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ODC ASSIGNMENT

Submitted by:
Sudeshna Das
Section C
17P171
1. Please read the article "Power Play" and write an one page summary of the paper.

Ans. This article revolves around the need for power when it comes to integrating an organization.
The example stated in the case is that of “Carol Frank Buck Breast Care”. Laura Esserman, the
Director of the centre hoped to give integrated care in one institutional setting. Carving out a
strategy for this was a big challenge as different departments had their own agendas. It was similar
to handling a cross functional project. The Director had lots of responsibility but no line authority.
The author states that what Laura clearly needed in this situation was power.

Jeffrey Pfeffer stays the example of Zia Yusuf, who not only had business knowledge but also knew
how to get things done. With an emerging era of flatter organizations, more influence is required to
get things done in a non - hierarchical system. The author reflects some light on the exercise of
power. He lists down certain steps which people take to advance their agendas:

• Mete out resources: Help out people whenever you have resources as helping out people
evokes reciprocity. Access to information and influential power can also provide a high
leverage.
• Shape behaviour through rewards/punishments: People who effectively wield influence
make it clear that you will get rewards if you comply and you will be punished if you defy.
They might let others pursue their agenda but make it clear that it could have consequences.
• Advance on multiple fronts: When one is faced with obstacles in one front, he/she must
advance on other fronts. The example of Lalit Modi illustrates how advancing ones agenda
through different channels helps one weasel out of tricky situations.
• Make the first move: A surprise move catches the opponents off guard and gets one a
chance to secure victory before your opponent readies himself/herself. This dynamics is
often observed in C-suite politics.
• Co-opt antagonists: Win over opponents by giving them a chance to be a part of your team.
Sometimes when estrangement diminishes, alliance increases. When they feel like they are a
part of your agenda, they might push for your agenda too.
• Remove rivals – nicely, if possible: If you cannot win over your opponent, you might show
them the door gracefully. Let the person go, but save his face too. Money or other rewards
could make exits easier.
• Don’t draw unnecessary fire: One must not create unnecessary turmoil. A clear
understanding of the goal helps us focus. Bothering about peripheral issues just distracts
one from his/her agenda.
• Make important relationships work: Making critical relationships work is a key to acquiring
power. A CEO can’t function if he severs his relationship with his CFO. Personal feelings
should not come in the way one’s agenda.
• Persist: Staying in the game is necessary for one to win. Persistence is absolutely necessary
as it has the power to wear down the opposition.
• Add a personal touch: Making personal ties could give one an added advantage. For eg.
Valenti built personal ties with congressional staffers, assistants which helped him tide
through his struggle of getting the Copyright Act implemented.
• Make the vision compelling: It is easier to exercise power if you are aligned with a socially
valuable objective. It helps one urge for power more socially acceptable.
With more and more competent people trying to reach the fewer positions up the
organizational power, powerplay is necessary to seal your end of the bargain.
2. Please read the case "Power without Influence" and answer the following questions.

a. What are the sources of power for Jayant and Kant?

Ans. Jayant and Kant both had positional power. The position they held in the hierarchy
helped them exercise control over other employees. Both of them once held the position of
Senior Manager, Operations. Kant believed in using the admiration people had for him in
order to exercise power. He had referent power which is based on the relationship of the
manager and employee. With this source of power, employees will work hard and respond
well to a manager’s use of power because of a positive working relationship, strong
emotional bonds or a physical attraction. The addition of a personal touch and caring for his
employees had helped him ensure better operations. Jayant was relying more on coercive
power as he expected his subordinates to respect his authority without any qualms.

b. Why Kant was more effective compared to Jayant?

Ans. Kant was more caring towards employees. He gave importance to an employee who
was even present at the lowest rung of the hierarchy. He was sensitive to personal problems
and strived to chalk out possible solutions. He checked the influence of the trade unions by
providing his employees information and keeping them in the loop. Before the union leaders
could remind an employee of his/her rights, Kant made sure that they claimed their due.
Jayant on the other hand believed in strong formal hierarchies. He obeyed his seniors
without qualms and expected the same from his subordinates. He lacked trust in his
employees and hence shunned away from delegating responsibility. Jayant didn’t interact
with other employees and preferred directing them than handing over any decision making
authority in their hand. This lack of personal touch had created a huge gap between
different levels of hierarchy. Each employee is important in an organization as the failure of
even one employee reduces effectiveness and efficiency. Since, the staff felt alienated from
the organization, they did not perform their duties diligently. They felt inadequate without
any decision making power and social status. Hence, they relied on unions to protect their
interests. The huge difference in the management styles of Kant and Jayant was also a
disappointment for the employees. Kant was more successful as he knew the art of meting
out resources to help his employees and also understood the importance of building
important relationships to garner support.

c. What kind of influencing tactic would be effective in Indian context? Why so?

Ans. In an Indian context, adding a personal touch could help one build his influence on
others. People love being respected and given due importance. Giving one’s employees a
chance to feel like he/she is a part of the organization helps in increasing accountability.
Coalition and friendliness is an important influencing tactic. For eg. When Kant transferred
Mala on her request, he used his resources to make her know that she was an important
part of the organization. This would also create a sense of inclusion and she would render
her duties effectively as people do try to return favours. They reciprocate when someone
helps them out. Exercising reward power also works in the Indian scenario as our culture has
an ingrained belief that one is rewarded for doing the right thing. We look for incentives in
order to go an extra mile to deliver our duties. Apart from these tactics, providing reason for
the actions taken is another effective tool. Employees tend to believe in a manager more if
they understand the reasons for the work being delegated to them. Merely complaining and
punishing just creates a hostile environment where no one wants to co-operate.