The key issues associated with organizational behavior
include power, empowerment, organizational politics, and communication. Each of these things has a great impact on organizational behavior and the general way businesses operate today. Specific observations and experiences within
my organization, have given me perspectives and ideas relating to these areas.
First, power is divided and split into organizational and personal types of power. Within organizational power is reward,
coercive, and legitimate power. Managers often use rewards to demonstrate power. If the reward is deserved and sincere, this can be effective; however, if the rewards are being falsely given, this may be detrimental to the
relationship. Coercive power, used to deny or threaten something of worth, does not earn respect. While having something to work for is an effective and motivating tool, an employee who is threatened to lose something or not
receive something, will only have feelings of resentment and distrust toward a manager. Legitimate power, similar to coercive, involves the manager using his or her position to influence and control situations. I have recently been
in a situation where my manager reminded me repeatedly that she could refuse my request to post for job transfer. Using this as a threat, she clung to this power in her position.
power involves three further bases: expert, rational, and referent. As they say, knowledge is power; what a true statement. Having worked in a training position, I had to be an 'expert' on all policies and procedures. Some managers
were threatened by this knowledge because they did not have the same level of understanding and expertise. Eventually a pattern developed of subordinates preferring to ask trainers questions instead of managers. This situation
caused severe tensions between management and the training department. Rational power is what I feel to be the most effective form of power. The role of a manager is to see the big picture and then make plans accordingly;
subordinates are the tools to getting the job done. A manager that can present a situation to a group of subordinates and propose a realistic way to get the job done is using rational power. Within my organization, and perhaps many
others, the most common of the personal power bases is referent power. A subordinate who overtly follows and obeys can be an asset to a manager using referent power. The manager can use a subordinate to his or her advantage, a
'pawn' if you will, to reinforce the source of that power and as an ego-booster. In addition, the subordinate uses the manager to help further his or her career for example. The term 'brownnoser' is most applicable in this form of
Third, empowerment is defined as "the process by which managers help others to acquire and use the power needed to make decisions affecting themselves and their work." (Schermerhorn, Hunt,
Osborn, 2002). One of the best examples of empowerment I have seen is with my previous position. Working in the New Accounts department, subordinates responsibility was to analyze credit bureau reports and application information.
These subordinates were given the necessary training and tools to perform the functions of the job; most importantly, these employees were given empowerment to make decisions regarding credit. While many guidelines and policies
were in place, managers empowered employees to make these credit decisions. Initially this was an overwhelming responsibility, but over time, subordinates realized they had the support of management to make these decisions. As a
result, employees took pride in their work, were more accountable, and more responsible. Subordinates saw this empowerment as true responsibility and took it seriously. Management realized the effects of this empowerment, and
continued to emphasize and support employee importance to the overall goals of the company.
Fourth, organizational politics has a negative connotation, but actually has both positive and
negative perspectives. By definition, "organizational politics is the management of influence to obtain ends not sanctioned by the organization or to obtain sanctioned ends through nonsanctioned means and the art of creative
compromise among competing interests" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn, 2002). In other words, managers are often perceived as being political for taking steps to further personal career goals that may not be inline or supported by the
company. Also, a manager who uses the concept of creative compromise when competing interests are involved may be perceived as political. When it comes to politics within my organization, it appears to be a battle of ego's,
positions, job titles, and perceptions; it is not what you know, it is who you know. People use the various forms of power to gain control. As within most organizations, politics are a part of regular 'business-as-usual'. The
positive aspects regarding organizational politics come with healthy competition. Surveys have shown that employees admit to playing into the politics, causing his or her performance to improve in order to stay competitive within
the 'political game'.