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Politics power

I will be demonstrating how the theory of Power, Politics and conflict is reflected in a case study about Carlos Ghosn who created and led Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. He was recently arrested for allegedly underreporting his pay as chairman of Nissan and using company assets for personal purposes. As Machiavelli said, “men judge by the eye not by the hand” meaning everyone sees what you appear to be but few really know what you are. I will be looking at theorists such as Machiavelli who is considered one of the seminal figures in modern political science who is regarded as a manual for powerful rules. His most known text “The Prince” was so influential that the word “Machiavellian” became an adjective synonymous with immoral, brutal politicians. A lot of Machiavelli insight was informed by the actions of the powerful families of his day. The lesson of his book is rooted in realism and can be useful to any leader. The second theorist I will be talking about is French and Raven. In 1959, they described five bases of power; Legitimate power, Reward power, Coercive power, Referent power, Expert power, then adding Informational power six years later. With these powers, people who understand them can use them to full effect and avoid the negative power which managers instinctively rely on. Power The concept of power is related to leadership because it is part of the influence process. Power is the capacity or potential to influence. People have power when they have the ability to affect other’s beliefs, attitudes, and course of action. Power is a concept that people often associate with leadership. With power, comes a lot of authority. Looking at the case study about Ghosn, it indicates that his future is in doubt, and a key lesson to corporations is the risk of concentrating too much power in a single executive. In chapter 15 Machiavelli talks about the qualities that leaders should appear to possess. This is a demonstration about greed and what qualities a leader can control. Machiavelli goes on to say that because princes live in a public eye that is “more exposed to view” they are “judged for the various qualities which earn them either praise or condemnation” he then goes on to say that a prince cannot possess or exercise only those attributes that are deemed morally good. Therefore, a ruler must avoid “the evil reputation” and Machiavelli argues the typical relationship between virtues and vices is often reversed. For example, people who think they are morally better than other people, there actions lead to ruin and immoral actions result in security and stability. The main question to be answered is did Ghosn have too much power within the three companies? According to a Nissan director’s comment at a news conference where “he was critical of how much power is centralized in one person” Machiavelli states that some traits that appear to be vice “will bring him security and prosperity”. Perhaps this is what Ghosn was doing when being critical about how much power one should have. Arguably, he was trying to protect the amount of power he had which increased his job security. Ghosn who is 64 is also approaching retirement and he had plans to exit all roles in 2020, could this have been a reason for him not to report his pay? By the sounds of it, a quality he may not have been able to control is greed, reports explaining he used company’s money to buy four luxury houses overseas. As Machiavelli stated when you live in the public eye you are more exposed and you are judged for the various qualities which earn them either praise or condemnation”. In the case study, it describes Ghosn as an autocratic leader, this is when the leader obtains as much power and decision making as possible, the leader also does not consult or ask for any input. Employees are expected to obey orders when given and the motivation environment is produced by creating structured rewards and punishment. In Chapter 17, Machiavelli maintained the idea that the “dread of punishment” was important for a smart prince to institute. As Ghosn had power he was provided with the ability to give punishment and rewards. Machiavelli also called for strong examples to be made of offenders as lessons to others. As it says in the case study “he was not particularly liked, although he had to be respected”. Many people who worked for Ghosn may not have liked him, however what he achieved for the three companies gained him respect. As Machiavelli says, fear is simpler to maintain for a ruler rather than love, which can be fickle. The key is to avoid being hated. Since this can be damaging to your reputation as employees can turn against you. Looking at ravens five sources of power, reward power stems from the ability of the agent to offer a positive incentive, if the target complies. For example, a raise in pay, a promotion special work privileges. This applies to Ghosn leadership style because this encourages his employees to stay motivated when he sets his task and also keep his employees from asking questions. Raven also talks about coercive power this is when the manager brings about change by threatening his target with negative or undesirable consequences. For example, demotion, termination and undesirable work assignments. This also relates to what Machiavelli say’s about “a leader should be ready to show strength of a “lion” to gain respect. Therefore, Ghosn using coercive power gains respect and fear from his employees which can motivate them to do what is instructed. Politics Politics in an organisation are to acquire, develop and use power and other resources to obtain one’s preferred outcome in a situation where there is uncertainty or disagreement about choices. For example, in the case study political behaviour could have started due to the amount of power embedded within an individual. Ghosn was critical about the amount of power each person was given, the board of directors of all three companies were embedded with Ghosn for over 20 years. Which then removed monitoring capabilities as he created relationships with board members. According to Zaleznik a political pyramid exists when people compete for power in an economy of scarcity. Therefore, if you cannot get the power you want by asking, you to have to make a decision on how to distribute authority. There are two sets of conditions under scarcity of power the first is where individual gain power in absolute terms at someone else’s expense. Ghosn did this so majority of the power was in his hand so he could make more decisions without consulting others. The second is where there is a gain comparatively- not literally at someone else’s expense – resulting in a relative shift in the distribution of power. Zaleznik then goes on to say that the psychology of scarcity and comparison takes over. The human being tends to make comparisons as a basis for his sense of self- esteem. Ghosn did this so he could obtain as much power as possible which would give him a lot of authority without being questioned. They then may compare himself with other people and decide that his absolute loss or the shift in proportional shares of authority reflects an attrition in his power base. This relates to Ghosn as he may of thought with the amount of power he had with any of it lost would have reduced the amount authority he once had.

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