Power and Influence in Organizations


Edited by: Roderick M. Kramer & Margaret A. Neale

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  • Dedication

    To Maureen, Matthew, and Catherine from Rod, and Al, CJ and Maddie from Maggie


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    This edited volume is the end product of a conference, “Power and Influence in Organizations,” that was held at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in May 1996. The goal of the conference was to bring together leading scholars in organizations theory who were interested in exploring new perspectives on the role of power and influence in organizations.

    The idea for this book originated at a prior conference that focused on exploring the implications of conceptualizing negotiation as fundamentally, rather than only incidentally, a social process. A goal of this conference was to document some of the enormous contributions that negotiation theory and research had made to a wide variety of fundamental topics in organizational studies, including understanding of organizational decision making, resource allocation, social exchange, dispute resolution, and even the notion of the organization as a negotiated social order. We published the results of this conference in a previous Sage book (Kramer & Messick, 1995).

    One result of the rich discussions during the first conference was an appreciation of the simple fact that, no matter how important the topic of negotiation, there are other forms of social influence that are also widely used in organizational settings. Although negotiation is indisputedly a central and pervasive form of influence, it is only one among many such processes found in organizations. Moreover, it can be a highly scripted and ritualized form of organizational encounter, invoking its own unique tacit and explicit norms and expectations about appropriate or effective behaviors. Because negotiation theory and research had gained prominence in organizational science, we observed that other forms of social influence had received less serious scrutiny—regarding both theory development and empirical investigations.

    Accordingly, one of the primary goals of the second conference was to explore some of these other facets of the social influence process. In fact, the original, and intendedly provocative, theme of our conference was “Beyond Bargaining: Exploring Alternative Perspectives on the Influence Process.” In suggesting the need to move “beyond bargaining,” we hoped to stimulate renewed attention to some of the subtle psychological, social, and structural bases of power and influence in organizations.

    Another reason the conference was held was a conviction that the “basic research” literature on power and social influence—especially contributions from the basic social science disciplines, such as social psychology and sociology—was not receiving the kind of sustained attention it merited from organizational theorists. Although most leading business schools in the United States offer courses on power and influence in organizations, unlike negotiation, there were virtually no current, readily accessible compilations of original, scholarly writings reflecting emerging trends and new perspectives in theory and research. This conference was intended to address this problem.

    In attempting to explore new ideas about the role of power and influence in organizations, we used a three-pronged approach. First, we approached some of the major contemporary intellectual pioneers in research on power and influence, including Samuel Bachararch, Robert Cialdini, Edward Lawler, and Jeffrey Pfeffer, and asked them to think about what is new, either in terms of their own original research ideas or, more broadly, in terms of general trends they have observed, as well as where future research might be headed. We wanted to do more than round up the usual suspects, however. Thus, we also invited leading scholars in organizational behavior theory and research whose work touched on themes related to power and influence, even if they themselves or others might not necessarily categorize their work in this way. Thus, we invited scholars such as Philip Tetlock, Tom Tyler, and Robert Sutton to offer their thoughts about how their work on such diverse topics as accountability, trust in authorities, and impression management might connect with and inform thinking about the conference themes. Third, we sought young scholars working in this area who might offer fresh or unusual perspectives on this problem.

    To catalyze this diverse brew, we invited Mayer Zald to serve as discussant and occasional referee. He graciously consented to take on this role and provided his usual deft blend of scholarly acumen, historical perspective, and humorous insight. He helped us take our efforts more seriously while not allowing us to take ourselves too seriously.

    With all these elements in place, we launched into our collective endeavors with high expectations. We were not disappointed. The end result was a wonderfully engaging and intellectually lively conference in which social psychologists, sociologists, and organizational theorists challenged, cajoled, and critiqued each others' thinking and work.

    The result of these collective labors is this book, which we hope produces intellectual fodder and enjoyment. We also hope the chapters in this book provide a useful road map and stimulus for future research in this area.

    Kramer, R. M., & Messick, D. M. (Eds.). (1995). Negotiation as a social process. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • About the Contributors

    Susan J. Ashford is the Michael and Susan Jandernoa professor on the business school faculty at the University of Michigan. She received a MS and a PhD in organizational behavior from Northwestern University. Her research focuses on the ways that individuals are proactive in their organizational lives, whether it is in assessing their own performance by seeking feedback, enhancing their managerial effectiveness by staying “tuned in” to various constituents, facilitating their own socialization during organizational entry, or attempting to sell particular issues to top management from the middle ranks of organizations. Her work has been published in a variety of journals.

    Blake E. Ashforth is Professor of Management at Arizona State University-Tempe. He received a PhD from the University of Toronto. His research interests include the adjustment of newcomers to work, the dysfunctions of organizational structures and processes, and the links between individual-, group-, and organization-level phenomena. His recent work has focused on socialization, identity, and labeling processes. He is a consulting editor for the Academy of Management Review and is on the editorial boards of Administrative Science Quarterly and the Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences.

