follow the Golden Rule
45
Requires leaders and managers who...
4. deal with and use power effectively
46
...in Greek, ??atia, to rule
POWER
not, in and of itself, a negative concept
47
  • to rule...

to make a judgment
in Greek, krisis, that is, crisis
To rule means to render a judgment in a crisis,
a judgment evidencing the virtuous character (or
lack of virtue) of the individual making the
judgment.
48
Examples of power...
  • influencing behavior
  • changing the course of events
  • overcoming resistance
  • getting people to do the things they would not
    otherwise do
  • making ones will prevail and attaining ones goal

49
  • unfortunately, negative Machiavellian
    connotations distort thoughtful discourse about
    power and its exercise...

50
  • the difference between the positive use of power
    and the negative use of power...

is found in the person using power...
and the principles upon which that individual
justifies the use of power
51
Sources of power (Frensch Raven, 1959)...
access to and control of agendas and minutes
position
information/expertise
control of meaning and symbols
control of rewards
coercive power
personal power
alliances/networks
attending to zones of indifference
52
Power in the organizational system...
overbounded
underbounded
highly concentrated
diffuse throughout
tightly regulates everything
system loosely controlled
drives politics underground
lots of politics and power games
53
bounded power
unbounded power
vs.
an arena
a streetfight
the lowerarchy and the hierarchy cooperate so
that there are no surprises
parochial animus endures and keeps returning
54
Assumptions of the political theories of
practice...
  • organizations are coalitions of individuals and
    interest groups
  • there are enduring differences among coalition
    members in values beliefs, information,
    interests, and perceptions of reality
  • the most important decisions involve the
    allocation of scarce resources, that is, who gets
    what

55
  • scarce resources and enduring differences give
    conflict a central role in organizational
    dynamics and make power the most valuable resource
  • goals and decisions emerge from bargaining,
    negotiating, and jockeying for position among
    different stakeholders

56
Political tasks for managers and leaders...
1. to achieve a delicate balance in allocating
scarce resources across different divisions or
functions
2. to get support from bosses
3. to get support from staff and other
constituents
57
Some practical advice for managers and leaders...
  • 1. steadfastly refuse to be drawn into brawls

2. avoid confrontations but do confront conflict
and do engage in arguments
3. be patient, persistent, and use conflict to
practice advancing ones agenda
4. let go of difficult adversaries
58
To let go of difficult adversaries...
set the standard by upholding the
organizational purpose
a) state the organizational vision
b) state your best understanding of their position
c) identify your contribution to the problem
d) tell them what you will do without making
demands of them
59
then allow the difficult adversary to make a
judgment about the next move
60
  • Managing and leading organizational politics,
    confronting conflict, applying ethics when
    decision making, and using power effectively are
    critical elements for thinking about management
    and leadership as a challenging, creative, and
    necessary endeavor.

61
  • successful managers and leaders deal with
    organizational politics, confront conflict, apply
    ethics when decision making, and use power...

they experience mental anguish
as they ask themselves How will I?
62
  • unsuccessful managers and leaders deal with
    organizational politics, confront conflict, apply
    ethics when decision making, and use power...

they experience personal anguish
as they ask themselves How can I?
63
Using political theory...
advocates
effective managers and leaders are
savvy
coalition-building
whose primary concerns are
negotiating gray areas
64
Abusing political theory...
con-artists
ineffective managers and leaders are
hustlers
fraud
whose primary concerns are
deception
65
Strengths of the political theory of practice...
realistic
practical
addresses the reality of conflict and power
struggles
highlights the need for principled reflection
66
Limitations of the political theory of practice...
impersonal
cynical
assumes conflict and power struggles
67
Integrating reflective practice, conceptual
pluralism, and organizational analysis...
Reflecting upon organizational behavior through
four frames inculcates the conceptual pluralism
managers and leaders need to diagnose the issues
underlying the problems manifesting themselves in
human organizations.
the structural frame
the human resources frame
the symbolic frame
the political frame
68
This module has focused on...
the political science theories that managers and
leaders can utilize in practice episodes...
69
...as these theories of practice provide managers
a frame of reference to inform decision making...
the political frame
...offers managers and leaders guidance about the
strengths and limits of political science theory
70
A POLITICAL SCENARIO
Managers and leaders have to recognize political
reality and know how to deal with it. Inside and
outside any organization, there are always a
variety of different interest groups, each with
its own agenda. There are not enough resources
to give everyone what he or she wants, and there
is always going to be conflict.
71
MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP IN A POLITICAL SCENARIO
The job of managers and leaders is to recognize
the major constituencies, to develop ties to
their leadership, and to manage conflict as
productively as possible. Above all, they need
to build power bases and use power carefully.
They cannot give every group everything it wants,
although they can try to create arenas for
negotiating differences and coming up with
reasonable compromises. Managers and leaders also
have to work hard at articulating what everyone
in their organizations possesses in common.
Managers and leaders must tell the people that it
is a waste of time to fight each other when there
are plenty of enemies outside that they can all
fight together. Groups that fail to work well
together internally tend to get trounced by
outsiders who have their own agendas. Bolman
Deal (1991, p. 361)
72
the political frame
73
The next module will focus on...
the symbolic frame
...and the cultural theories that managers and
leaders can utilize in practice episodes.
74
A SYMBOLIC SCENARIO
Symbolic managers and leaders are also sensitive
to an organizations history and culture. They
seek to use the best in their organizations
traditions and values as a base for building a
culture that provides cohesiveness and meaning.
They articulate a vision that communicates the
organizations unique capabilities and
mission. (Bolman Deal, 1991, p. 364)
75
MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP IN A SYMBOLIC SCENARIO
Symbolic managers and leaders believe that the
most important part of their job is
inspirationgiving people something that they can
believe in. People will give their loyalty to an
organization that has a unique identity and makes
them feel that what they do is really important.
Effective symbolic managers and leaders are
passionate about making their organizations the
best of their kind and communicate that passion
to others. They use dramatic, visible symbols
that give people a sense of the organizational
mission. They are visible and energetic. They
create slogans, tell stories, hold rallies, give
awards, appear where they are least expected, and
manage by wandering around.
76
the symbolic frame
77
References
  • Barnard, C. I. (1938/1968). The functions of
    the executive. Cambridge, MA Harvard University
    Press.
  • Bolman, L. G., Deal, T. E. (1997). Reframing
    organizations Artistry, choice and leadership
    (2nd edition). San Francisco Jossey-Bass.
  • Frensch, J. R. P., Raven, B. H. (1959). The
    bases of social power. In D. Cartwright (Ed.),
    Studies in social power. Ann Arbor, MI
    Institute for Social Research.
  • Kotter, J. P. (1982). The general managers.
    New York Free Press.
  • Kotter, J. P. (1985). Power and influence
    Beyond formal authority. New York Free Press.
  • Kotter, J. P. (1988). The leadership factor.
    New York Free Press.

78
  • Pichault, F. (1993). Resources humaines et
    changement stratégique Vers un management
    politique (Human resources and strategic change
    Toward a political model of management).
    Brussels, Belgium, DeBoeck.
  • Porter, E. (1989, December). Notes for the
    Looking at Leadership Conference. Paper
    presented at the Looking for Leadership
    Conference, Graduate School of Education, Harvard
    University.
  • Sergiovanni, T. J. (1989). Informing
    professional practice in educational
    administration. Journal of Educational
    Administration, 27(2), p. 186.
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