The majority of organizations are not democracies. There is usually a hierarchical structure with different levels of management and subordinates. This is also known as those with power and those without. While some similarities and some differences are present between power and politics, they tend to operate within one another so often that they become part of the same force. Because politics and power operate within one another the importance to understand how they compare and contrast in order to comprehend fully how they work together cannot be stressed enough.
Power and politics in organizations go hand in hand. In organizations, politics are inevitable. In comparing power and politics it first helps to understand their definitions. According to Schermerhorn, power is defined as the ability to get someone to do something one person wants done or the ability to make things happen in the way a person wants them to do. Three types of power used within an organization by management are rewards power, legitimate power and coercive power. Legitimate power occurs when a manager has the right to control a subordinate’s behavior; legitimate power is only considered to exist because the person occupies the managerial position. Coercive power occurs when a manager can administer punishments or deny rewards that would be desired by subordinates in order to control him or her. Rewards power occurs when managers use things such as money, promotions or compliments to control others.
Power has the potential to influence others. In order for power to exist, it requires one person to feel dependence upon another. If a person exerts his or her power in a negative way the result will be resistance from others
Politics involves behaviors or actions where the use and development of power in an organizational setting is present. “Politics are those activities taken within organizations to acquire, develop, and use power and other resources to obtain one's preferred outcome in...