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Organizational Power

Chapter 8
Exercise - Identifying Power

A recent incident involving hacking and data theft prompted the implementation of a new data security system at Listo Systems. A "black box" system will be installed on every PC in the company and will not only affect the way data moves but also who has access to sensitive files. Nearly everyone at Listo Systems will be doing things very differently once the black boxes are in place.

Cami Machado has worked with Listo Systems for eight years. She is involved in a variety of projects related to "traffic" - the receipt and delivery of clients' jobs. Her work also involves the training and support of the technical staff at Listo Systems. Cami has expressed interest in spearheading the implementation of the new "black box" data security system. Because she has effectively managed traffic flow at Listo for years, she is excited about the opportunity to move into this critical and visible new position. Her responsibilities would be similar to those that she has had in the past, but the implementation of this new system will dramatically affect nearly every aspect of Listo's service. The technology is different from what she has used in the past, and the project's scope is much larger.

Cami has an excellent track record of implementing new hardware and software. She is looking forward to leading this project and the new business opportunities it will help create. However, with this radical change in traffic flow, Cami will have to deal with challenges arising from "people issues." Many technical staff members think that this change is unnecessary. Staff artists worry that it will hinder the creative process. Cami feels confident that she knows how to handle the scheduling and transition aspects of the new security system, but is worried about dealing with employees resisting the change. She is also concerned about losing key creative staff to other agencies where they won't have to put up with all this "black box technology."

As we look at effective influence, we find that people have different needs depending on the "task at hand" - leadership should be task-specific. Additionally, effective leadership depends on a number of other influence variables ranging anywhere from identifying desired outcomes to considering the needs of the follower.

For our look into the concept of power, we'll revisit Cami and a few previous exercises. As you may remember, Cami has worked with Listo Systems for eight years and has been charged with implementing a new "black box" security system. This process has involved significant changes in information flow, created people issues, and has called out the need for mass training throughout the organization. The way in which Cami uses her power can either help or hinder her attempts to resolve the people issues and get buy-in from the trainers.

1. Based on information from previous exercises, what types of power does Cami have which she can utilize given her current situation?

2. How can she use these power bases to help influence the trainers and Listo staff rather than hinder her efforts?

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Solution Preview

1. Based on information from previous exercises, what types of power does Cami have which she can utilize given her current situation?

Cami has expert, reward, and legitimate power. The reason why she has these types of power is because she has much experience in handling difficult matters, such as dealing with technology to protect the company. With her particular situation, she is best to use her expert power because many will see that she knows what she is doing, and ...

Solution Summary

This solution dealt with the power, and the types used within this scenario as well as how it was used to influence others.