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Power in Organizations

Journal of Hospitality Application and Research

Volume 3 Issue 1

Published: 2008
Author(s) Name: Dr. Neeta Baporikar
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This paper attempts to trace the sources of power in organizations. Common sense suggests that these are important to the operations of any organization and that the lives and behaviour of organizational members are vitally affected by their relative power positions.

The nature of the power system used in the organization has important consequences for the manner in which individuals attach themselves to the organization and for the more general issue of organizational effectiveness. If inappropriate power forms are used, the organization is likely to be less effective than it might otherwise be. For example, in an educational institution, if the power form is not knowledge–basis than the quality of education provided suffers. Similarly, in technical organizations the power form has to be technology based, otherwise the quality of output would suffer.

The interest in organizational power has been inspired by dissatisfaction with conventional approaches. The study of power in organizations can present problems, as it is a rather slippery concept, difficult to pin down and define. Power is a major concern of organizational theorists and it inevitably gets mixed up with the forms of power that occur in wider society. Within organizations politics is often regarded with great distaste as the main barrier to getting on with the job.

The paper addresses some of the most important issues relating to power in organizations and concludes that power is a reciprocal relational phenomenon between the parties involved and that each party is dependent on other. The power relationships can be rigidly specified in advance or can develop as the relationship itself develops. This brings to light the significance of organizational structure and the close connection between structure and processes, since it is the structure that sets the original limits on the relationship. Moreover, within the dynamic settings of the organizations, the power relationships tend to play a pivotal role in testing the professional strength of the organizational fabric.

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