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Understanding the role of influence and power

The essay provides an insight into examining the tactics of influence as the function of the private and the organizational features. A key aspect of managerial work lies in exercising influence. Influence and power are considered the key aspects of organizational life, which becomes evident in the interpersonal interaction between the managers and the subordinates. Despite this, minimum information being obtainable on how the managers seem to affect the subordinates and the supervisors. The key objective of the essay lies in investigating the basic dynamics of the influence strategies within organizations. Specifically, the essay will examine the changing aspects of the downward influence process within organizations by studying 250 male executives from four organizations. The results seem to provide stronger support to a hypothesis that considers usage of the power strategies differs in the functions of the power base, goals associated with the effort to encourage, and the personal characteristics for influencing the agent. Researchers undertake quantitative measures through statistical analysis to discover that perceived organizational climate does not seem to impact tactics of influence. However, the implications for those across the managerial roles seem to be discussed, and the future directions of the research are thus suggested.

The terminologies ‘power’ and ‘influence’ are often interchangeably used for describing organizational function but they are different. Influence refers to the real display of the intrinsic ability of an individual, while the power refers to the integral capacity in influencing the others. Bases act as sources that provide an individual with the ability to influence and bring about a change in others’ behavior. It is, in fact, the tactics that represent the adopted ways of influencing others.

A study conducted by Liu, Huang and Fan (2018) indicated that various influence tactics put across by the scholars could not be segregated into the groups that seem to already exist. Indeed, various influence tactics, like expertise, subjects were unable to mention in that particular study (Misyak et al. 2014). Hence, an explanation put forward by French and Raven’s arrangement of bases of power does not seem to describe the varied strategies used by the managers for influencing their subordinates at their work. In recent times, certain studies were conducted for examinining the relationship between the power base and the power strategies. Both Gumperz and Ch (2017) and Griffin, Phillips and Gully (2016) discovered that strategy choices vary as a function of the power base. It was discovered through Gumperz and Ch’s (2017) study that leaving aside the referent and the expert power, all the power bases held a relation for usage with the different strategies of power. Therefore, the primary question to be addressed in the study revolves around whether the base of power determine the usage of specific means of the influence. It is generally anticipated that use and the choice of the specific tactics of influence varies as the function related to power base. Another question however remains related to the influence of individual characteristics of influencing agent on usage of the influence tactics. Certain prior studies indicated that the adopted tactics of influence depends on the individual characteristics of an agent.  Fehr and Samsom (2013) discovered that conformists had been increasingly perspective in comparison to the non-conformist for using the rational tactics for example expertise, reasons, persistence and simple statement. Gumperz and Ch (2017) discovered different sides related to the needs of power as the determining factor in using certain influence tactics such as reliance, compromise, and manipulation. Again, in a study conducted by the Guillén, Mayo and Karelaia (2018), leaders with a lower level of self-confidence were more likely to depend on the interpersonal influence methods than leaders with a higher level of self-confidence. In light of the above studies, it could be hypothesized that the personalized variables might account for certain variance in using the strategies of influence. For instance, individuals having a higher need for achievement and the power are quite inclined towards using methods such as reasoning, assertion, and persuasion quite often in comparison to those with lower personality needs. It is, therefore, necessary to raise a question revolving around how the supposed climate of an organization impacts the usage of the different methods of influence. Sarkar (2012) and Allen, Porter and Angle (2016) put across a report mentioning the usage of the upward strategy of influence as the function of the organizational climate around which individuals happen to be part. According to the studies, it can be anticipated that executives would frequently make use of the tactics and the persuasion and the reasoning within the suitable climate, while the ones working within the unfavorable climate seem to depend on the tactics such as coalition and blocking. Recent studies identify that the managers differentiate their strategies concerning the objectives in exercising influence. Therefore, within the study investigating the upward attempts of influence, Williams et al. (2016) discovered that the subjects made use of the rational persuasion, upward appeal, and the blocking while following the ingratiation tactics and organizational goals to meet personal ends. Therefore, it has been expected that for chasing the personal goals, ingratiation tactics are applied often, while for attaining the organizational goals, rational tactics seem to be applied quite often.

Power bases act as sources to bring change

According to Lee et al. (2017), despite the considerable research that seems to be examining the role of the influence tactics on the work associated outcomes across the organizations, agreement on the effectiveness of the influence tactics seems to be elusive. Thye discovered that there seems to be an absence of integration concerning relationships between the tactics of proactive influence and the outcomes. These researchers investigated the efficiency of around 11 influence tactics from the comprehensive perspectives using techniques of meta-analytics. Particularly, this study focuses on the relationship among the eleven tactics of influence which is the exchange, rational persuasion, inspirational appeal, apprising, legitimating, ingratiation, collaboration, consultation, coalition, and personal appeal, and the task and the relation-oriented outcomes. In addition to this, the researchers also investigate the moderating impact of the direction of the tactics of influence, measurement of the influence tactics, and the tactic associated with singular influence against the use of combined tactics of influence, which are independent of the sources of data and the involved study setting.  Irrespective of the task and the relation-based outcomes dependent on the 49 separate samples, the results portrayed that positive relationship between the outcome and the rational persuasion, apprising, inspirational appeal, ingratiation, collaboration, and consultation, along with negative relation between the pressure and the outcomes. The research also provides evidence as to how the rational persuasion tactic of influence serves as the sole tactic that holds a positive relationship with both the categories of the outcomes irrespective of the moderating factors.