    Samuel B. Bacharach is Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations in the Department of Organizational Behavior, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations and also director of the Smithers Institute. He is also a Lady Davis Fellow in the faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.

    Robert J. Bies is Associate Professor of Management in the School of Business, Georgetown University. He received both a BA in business administration and MBA from the University of Washington. He received a PhD in business administration (organizational behavior) from Stanford University. His research interests include the delivery of bad news, revenge in the workplace, and organizational (in)justice. He is coeditor of The Legalistic Organization (1993) and Research on Negotiation in Organizations, a biannual series of analytical essays and critical reviews. He is a member of the Academy of Management and the American Psychological Association and is on the editorial boards of Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, and The International Journal of Conflict Management.

    Ronald S. Burt is a Hobart W. Williams Professor of Sociology and Strategy at the University of Chicago and codirector of the Chicago Management Council. His interests concern network theory applied to the social organization of competition. He received a PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago.

    Robert B. Cialdini received undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate education in psychology at the University of Wisconsin, University of North Carolina, and Columbia University, respectively. He has held Visiting Scholar appointments at Ohio State University, the universities of California at San Diego and at Santa Cruz, the Annenberg School of Communications, and at both the Psychology Department and the Graduate School of Business of Stanford University. He is currently Regents' Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, where he has also been named Distinguished Graduate Research Professor. His book, Influence, which was the result of a three-year program of study into the reasons that people comply with requests in natural settings, has appeared in numerous editions and seven languages.

    Benjamin A. Hanna is a doctoral candidate in organizational behavior at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. His interests include the effects of media scrutiny on organizations and the role of social identity and self-categorization in sensemaking and trust behavior. His dissertation will examine the relationship between leader communication and media scrutiny during organizational crisis.

    David Krackhardt is Professor of Organizations and Public Policy at the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University. He received a BS degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD from the University of California, Irvine. He has held positions as a Marvin Bower Fellow at Harvard Business School and a visiting professor of organizations at the University of Chicago. His research has focused on how the theoretical insights and methodological innovations of network analysis can enhance our understanding of how organizations function. He pioneered the concept of “cognitive social structure.” He developed a set of measures for studying the shape and structure of organizations as a whole. His published works have appeared in a variety of journals.

    Roderick M. Kramer is Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. He received a PhD in social psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. His current interests are trust and distrust in organizations, conflict and cooperation, and organizational decision making. His research has appeared in many journals. Recent publications include Negotiation as a Social Process (with David Messick; 1995), Trust in Organizations (with Tom Tyler; 1996), and The Psychology of the Social Self (with Tom Tyler and Oliver John).

    Edward J. Lawler is Professor of Organizational Behavior and of Sociology, and Dean of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell. He received his PhD in sociology from the University of Iowa for more than 20 years before moving to Cornell in 1994. He served a term as editor of the Social Psychology Quarterly and currently is series editor of Advances in Group Processes. His research interests include power, negotiation, social exchange, and organizational politics. His most recent work, published in the American Sociological Review over the last few years, is on the role of emotion and emotional processes in the development of commitment in exchange relations. He is co-author with Samuel B. Bacharach of two books—Power and Politics in Organizations (1980) and Bargaining: Power, Tactics and Outcomes (1981)—and as the article in this volume suggests, they are returning to this theme after a hiatus of several years.

    Fred A. Mael is Senior Research Scientist at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C., and an adjunct professor in the psychology and management departments at Loyola College. He received a PhD in industrial/organizational psychology from Wayne State University and a master's degree in counseling psychology. His areas of research expertise include individual commitment to and identification with work and nonwork organizations; personnel selection methods, especially biographical data; invasion of privacy in personnel selection; and career development and varieties of career trajectories. He is author of more than three dozen journal articles, book chapters, and conference presentations. His current research centers on the process of determining inability to work because of physical or psychological disability and a comparative analysis of various work and nonwork identities.

    Elizabeth A. Mannix is Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University. Her research and teaching activities include negotiation, teams, and power and politics in organizations. She is also interested in international negotiation and management and has taught at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. In addition, she is the recipient of two grants from the Center for International Business Education to study bargaining behavior in Japan and in the People's Republic of China. Her research has appeared in many journals. She is currently at work on the first in a series of volumes (coedited with Margaret Neale and Deborah Gruenfeld) titled Research on Managing in Groups and Teams.

    Joanne Martin is a Fred H. Merrill Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business and, by courtesy, in the Department of Sociology, Stanford University. She received a PhD in social psychology from the Department of Psychology and Social Relations, Harvard University. Her current research interests include the following: organizational culture, with particular emphasis on subcultural identities and ambiguities; and diversity in organizations, with a particular interest in subtle barriers to acceptance and advancement for women. Recent books include Reframing Organizational Culture (coedited and cowritten with Peter Frost, Larry Moore, Meryl Louis, and Craig Lundberg; 1991) and Cultures in Organizations (1992).

