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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Power And Politics - 1100 words
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.. int a glowing portrait of Enron and ignored or avoided the true picture (Iwata, 2004). Lay continues to deny responsibility for the billions of dollars in losses for investors and former employees.POLITICS As Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn so aptly state, "any study of power and influence inevitably leads to the subject of 'politics'" (p 18). When experts speak of the subject of politics, they frequently divide it into two main areas: Machiavellian politics and creative compromise. These two very different subcategories of politics each have its own definitions and are "reflected in the ways executives describe their effects on managers and their organizations (Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn 2003 p 19).
The first subgroup of organizational politics, Machiavellian politics, is the form of politics that, for many, casts a shadow over politics as a whole. It "conjures up thoughts of illicit deals, favors, and special personal relationships. Perhaps this image of shrewd, often dishonest, practices of obtaining one's way is reinforced by Machiavelli's classic fifteenth-century work The Prince" (Schermerhorn et al. 2003 p. 18)
The text defines this form of politics as "the management of influence to obtain ends not sanctioned by the organization or to obtain sanctioned ends through nonsanctioned influence means." Due to the nature of this category of politics, it is frequently difficult to tell when one is being political; how does one discern whether a person has his or her own self-interests or those of the corporation in mind? Looking on the brighter side, the second definition of politics "treats politics as a necessary function resulting from differences in the self-interests of individuals. Here, organizational politics is viewed as the art of creative compromise among competing interests." Individuals and organizations alike have their needs served as there is need to "develop compromises" and "avoid confrontation" as "their self-interests are served". In contrast to the first category of politics, this type of politics is "the use of power to develop socially acceptable ends and means that balance individual and collective interests" (Schermerhorn et al. 2003 p. 19).Spalding As far as sporting goods companies go, Spalding is one of the most respected. Spalding makes just about any kind of sporting good one can think of; from tennis rackets to billiard balls and cue sticks.
But their claim to fame has to be basketballs. They make and sell more basketballs than any other company. So when Dan Touhey took over the reigns of Spalding's basketball division in 1997, the company was "doubtful about the prospects of creating a truly breakthrough product. Spalding was a respected brand name, but buyer indifference had been driving basketballs toward the dreaded status of a commodity" (Dann 2005 p. 36).
Touhey, who had previously been the project manager for Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine, pitched his new idea of an air pump built right into the basketball, the management did not get excited. "Creating a tiny mechanical device appeared to be well beyond the capabilities and resources of Spalding's R&D staff, who had been focused on more routine adaptations such as changing the ball's texture with different 'pebbling' patterns" (Dann 2005 p. 37). But Touhey got around the apprehension of the middle management by going right to the vice president of marketing. Together, they convinced the engineers to come up with a prototype which was a big hit with the executives. All this political maneuvering ended up benefiting the whole company as Spalding's share of the basketball market when from 32% just before the introduction of this new "Infusion" basketball to a whopping 64% just one year later.Rick's Auto Outlet Besides Enron and Arthur Anderson, the next best business to pick on when it comes to the abuse of politics is a used car dealer. Ricky Funderburg, the owner of a used car lot in Monticello, Arkansas, has recently been brought up on a multitude of charges including 97 counts of theft of property, 25 counts of defrauding a secured creditor, and one count of operating a criminal enterprise in connection with the operation of his auto business.
Apparently, Funderburg had ties to several employees of the Union Bank and Trust from whom he had business accounts with. He used his influence with them to continue to borrow money in the form of overdraft protection even when he was overdrawn over 2.4 million. The whistle was finally blown by a bank trustee after a review of the account. Williams, the trustee states, "At first, the overdraft amounts were in the $40,000-$50,000 range and only occurred two or three times a month. As time progressed, the dollar amount and frequency of the overdrafts increased remarkably" (Friedman 2005 p. 1).
Rick's Auto Outlet was finally pushed into involuntary bankruptcy on April 5, 2004 as five former customers sued for the $111,000 Funderburg owed them because he had sold their trade-in vehicles but did not pay off the existing liens.TYING IT ALL TOGETHERIn the example of Microsoft, we see how Bill Gates used his expert power in a positive way to influence politics. Without admitting to any degree of guilt, Microsoft agreed to stop its "coercive practices" and provide public schools with computers and software. This move was quite ingenious when one thinks about it. Microsoft agrees to donate computers so that our youth learn, grow and develop on Microsoft's products. While the company is giving to those in need, it is also setting the stage for consumer loyalty well into the future. Ricky Funderburg with Rick's Auto Outlet was not quite as intelligent in his use of power and politics. Mr.
Funderburg was indicted on several felonies and will most likely be in debt to the last of his days. Rick's Auto Outlet is a perfect example of how one person's use of power and politics ultimately leads to destruction of an organization. Power and politics can be used to influence the success or failure of an organization. An effective organization selects strong leadership and takes precautious steps to control power and political issues. An organization that fully understands these issues creates a culture centered on values, ethics and innovation.
By analyzing power and politics we are able to understand how they influence individual behavior in organizations. We can also better understand how they are used with good intentions and how to avoid them in destructive situations. ReferencesKantar, R. (1979). Power failure in management circuits. Harvard Business Review, July-August, p.65.Iwata, E.
(2004, July 9). Enron's Ken Lay: cuffed but confident. USA Today.University of Phoenix. (Ed). (2003). Organizational Behavior, [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. John Wiley Publisher. Retrieved April 9, 2005 from University of Phoenix, Resource, MGT/331-Organizational Behavior Website: https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resour ce.asphttp://money.cnn.com/2002/05/07/news/compani es/enron board/index.htmhttp://www.gatesfoundation.org.
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