Influence is thus considered essential for getting in one’s way ( Lian and Tui 2012.). The success of the attempt of influencing the behavior and the attitudes of the others relies to a greater extent on the particular kind of behavior that is being used for exerting influence.

The current findings do not support the hypothesis that the use of the influence strategies seems to vary with the organization's climate. It might be reasoned that the climate alone is not considered sufficient for triggering the usage of the influence tactics incorporated within the present study. For instance, the challenge and the exchange strategy might be utilized by the executives for influencing the subordinates solely when they are in a position to offer certain things in exchange for the work that is being done or the favor that is being bestowed. Reina et al. (2018) undertook an experimental study and discovered that climate has no influence or little influence on the usage of the influence strategies.  It could be claimed that the organization's climate might be a probable predictor of the upward tactics of influence instead of the downward tactics, as found in the past studies. Thus, there is more research required in this particular direction.

The study, however, has certain obvious inferences for individual managers and organizations. The decision to employ a specific strategy has key implications for the failure or the success of both the subsequent and the initial attempts at the influence. It shall further influence the satisfaction of the subordinate and productivity. Managers will be able to learn varied techniques based on the nature and the situation of the target person. They must utilize a tactic suitable to the time, which is less costly and shall employ the available resources. However, managers must influence tactics only in situations where they seem to have a certain degree of control.

Conclusions

On a concluding note, it can be said that considering the whole, the present finding put across additional support to the aspect that both the personal and the organizational factors seem to contribute to the influence attempts. Personal orientation and the bases of power seem to be salient and closely related to influencing the strategies. On a similar note, the goals associated with exercising influence appear to influence the strategic choices used. However, there lies the need for validating the current findings through the employment of experimental methodologies. Thus, it might be concluded that the more the varied reasons for influencing subordinates that the manager has, the greater lies the likelihood of using these tactics like showing expertise. Studies should be able to investigate a causal link between the dependent and the independent variable, which is quite tough to establish in a correlational study. A different area for future research would be a relationship between the leadership style and influence tactics used by executives.

References

Liu, Y., Huang, Y. and Fan, H., 2018. Influence tactics, relational conditions, and key account managers' performance. Industrial Marketing Management, 73, pp.220-231.

Misyak, J.B., Melkonyan, T., Zeitoun, H. and Chater, N., 2014. Unwritten rules: virtual bargaining underpins social interaction, culture, and society. Trends in cognitive sciences, 18(10), pp.512-519.

Gumperz, J.J. and Ch, E.H., 2017. Cognitive aspects of bilingual communication. In Language Use And Social Change Problems of Multilingualism with Special Reference to Eastern Africa (pp. 111-125). Routledge.

Griffin, R.W., Phillips, J.M. and Gully, S.M., 2016. Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations. Cengage Learning.

Fehr, B. and Samsom, D., 2013. The Construct of Machiavellianism: Tvventy Years Later. Advances in personality assessment, 9, p.77.

Guillén, L., Mayo, M. and Karelaia, N., 2018. Appearing self?confident and getting credit for it: Why it may be easier for men than women to gain influence at work. Human Resource Management, 57(4), pp.839-854.

Sarkar, J., 2012. Theorising Upward Influence Strategies (UIS) in Indian Context. The International Journal's Research Journal of Social Sciences and Management, 2(4), pp.63-72.

Allen, R.W., Porter, L.W. and Angle, H.L., 2016. Organizational influence processes. Routledge.

Williams, E.A., Scandura, T.A., Pissaris, S. and Woods, J.M., 2016. Justice perceptions, leader-member exchange, and upward influence tactics. Leadership & Organization Development Journal.

Lee, S., Han, S., Cheong, M., Kim, S.L. and Yun, S., 2017. How do I get my way? A meta-analytic review of research on influence tactics. The Leadership Quarterly, 28(1). Pages 212-5

Lian, L.K. and Tui, L.G., 2012. Leadership styles and organizational citizenship behavior: The mediating effect of subordinates’ competence and downward influence tactics. Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 13(2), pp.59-96.

Reina, C.S., Rogers, K.M., Peterson, S.J., Byron, K. and Hom, P.W., 2018. Quitting the boss? The role of the manager influence tactics and employee emotional engagement in voluntary turnover. Journal of leadership & organizational studies, 25(1), pp.5-18.

Bibliography:

Sternard, D., 2020. Effective management.  Pages 97-105

Hayes, J., 2018, The theory and practice of change management. Pages. 1-21

Carnegie, D., 1937. How to win friends and influence people. Pages 64, 110, 177, 211

Guirdham, M., 2015 Work communication. Pages. 1-12

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