Articles & Books on Organizational
Academic Articles for Improving Your Organizational Expertise:
Ferris, G. R., Frink, D. D.,
Gilmore, D. C. & Kacmar, K. M. 1994. Understanding as an antidote for
the dysfunctional consequences of organizational politics as a
stressor. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24, 1204-1220.
that organizational politics perceptions are potential stressors
with potentially dysfunctional outcomes was set forth based on
previous theory. The hypothesis that the
dysfunctional outcomes of stress associated with the perceptions of
the organizational political climate can be ameliorated by
understanding the environment was tested in a field study. Results
provided strong support for the hypothesis, demonstrating a
significant interaction of politics x understanding on job anxiety,
and showing that understanding can serve as an antidote of sorts to
the dysfunctional effects of organizational politics.
Ferris, G. R., Frink, D. D.,
Galang, M. G., Zhou, J., Kacmar, K. M., & Howard, J. L. 1996.
Perceptions of organizational politics: Prediction, stress-related
implications, and outcomes. Human Relations, 49,
tests the perceptions of organizational politics proposed by Ferris,
Russ, and Fandt (1989). Reasonably strong support is found for most
of the linkages in the model, including the moderating effects of
control and understanding, and the mediating effects of politics
between predictors and outcomes. Furthermore, politics is
characterized as a potential source of stress in the work
environment, contributing to understanding of the dynamics or
politics in organization.
Ferris, G. R., & Kacmar, K. M. 1992. Perceptions of organizational politics. Journal of
Management, 18, 93-116.
political nature of work environments has been discussed for quite
some time; however, surprisingly little is known about the personal
and situational factors that influence employees’ perceptions of
organizational politics. In this study, portions of a model of
organizational politics perceptions proposed by Ferris, Russ, and
Fandt (1989) were tested in two studies using samples reflecting
considerable variability on jobs, age, sex, education, as well as
hierarchical level, across four different organizations. In Study
1, regression analysis, used to empirically examine a proposed model
of organizational politics perceptions, demonstrated that feedback,
job autonomy, skill variety, and opportunity for promotion
contributed significantly to the explanation of variance in
perceptions of organizational politics, after controlling for
variance due to organization. In Study 2, a new expanded measure of
organizational politics perceptions was used to provide a more
refined analysis of the antecedents and consequences of politics
perceptions. Directions for theoretical and empirical research on
organizational politics are discussed in light of the present
French, J. P. R., Jr. & Raven, B. "The Bases of Social Power" in Studies
in Social Power, edited by Dorwin P. Cartwright, Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for
Social Research. pp. 150-167.
sources of social power: (1) referent power; (2) expert power; (3)
reward power; (4) coercive power; and (5) legitimate power and
analyzes power and influence by asking what determines the behavior
of the agent who exerts power and what determines the reactions of
the recipient of this behavior. Relates each type of power to the
degree of influence exerted and the amount of change likely to
result. Also discusses similarities and differences among the
different types of power and in which situations each type is
K. M. & Dawn S Carlson,
D. S. 1997.
Further validation of the perceptions of politics scale (POPS):
A multiple sample investigation."
Journal of Management,
behavior in organizations is ubiquitous, measuring it is often
difficult. In one attempt to create such a measure, Kacmar and
Ferris (1991) developed and evaluated the psychometric properties of
the Perceptions of Politics Scale (POPS). Later, Nye and Witt (1993)
examined the dimensionality of POPS and its construct validity by
comparing it with the Survey of Perceived Organizational Support.
The present research extends the previous studies by using
structural equation modeling to evaluate the dimensionality,
reliability, and validity of POPS across 3 different studies
utilizing 9 different samples for a total of 2,758 respondents.
Results suggested that some of the original POPS items were
ineffective and needed to be removed or replaced. Hence, some of the
original items were deleted and additional items were generated and
tested to produce a refined and revised version of POPS.