    David M. Messick is the Morris and Alice Kaplan Professor of Ethics and Decisions in Management in the Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University. He received a BA in psychology from the University of Delaware and a MA and PhD in psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is an experimental social psychologist who has published extensively on a variety of problems having to do with decision making in social environments. His current research and teaching involves the application of psychological theory and methods of ethical aspects of business decision making.

    Debra Meyerson is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University and a Fellow at Simmons Institute of Leadership and Change. She received a PhD in organizational behavior from Stanford University. Her research focuses on the processes and politics of change directed at gender and race equity, the identity processes related to these changes, feminist reconstructions of organizational theory and practice, and “tempered radicalism” in organizations. She is co-principle investigator of an action research project aimed at increasing gender equity in organizations and is writing a book on tempered radicalism.

    Margaret A. Neale is Academic Associate Dean and Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. She received her PhD in business administration from the University of Texas. Her research includes bargaining and negotiation, the allocation of burdens and benefits, behavioral decision theory, and group performance. She is author of more than 60 articles and coauthor of Organizational Behavior: A Management Challenge (2nd ed.) (with G. B. Northcraft; 1994), Cognition and Rationality in Negotiation (with M. H. Bazerman; 1997), Negotiating Rationally (with M. H. Bazerman; 1992), and Research on Managing in Groups and Teams (with E. Mannix; 1998).

    Rafal K. Ohme is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Psychology at the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland. Within the field of social psychology, Ohme focuses his attention on the areas of social influence and implicit social cognition. In addition, he teaches courses on social communication and advertising. In 1995 and 1996, Ohme visited the Kellogg Graduate School of Management as a Fulbright scholar. He also has research affiliations at Stanford University and the University of North Florida.

    Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. He has authored eight books, including The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First, New Directions for Organization Theory: Problems and Prospects, and Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations, as well as more than 95 articles and book chapters. He has served as director of executive education at Stanford and has presented executive seminars in 20 countries as well as to numerous companies and associations in the United States.

    Laurie A. Rudman is Assistant Professor in Psychology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She received a PhD from the University of Minnesota. In 1995, she received the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Award (with Gene Borgida). Her research interests include social cognition, impression management, and implicit attitude assessment.

    Philip E. Tetlock is the Harold Burtt Professor of Psychology and Political Science at the Ohio State University. His experimental research program on judgment and choice explores the implications of thinking of people as intuitive politicians, theologians, and prosecutors. He also does research in a variety of nonexperimental settings, including work on counterfactual thought experiments (how experts think about what might have been as well as what might yet be). He has received a variety of professional awards, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Behavioral Science Research Prize and the Woodrow Wilson Book Award from the American Political Science Association.

    Tracy A. Thompson is Assistant Professor in the Business Administration Program at the University of Washington, Tacoma. She received a PhD in organization behavior from Northwestern University. Her research focuses on strategic management, organization change, and corporate governance. Her work has appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly, Corporate Governance, and the Journal of Managerial Education. As an academic affiliate to the Newspaper Management Center at Northwestern University, she conducts research on the newspaper industry and teaches in executive education programs. She is also an active member of the Academy of Management's Business Policy and Strategy Division.

    Thomas M. Tripp is Associate Professor of Management at Washington State University. He received a PhD in organization behavior from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He has specialized in the study of organizational injustice, power in negotiations, measuring negotiator performance accurately, and workplace revenge. His research has appeared in many journals. He is a member of the Academy of Management and serves on the executive committee of its Conflict Management Division.

    Tom R. Tyler is Professor of Psychology at New York University. His research examines social justice and the psychology of authority. He is the author of several books, including The Social Psychology of Procedural Justice (with Allan Lind), Why People Obey the Law: Trust in Organizations (with Roderick Kramer), and Social Justice in a Diverse Society (with Robert Boeckmann, Heather Smith, and Yuen Huo).

    Kathleen L. Valley is Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School. She received a PhD from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Her research is focused on interpersonal relationships and their role in decisions, conflict, and resource allocation within organizations. Her investigations into the way people interact, both personally and professionally, in the workplace have resulted in numerous journal articles and book chapters. Currently, she is exploring the ways in which personal and professional relationships affect and are affected by organizational change. She has presented her work at universities and conferences across North America and Europe. She has designed and taught numerous courses in organizational behavior, negotiations, and decision analysis. She currently teaches negotiations to MBAs at the Harvard Business School and to professionals at Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation.

    Ruth Wageman is a professor on the faculty of the Columbia Business School. She received a BA from Columbia College and a PhD from the Harvard Joint Doctoral Program in Organizational Behavior. Her teaching and research interests include designing and leading effective task force performing teams, reward system design for groups, human motivation, and structural and individual influences on group and interpersonal behavior. Current projects include “How Leaders Foster Team Self-Management,” “Toward a Theory of Team Coaching,” and “Equalitarian Values and Member Responses to Team Failures.” Her recent research has appeared in such journals as Administrative Science Quarterly, Organizational Dynamics, and Journal of Organizational Behavior.

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