Leadership is defined as the coalition of different traits and abilities in an individual, that allows them to influence the decision of a large group, or help motivate the members of the group. This report aims to study the roles and responsibilities of a leader in an organizational setting (Ferris et al. 2019). Different organizational leaders across the globe are known to follow different styles of leadership. Research studies conducted on these topics have revealed that though, there are many different styles of leadership, that are followed by different leaders. However, no one style can be deemed as wrong. It was seen that based on the condition of a business organization, as well as the influence of different external and internal factors on the same, the style of leadership chosen by a leader should be adjusted or chosen. The concepts of power, politics and conflict are all deeply inter- connected to that of leadership (Zaleznik 1970). In order to become an able leader, an individual needs to have proper understanding of power, politics and conflict in an organizational setting. The main reason behind this is that, the employees or even the stakeholders of a particular business organization often engage in politics as well as verbal or passive conflict with other employees, in order to get more power within the organization itself (Hochwarter et al. 2020). Thus, it can be seen that the concepts of organizational leadership, power, politics and conflict are very closely connected with each other, and have been thoroughly analysed and linked with each other in this paper. The different theoretical frameworks, concepts and theories that are related to the topic has also been studied, and the issue at hand is reviewed.
Therefore, the main aim of this review piece is to study the concepts of organizational leadership, power, conflict and politics, as well as link the same to different theories and concepts associated with the same. In some cases, the example of Amazon Inc has been used as reference for comparing theoretical concepts to that of a real business organization. The main theoretical models that are outlined in this paper are the transformational theory, legitimate power, the organizational politics theory as well as the Organizational Conflict Theory (Ferris et al. 2018). It should be mentioned here that, the not only the theoretical concepts and theories, this review paper also draws from practical examples of some well- known business organizations. This will play an integral role in understanding the differences in theory and practice in an organizational setting.
Academic Analysis: Power
Power in itself is the ability of an individual to influence the decision of other individuals, and drive them in a particular direction. In an organizational setting, power is defined as the ability of a particular individual to have strong opinions, and manage the stakeholders, as well as the employees working for the organization itself. In business organizations, the power that an individual possesses may be divided into a few distinct categories (Dappa, Bhatti and Aljarah 2019). The important categories in relevance to the topic of review, are legitimate, illegitimate and coercive power. Legitimate power is the power that higher authorities possess in an organizational setting. For example, Jeffrey Bezos, the CEO of Amazon Inc has power over all its employees, and stakeholders. On the other hand, illegitimate power is defined as the power that an employee or a stakeholder possess on the basis of their personality or other traits, but not by their position in the company itself. However unconventional, these two methods are very popular in any organizational setting (Chan 2018). But, the coercive style of leadership talks about the power that an individual possesses, by the utilization of different manipulative techniques to bring more and more people to their side. It was also found that coercive powerholders, often use threatening or punishing things to get a particular work completed.
Popular sociologist, Max Weber proposed a definition for organizational power, and the true implications of the same. This theory claims that, a position of power in an organizational setting denotes the different individuals who are in a position of power within the hierarchy of the business organization, and are ultimately able to make their own decisions, choices and act accordingly, without support from any other stakeholders involved in the business organization. For example, the leader of an organization might lay- off some employees due to necessary cuts in the budget of the organization (Mukhtar, Risnita and Prasetyo 2020). The leader applies this strategy to ensure the sustainability of a business has a whole. However, the employees are against this step that the leader has taken. However, they are not in a position to question the leadership of the organization, due the position of power that they possess.
Organizational politics is not an uncommon term, and it is important when trying to ensure that they are recognised and rewarded by their superiors. The main reason why this politics plays an important role is because it helps determine which individual will receive the higher compensations and rewards. In order to get to this position, some employees often resort to making alliances, or work with each other for their own benefits. It should be mentioned here that power is the main driving force behind the development of any conflict (Paresashvili et al. 2020). When many employees work together in a group, there develops a power dynamic within the team itself, and a leader often emerges. However, having one powerful individual within the group often leads to the development of politics, where some employees are favoured, whereas others are not. However, organizational politics is not always negative. If done ethically, it is useful in growing and developing as the employees of a business organization.
The Dimensions of organizational politics is a theoretical framework that helps in determining the different reasons as to why there is a power inequality often arises within organizational settings. The factors that are responsible are the compensation structure that the business follows, the existence of a more experienced, and more powerful group of employees, as well as, the divisions and politics in between the different departments in the workplace (Blank 2019).
Organizational politics is a very important role that helps significantly in the growth and success of an individual working with a business organization, if used in the proper manner. Utilizing skills like making strong professional relationships, excelling in different job roles and duties, and taking a leadership role in difficult situation, often allows the higher authorities to see the skills in an individual, and give him the benefits that the company offers for the same (Bratton 2020).
Organizational conflict may be defined as the difference in opinion between two or more individuals working there. This type of conflict is often observed among the different departments within the organization as well. The main reason behind the development of these types of situations is the differences of interest, or conflict of interest between the two parties. Conflicts are also often born due to many reasons like parity in compensation, differences of opinions, as well as unfair distribution of power (Nadjafova et al. 2021).
