Running head: PERSONAL POWER RetailMax: Personal Power Timothy D. Stroud Grand Canyon University: LDR-610-O101 Power, Politics, and Influence October 31, 2012 RetailMax: Personal Power Climbing the corporate ladder can be like playing a game. It can be fun and exciting if you know all of the rules and play fair. Or it can be dreary and arduous if you are finding out the rules as you go along and are playing with people that are less than ethical. The good news is that once you know the rules and apply yourself, you have a better chance of climbing upward.
The bad news is that most people think they are playing the first game in which everyone is climbing up the ladder with little or no risk. They simply have forgotten that when you seek a reward that a certain amount of risk is involved. Not all jobs can be likened to Chutes and Ladders® and that is where hard work comes into play. This is something that Mr. Cam Archer has learned as a retail account executive at RetailMax, Inc. In the first year at the Boston-based software company, Mr. Archer has been able to procure two solid job offers from within the company.
As his internship ends, he is faced with which path to choose within RetailMax, Inc. One of the paths leads him further up the corporate ladder but at less pay and exposure within the company. The other path leads him to greater financial reward but with limited upward mobility. Potential Power After reading both stories by M. S. Allen, it quickly becomes evident that Cam Archer holds a greater potential power than Regan Kessel. Even though Mr. Kessel is the Vice President of Product Management and Marketing (PMM), Cam Archer’s decision will shape that department and ripple throughout RetailMax, Inc.
Cam’s hard work as paid off since he has worked hard, taken on added responsibilities, has made his boss look good, and was a great co-worker. Due to all of these things, he has earned a great deal of expert power within the organization. Mr. Kessel has more referent power and that is something that he has earned over the years with his trust and respect at RetailMax, Inc. The referent power is not as strong as the expert power because the direction of the company will be based on Cam’s decision. Power Bases
When looking at French and Raven’s Five Forms of Power in this situation, you can understand where the power comes from in this workplace (French, Raven, 1960). I see only four of the five forms being actively used in the RetailMax scenario. The CEO, who helped put the company back into a positive growth, has legitimate power since he believes that he has the right to make demands and get compliance from others in the organization. This can be seen as he authorizes another department to make an offer to Cam.
Vince Mangini, Vice President of Professional Services (PS), has reward power and is able to compensate Cam for joining his department with a higher salary and a larger bonus. Cam Archer has the expert power and he wields is well. He has become a more-rounded team player and is continuing to gain credibility and experience in the company. And Regan Kessel has the referent power since he has gained the respect of other workers. With over twenty years of experience in the industry, he is a trusted leader. This has been shown by the relocation of the marketing team under his purview.
Neither Kessel nor Archer let stereotypical gender roles influence their actions. Archer showed flexibility when he took a temporary detour within the company. He accepted the challenge to work with the sales department and showed that he could make amazing things happen with a current account. He showed teamwork by working on a project that produced great results that didn’t net him a commission. Kessel showed no signs of gender influence as he and his team conducted market research on the appropriate salaries and bonus structures that he could offer to new employees.
Over the course of Cam’s internship, there were several social factors that affected his personal power. He quickly gained a solid reputation as a hard worker and a good decision maker. He also became a team player since he helped out in the sales department before making his final decision. Kessel showed that he liked working with Cam as he was relocated to a position that was not being downsized due to the poor market. This should have built a stronger bond between the two as the company grew in size and productivity over the next year. However, the lure of more money and bonuses played a part in Cam’s decision.
Kessel assumed that Cam would stay the course and take the position that was offered to him and continue to produce for the company. I’m sure he was shocked and a little hurt when another department Vice President, Mangini, stated that the CEO backed his offer to Cam. A little loyalty goes a long way in office politics. Maybe Cam assumed that there would always be a position for him in Kessel’s department or that the other path would lead him to a more prosperous future. The Future is Bright Archer has the tiger by the tail and will need to let go in the very near future.
His decision should be based on upward mobility and not the immediate pay off. Taking the position with Kessel will solidify a bond between them and offer him the best opportunity to continue to rise in the company. It comes at a price since the salary is lower and so it the bonus structure. However, it is less travel and will allow him more time to network locally. Kessel should make a solid offer, with as much as the additional funds allowed by HR to Cam. This would be an estimated $125,000 per year with the promise to recommend Cam for a raise during each positive performance review.
He should apply the rest of the additional funds to support the rest of the team and give credit to Cam for some of the revenue. After all, he sold a large account in which no one got a commission and the money was recycled back into the company. If Kessel decided to hire someone outside of the company, it could work but I feel that the company’s dynamics would be off and the new hire would have too large of shoes to fill. Taking this route would increase Kessel’s social power because it would show that he could make solid decisions on his own.
Archer should accept this offer and continue to build a strong internal network within the company. The slight decrease in pay will be long forgotten as he climbs another rung up the company ladder. As Cam Archer has realized, everyone is capable of holding power and influencing others. He found out that even before holding an important job title that his decisions affected others. I think he was also able to recognize the different forms of power and was able to avoid being influenced by those who use the less effective types of power. He was able to focus on developing expert and referent power for himself.
If he follows this path, he will become an influential and positive leader. References French, J. P. R. Jr. , and Raven, B. (1960). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright and A. Zander (eds. ), Group dynamics (pp. 607-623). New York: Harper and Row. McGinn, Kathleen L. , and Dina R. Pradel. “RetailMax: Role for Cam Archer. ” Harvard Business School Exercise 904-024, May 2005. (Revised from original September 2003 version. ) McGinn, Kathleen L. , and Dina R. Pradel. “RetailMax: Role for Regan Kessel. ” Harvard Business School Exercise 904-024, May 2005. (Revised from original September 2003 version. )