Mechanic, D, (December 1962). "Sources of Power of Lower Participants in
Complex Organizations." Administrative Science Quarterly, v7n3, pp.
explores various factors that account for the power of secretaries,
hospital attendants, prison inmates, and other lower participants
within organizations. Power is seen as resulting from access to and
control over persons, information, and instrumentalities. Among the
variables discussed affecting power are normative definitions,
perception of legitimacy, exchange, and coalitions. Personal
attributes related to power include commitment, effort, interest,
and willingness to use power, skills, and attractiveness. Finally,
various attributes of social structure are discussed which also help
to account for the power of lower participants: time spent in the
organization, centrality of position, duality of power structures,
and replace ability of persons.
Applied Articles for Improving Your
Davidson, Jeffrey P. (Sep/Oct 1988). "Boosting Your Career with
Politics (229KB)." Management World, v17n3, pp. 11-13.
A knowledge of office politics can aid employees in understanding a company's informal power
structure. While the formal organizational structure of a company indicates a chain of
command, the informal structure is more important since it represents the actual delineation
of power. The grapevine offers knowledge that can be used in career advancement. While
evaluating the tactics of adversaries can help an employee understand motives and develop a
more comprehensive direction, lunches and social events can be used to solidify relationships
and open opportunities to learn about associates. Good communication skills, which involve
listening attentively to workers, can aid in developing friendships that may prove useful in
future controversies. Body language also reveals subconscious information about office
relationships. Dishonest employees frequently can be identified by watching certain body
reactions such as restricted gestures and lack of eye contact. Developing expertise in
company policies and goals helps establish a foundation for advancement as well.
Oncken, William, Jr.1987.
The Monkey Off Your Back; Executive Excellence,
Provo; Dec; Vol. 4, No. 12; pg. 4, 1 pgs
Since most managers spend
their time trying to do everything right, they do not have the time to
do the right thing at the right time. Managers must increase their
discretionary time by getting control of 4 wasteful elements of the
administrative environment: 1. "Boss-imposed time" is time
wasted getting the boss to change a bad decision instead of helping the
boss to make the correct decision in the first place. 2.
"System-imposed time" can be minimized if the manager can get
the trivial administrative work streamlined. 3. Acting instead of
reacting can reduce the amount of "externally-imposed time"
(for example, that time spent with outsiders). 4. Overly dependent
subordinates create more "subordinate-imposed time," when the
manager must solve subordinates' problems instead of letting them do
their own work. The successful manager transfers initiative to
subordinates and leaves it in their hands. A
"monkey-on-the-back" analogy is used to illustrate how
managers are robbed of discretionary time.
Oncken, William Jr; &
Wass, Donald L. 1987. Management Time: Who's Got the Monkey?; Harvard
Business Review, Boston; Mar/Apr; Vol. 65, No. 2; pg. 25
The concept of management
time as it relates to the interaction between managers and their bosses,
their peers, and their subordinates is discussed. It is explained that
there are three different kinds of management time.
Peace, William H. (Nov/Dec 1991). "The Hard Work of Being a Soft
Manager." Harvard Business Review, v69n6, pp. 40-47.
Soft management does not mean weak management. It means candor, openness, and
vulnerability, as well as a willingness to take responsibility for difficult decisions. Such an
approach worked well when William H. Peace was faced with having to lay off 15 people at
Westinghouse's Synthetic Fuels Division in the early 1980s. Meeting with the people in person,
explaining management's reasons for the layoff, and giving employees a chance to object,
criticize, and vent their anger eased the emotional blow for those laid off and reassured
remaining employees that the division did not face immediate closure. The soft management
approach also worked to turn around a hostile labor-management situation at the
Westinghouse Steam Turbine Division. The general manager of the division made a series of
informational presentations to hostile workers. From those presentations came greater
credibility for the general manager and a big improvement in labor-management relations.