The organizational conflict theory helps understand this particular topic in further detail. This theory claims that the development of conflict between two individuals or two groups often arise, and cannot be managed. This is because the development of internal conflict like this within the workplace is influenced by a number of different factors (Callahan et al. 2021). This theory explains how conflict is inevitable in an organizational setting, and the number of such conflicts are invariable. However, the most common type of conflict that arises in business workplaces, are of interpersonal conflicts. Interpersonal conflicts are problems that arise between the different teams that are working there. For example, employees are sometimes underpaid, and as a result, interpersonal conflicts often arise between the employees and the human resources sector within the management (Alapo 2018). The three main types of conflict that arise in a workplace are task conflict, value conflict and relationship conflict. When two or more individuals are given the responsibility to complete a task together, the two chosen individuals might have a different perspective on the task at hand, then a task conflict arises. When working with a particular group of employees for a long period of time often leads to the development of the extremely strong professional relationships. However, as employees of the organization they might have different opinions in different business, which often puts strain on their personal relationship. This leads to the development of a relationship conflict. Last, but not the least is the value conflict (Turba, Breimo and Lo 2019). Every individual working in a particular organization come from different backgrounds, religion and culture. As a result of this, the values and ethics of each of these people are unique to each. When they are faced with a problem, many employees react in different ways. Some of these methods are often not in conjunction with the values and morals of the other employees. This is the main reason behind the development of the value conflict.
Linking Theory And Practice:
The organization that has been chosen as a model for this analysis is Amazon Inc. It is essentially one of the top 5 multi- national organizations operating across the globe, and operates in the filed of e- commerce as well as streaming services, among many others.
The founder and CEO of Amazon Inc is Jeffrey Bezos, who is in a position of legitimate power and operates as the leader of the organization as a whole. However, in spite of superior leadership techniques of Bezos, and the employee priority policies, organizational politics, uneven power distribution and internal conflicts can be observed within this organization as well. Amazon Inc is a multi- national company, and it is not possible for the CEO to supervise the actions of all their employees. This leads to a problem because, this forms one of the main reasons for giving illegitimate power to many experienced employees within the company. Amazons business model outlines a hierarchical business structure, and therefore, multiple teams within the organization operates semi- independently with their own supervisors. Thus, partial utilization of power is often the main reason behind the development of a passive conflict among different departments, or two employees from the same department (Cherynyak- Hai and Weismel-Manor 2019). Regular conflicts within the workplace impact the workplace environment in a negative manner, which often leads to the development of more serious conflicts. The productivity of the different employees associated with this issue, are also substantially reduced. On the other hand, organizational politics is a concept that may be interpreted both in a bad light, as well as a good light (Knowledge@Wharton 2022). This time of politics might include the use of different strategies to improve the performance, and prove to the management that they are ready to grow, and take on more responsibility. But it might also talk about collaborating with people in a position of power, and working together in each others best interest. Like in any other workplace, conflicts arise within Amazon Inc as well. However, the same is managed in a very effective manner, without impact the sustainability of the condition in negatively. Proper employee management and satisfaction policies devised by the organization ensures a lesser amount of inter- personal conflicts in the workplace (Huo et al. 2019). Jeffrey Bezos has proven himself to be an extremely efficient leader for this multi- national organization, as he is able to analyse a particular situation, and make the necessary decisions. Bezos uses the transformational leadership style, that indicates that the leader may change their leadership style based on the situation that the business organization is in (Grifith, Baur and Buckley 2019).
In conclusion, this paper critically reviews the concepts of power, conflict and politics in an organizational setting. The different aspects of organizational leadership have also been briefly outlined in this piece. Many different theoretical frameworks and concepts were used for understanding the role of power, conflict and politics in becoming the leader of the business organization. The study conducted with these topics in focus reveals that, in order to grow as a professional individual and ultimately rise to a position of legitimate power within any company, an individual needs to be efficient, and should be able to adapt to changes very fast. It is also revealed that the concepts of power, conflict and politics are very closely associated with the concept of leadership himself.
As a student of sociology, I have always wanted to own my own non- profit organization, directed to help any and all individuals who seek help. However, playing a leadership role within such an organization is not an easy job, and requires a lot of time and skill. Upon having thoroughly studied the concept of organizational leadership in a thorough manner, I have come to the conclusion that in order to become the leader of any organization, I have to possess a number of important traits or qualities. The first and the most important among these is efficient time and task management. The leader of any and all organizations have many responsibilities, and therefore managing their time and tasks improperly, often leads to development of certain problems within the company (Hughes 2018). Another important responsibility of a leader is proper delegation of tasks among the employees working under them. However, the most important skills that I need to improve on are that of even power distribution in an organizational setting, as well as that of conflict management and resolution. I believe that in order to become an effective organizational leader, I also need to ensure that I am able to switch between different styles of leadership, depending on the situation in front of me. A number of articles and videos on organizational leadership have played a very important role in me understanding how to apply this theoretical knowledge in a practical situation (Becker 2019).
As a part of my endeavour to improve my leadership skills and techniques, I took a strategic approach to the project at hand. The first tool that I used was that of methodical research. I identified articles and journals that are relevant to the topic at hand, and thoroughly studied them to understand the different styles of leadership. The concepts of power, politics and conflict was also studied by me. I realised the close association between the different topics outlined above. I also created a presentation that would be engaging, and will also play a major role in helping me understand the true meaning of becoming an organizational leader, as that is my ultimate professional goal. The self- admitted questionnaire that I completed within the presentation helped me understand the different traits and qualities that I possess, and how the same will help determine the type of leadership that I adopt in the future (Vimla et al. 2018).
During this activity, I understood a lot of different things that are closely connected to the concept of leadership, and studied the same. This helped boost my confidence, and assured me that with proper hard work, I can achieve my goal of becoming the leader of a non- profit organization. The activity also provided me with the opportunity of evaluating myself and learning the correct and ethical use of power in an organizational setting. I believe that all employees should be allowed to work independently (Alvesson and Einola 2019). A leader should only utilize their power in serious situations that impact the sustainability of the business negatively.
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