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    Power and Politics: Betty Duke vs. Walmart

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    Search the internet for an example of the power or politics in an organization.

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    There is a limerick that has applied to human interaction for centuries, beginning with the epic conflict between Spartacus and Athens: "Do not speak truth to power." It is the basis for all politicking and power plays, which exist today. Is it because power corrupts, because it corrupts absolutely? Is it because of an innate human condition - that we are willing at every step, to take benefit at the expense of another? Is it because those who are dependent on those who have power must 'politick' their way either into or around power? Are those with power better off? Are they happier? Can a person live their life or do their job, completely ignoring the dynamics of either power or politics? If they can, then both power and politics are meaningless. If they cannot, then a way must be found to see with our eyes, what is in front of our eyes (that both power and politics have real effects in the human experience), and find ways to work within the limits of our human experience.
    Although textbooks often separate power and politics into two different categories of phenomenon, I personally find the dichotomy to be a false one. Outside of the textbook, in the confines of a real power struggle either between individuals or within corporations or organizations, power and politics are often inseparable, at least below the level of CEO. Within organizations, political action is moot, unless the action is supported by a certain amount of power, or 'political capital'. On the other hand, power may still be relevant even if it is not exercised (which is why CEOs are so loathe to get involved in the operational detail of their companies), and the exercise of power is almost indistinguishable from a successful political action. Along these same lines, an unsuccessful political action results in a loss of 'political capital', which is indistinguishable from a loss of power. Taken together, power/politics can be considered a single phenomenon, from which most (if not all) human activity springs.

    Consider these examples:
    "I have food/water. You do not have food/water."
    - Implied power/political advantage goes to the individual with food, since food is basic to survival. Sharing food/water or ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution discusses power and politics in organizations, using the Duke vs. Walmart case as an example.