Salancik, G. R., & Pfeffer, J. (Winter, 1977). "Who Gets Power
And How they Hold On To It: A Strategic Contingency Model of Power." Organizational
'political power' is one of the few mechanisms available for
aligning an organization with its own reality. The model of power
called strategic contingency theory sees power as something that
accrues to organizational subunits (individuals, departments) that
cope with critical organizational problems. Power is shared, and
it is derived from activities rather than from individuals. Three
conditions that are likely to affect the use of power are
scarcity, criticality, and uncertainty. Two aspects of power that
make it easier to understand organizations and their effectiveness
are - 1. That the job to be done has a way of expanding itself
until it becomes less clear what the job is, and 2. Power tends to
take on institutionalized forms that enable it to endure well
beyond its usefulness to an organization. Power will result in the
organization suboptimizing its performance.
(1970). “Power and Politics in Organizational Life.” Harvard
Business Review, May-June, pp. 2-13. http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=3866813&db=buh
for power is characteristic of all political structures. And,
whatever else they may be, business organizations are political
structures in that they provide both a base for the development of
executive careers and a platform for the expression of individual
interests and motives. People in positions of authority, however,
“differ from ‘ordinary’ humans,” says this author, “in that they
have the capacity to impose their personal defenses onto the stage
of corporate life. Fortunately, the relationships are susceptible to
intelligent management,” and it is to the nature of this
intelligence that the discussion is devoted.
Books for Improving Your Organizational Expertise::
Bacharach, S. and Lawler, E. (1980). Power and Politics in Organizations.
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Research-based study of organizational power and politics. Chapters 2-4 discuss
dimensions of power, content and sources of power, and coalition forming.
(2001). Getting Things Done When You Are Not In Charge (2nd
ed.). San Francisco: Berrett Kohler (220 pages).
From Publishers Weekly
management in a fiercely competitive, status- and title-oriented
business world, consultant Bellman demonstrates how "support"
professionals of all kinds, while serving their higher-echelon
"internal" customers, can fulfill their own potential for
professional and personal development beyond just "earning a
living." In this updated version of The Quest for Staff Leadership ,
the author--using eye-catching headings and short, easily grasped
concepts--contrasts the role of management and that of support
personnel, while also providing lists of goals, rules, steps to
success, rewards and means of self-evaluation. Bellman also offers
support professionals advice on how they can increase their level of
responsibility and influence from that of gofer or research
assistant to that of strategist, even approaching policy-making.
Block, P. (1987). The Empowered Manager: Positive Political Skills at
Work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Presents positive and authentic ways to work within a political structure. Early
chapters discuss what politics are and why they exist in organization. Chapter 5 defines
adversaries, opponents and fence-sitters and presents high-integrity strategies for
dealing with them. Other topics include contracts with subordinates and bosses, creating a
vision, dealing with ones own desire to be dependent, courage to do what needs to be
done, balancing autonomy and dependence and developing a strategy for change that we can
Cohen, A., & Bradford, D. L., & Bradford, D. F. Influence Without
Authority. New York: John Wiley (336 pages).
From Publishers Weekly
This guide by
management consultant Cohen and Stanford University Graduate School
of Business professor Bradford skillfully demonstrates, with
numerous examples, how managers and other employees can achieve
their career objectives--as well as those of their companies--by
forming mutually advantageous alliances. Urging patient planning of
strategies, the authors offer advice on coping with turf rivalries,
handling delicate inter-level relations and tips on how to bypass
rules and foster managerial flexibility and innovation.
DeLuca, J. L. (1999). Political Savvy:
Systematic Approaches to Leadership Behind the Scenes
ed.). Evergreen (250 Pages).
A step by step manual for exercising
influence beyond your authority." - Fast Company Magazine, April/May
Pfeffer, J. Managing with Power. Boston: Harvard Business
School Press, 1992 (391 pages).
Identifies how power is used and mis-used
to achieve personal and organizational goals. Author provides an
in-depth and fascinating look at the role of power and influence in
Woodward, E. and Buchholz, S. (1987). Aftershock--Helping People Through
Corporate Change. New York: J. Wiley & Sons (256pages).
Information and strategies related to managing people during periods of change.
Covers what people undergoing change want, how and why people respond to change, and what
managers can do to assist people through change and ultimately to self-management.
Which articles or books did you find helpful? Are there any additional articles, books, or
other resources you would recommend to others attempting to improve their
Return to MTC