Organizations are political structures that provide opportunities to individuals as a platform for expression of individual interests and motives. Accumulation of power is here, a vehicle for transforming individual interests into activities to influence other people.
The very fact that any workplace, however flat its structure may be, ends up having some kind of a pyramid like structure points towards an existence of hierarchy, inequality, a sense of difference (or discrimination) and a scarcity of positions as one moves higher up the organisational ladder.
This may lead to a feeling of standing out in a like-crowd to be positive, or even standing different from the acceptable standards in the negative effect.
The peculiar fact about this structure is that each superior is backed by the power that he draws not by virtue of his position but the fact that his very own subordinates treat that position as sacrosanct. In the absence of this, his kingdom collapses.
While the appointment to the position of authority comes from above, the affirmation of the same comes from below.
The fact that too many people wye for the same positions means that there ought to be some who have to sacrifice the position/power and settle down for less with unfulfilled ambitions. This may make them outliers who are ready to shift loyalties to another organisation at the right opportunity.
An individual or executive at a given point in time, shall have power with regards to:
- His Position
- Authority vested in his expertise
- Attractiveness of his Personality to Others
Interestingly, power is a form of Capital that is invested at a risk by the individual when he uses it to take decisions. There takes place an internalization of the power capital an individual possesses and that leads to a higher self esteem. The risk stems from the fact that there exist two dimensions for success. One, there has to be performance and two, such performance must yield results. In case either does not happen, the earlier power base erodes and the erstwhile forces that resisted his rise in the first place gather mass. This cycle culminates with a dip in the self esteem as well.
Lobbying as a result of Power Struggle
Collusion or coming together for defense against the rival organisational forces does not imply members coming together for constructive purposes. They represent on the other hand, predominance of unconscious conflict and defensive behaviour. This over the course of time, has the potential of transforming itself into a major restraining force against any change initiative as every step by one ‘lobby’ is viewed as a plot by the other. The diagram shows the concept of a power figure who in turn becomes the epitome of the underlying theme for the change, more often than not to play the blame game in the case of a failed initiative.
Whichever way the power finally tilts is in the position to garner support under itself. More followers or members of his lobby may come from the opposite camp or from outside & similar outflow may occur for the other party.