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Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations

ISBN: 0875844405

Language: English

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

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Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations


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Although much as been written about how to make better decisions, a decision by itself changes nothing. The big problem facing managers and their organizations today is one of implementation - how to get things done in a timely and effective way. Problems of implementation are really issues of how to influence behavior, change the course of events, overcome resistance, and get people to do things they would not otherwise do. In a word, power. "Managing with Power" provides an in-depth look at the role of power and influence in organizations. Pfeffer shows convincingly that its effective use is an essential component of strong leadership. With vivid examples, he makes a compelling case for the necessity of power in mobilizing the political support and resources to get things done in any organization. He provides an intriguing look at the personal attributes - such as flexibility, stamina, and a high tolerance for conflict - and the structural factors - such as control of resources, access to information, and formal authority - that can help managers advance organizational goals and achieve individual success.

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Good Book

This was a good book to read. It was a bit dense at times but very interesting and informative.

Eye-opening read

Although I am not 100% on board with Pfeffer, he sure did get me thinking about how to recognize behaviors that may be related to power. He also gives excellent (although dated) real-life examples of how leaders used and failed to use politics, and the results of each. If you think politics in organizations stinks, read this book to get a different take. You may just discover some tools that will help you help others.

The ability to influence behavior, events and people

Jeffrey Pfeffer is Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, California. Previously he has been at the University of Illinois, the University of California at Berkeley, and as a Visiting Professor at the Harvard Business School. He has written several business- and management-related books.This book consists of four parts, with each part consisting of 3-to-6 chapters. Pfeffer starts with a definition of power: "... the potential ability to influence behavior, to change the course of events, to overcome resistance, and to get people to do things that they would not otherwise do." This power is utilized and realized through politics and influence. Based on above definition the book discusses the details to the implementation process which consists of seven steps:1. Decide on your goals.2. Diagnose who is important in getting your goals accomplished.3. Have a sense of the game being played, the players, and what their positions are.4. Ascertain the power based of the other players, as well as your own potential and actual sources of power.5. Determine your relative strength, along with the strength of other players.6. Diagnose what is going to happen in an organization, as well as preparing yourself to take action.7. Consider the various strategies or tactics that are available to you, as well as those used by others.I believe it is important to keep these steps in mind since the book does not follow the sequence of these steps. The other chapters in Part I - Power in Organizations provide help both in diagnosing the extent to which situations are going to involve the use of power and in figuring out who the political actors are and what their points are likely to be. Some important quotes in this part are: "Power is a valuable resource [and] those who have power typically conserve it for important issues [scarcity and importance are correlated]." "Knowing the power of various organizational members and subunits is important, and so is understanding whose help you need in order to achieve your goals."Part II - Sources of Power, consisting of 6 chapters, considers where power comes from, or some people and some subunits have more power than others. It offers implicit lessons on how to acquire more power and influence for ourselves. "Power comes from being in the 'right' place. A good place or position is one that provides you with: 1. control over resources.; 2. control over or extensive access to information; and 3. formal authority." By using both well-known and practical examples, the author discusses each of these aspects in detail. His view is that although individual attributes are important, being in the right place (in particular, the right subunit) is more important.Once we know where power comes, we need to know how to use it effectively to get things done. This is the subject of Part III - Strategies and Tactics for Employing Power Effectively, which consists of 6 chapters. It begins wi

Excellent book on power politics within organizations

Found this to be a very informative book on politcs, and what issues need to be addressed to be "successful." As someone beginning a new job, I have found Pfeffer's book to be very instructional on how to "feel" ones way through the layers of management.

Excellent treament on organizational power

This book is the best treament on organizational power and influnce. Regardless of your status in any organization, this book is a must read. The discussion of early career power developement, mid-career use and end-career release, this book is the most revealing discussion on the use of organizational influnce I've uncovered. The early sections of the book discusses some the roots of power and influnces and allows the captive reader to determine their own and recognize others' sources of influnce. This in turn can help you long-term in your career. Absolutely a must read.
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