The Effects of Leadership, Power, and Politics in Organizational Performance

Table of Content


            Leadership, power, and politics are various factors that can have an effect on the performance of an employee or organization; they are embedded deep in the heart of an organization and can affect the structure of the firm.

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            This paper will focus on the effects of these factors on the performance of an organization.

An Overview of Leadership, Power, and Politics In The Organization


            Leadership is a word that has many definitions depending on what field it will be used. For example, the definition the word in the military is different when it is used in the government or corporate setting. But while there are varied definitions of leadership, the common element is that this concept is usually attributed to an individual who is the most powerful or the best among the rest (Free Management Library).

             Leadership in an organization is an entirely different thing. In this setting, the job of the leader is to set the direction of the company in order that the followers will head to that direction. There are many styles of leadership but it is usually determined by the situation that the organization faces (Free Management Library).

            Leadership Differentiated From Managing

            Leadership is usually associated with managing. In reality, however, they are two different concepts. To become an effective leader, an individual should possess good management skills. A leader’s focus is on influencing their subordinates while a manager’s task is to plan, organize,  lead, and coordinate the activities of their department or unit(free Management Library).

            Leadership Styles

            Leadership style is very crucial in the success of an organization. Whether as a coach of a basketball team or of a company, the manner of leading has an impact on how far the organization

will go.

            In general, leadership styles can be characterized into people-oriented and task-oriented. In the former, the leader focuses their sight on getting the trust and respect of their employees by ensuring that the company will look after their welfare and their needs. The latter, on the other hand, is a kind of leadership whereby the leader identifies the tasks, determines roles, and spells out the duties that each employee will do in order that they might reach their full potential(Wee, Wee, & Huang, 2006).

The Three Types of Conflict

            A good leader should possess the ability to handle the three types of conflict:

Relationship Conflict. These are tensions that may arise from dealings with co-employees or superiors and not conflict on the job to be done (Fraser, 2006).

Task Conflict. They arise out of misunderstandings from the work to be accomplished (Fraser).

Process Conflict. Disagreements as a result of how the job should be undertaken (Fraser, 2006).

The Effects of the Leadership Style on Organizational Performance

            According to a study conducted by three professors at Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan, the leadership style will have an impact on the performance of a certain organization. The study revealed that using people-oriented leadership can help in decreasing stress, absenteeism among employees, psychological strain, and turnover rate in organizations. Likewise, it can increase the number of satisfied employees (Wee, Wee, & Huang, 2006).

            On the other hand, too much emphasis on task-oriented leadership can bring about unfavorable results such as increased stress, absenteeism, and turnover rate(Wee, Wee, & Huang, 2006).

            The study recommends that in order to elevate the performance of an organization, there has to be a balance between people-oriented and task-oriented leadership (Wee, Wee, & Huang, 2006).

 Power in Organizations

            Power is the ability of a leader or organization to influence other people. In an organization, being powerful can mean a lot. Possessing organizational power can bring a lot of privileges to the leader or manager. Here are some instances on how becoming powerful can come in handy (University of Lethbridge, n.d):

A manager can use their power in getting a favorable result for an employee who is in a dilemma
Power allows a manager to place their subordinate in a juicy position
Powerful leaders can work out concurrence for expenses that are outside the organization’s budget
Powerful managers can influence decision makers
Reward versus Coercive Power

            Reward power is grounded on a manager’s capacity to disseminate benefits which are valuable to others.  This can bring about concurrence on the part of an employee. On the other hand, coercive power is controlled by the manager’s fear of getting an undesirable result. This can bring about a negative precedence as the employees may have the tendency for resistance (University of Lethbridge, n.d).

            Consequences of Power Abuse

            The Caine Mutiny is an example of the possible consequences of abuse of power. In this event, Captain Queeg ordered his men to do things which they were no longer willing to obey. As a result, the soldiers revolted against him (University of Lethbridge, n.d).

                        In sexual harassment, the person with authority uses their position to exploit the weakness of their subordinate. Power abuse can likewise be seen in employees in a relationship because they could be doing favors for one another (University of Lethbridge, n.d).

            Francis Rourke said that there are three factors that could have an impact on an organization’s ability to abuse its power. They are: 1) manpower population of the company; 2) the kind of leadership existing in the organization; 3) the nature of expertise. He calls this substitutability/non-substitutability (Alagse, n.d).

            Likewise, Pfeffer, in 1981, made a contention that power is innate in the structure of an organization. It is grounded on the positions, information, and budget that encompass the company. In order to remain in power, those in authority must utilize the set-up of the organization (Alagse, n.d).

Organizational Politics

            Politics is very strong in an organizational setting. This is seen when people in authority uses their power to advance individual interests. Organizational politics stems from the environment pervading in the organization itself. Due to the competition for positions as well as power, employees who push their own personal interest just to be in the position of authority (University of Lethbridge, n.d).

            Organizational politics is best seen in practices such as nepotism, hiring new employees or elevating the position of present employees on the basis of favors or personal liking (University of Lethbridge, n.d.).

            In order to succeed their goal, the employee aspiring for power or leadership would undertake several measures to strengthen their chances. This would entail establishing connections, building up their self-image, hidden agendas, to name just a few (University of Lethbridge, n.d.).

            Leadership and organizational politics are connected to the structure of the company that the entire organization would be affected by it (Alagse, n.d).

            Depending on the circumstances surrounding it, politics may have favorable or unfavorable results for the organization. While politics in the corporate setting is a fact of life that every employee must face, it was revealed in a study that organizational politics is more likely to take place in the upper management positions rather than I the rank and file or lower management (University of Lethbridge, n.d).

            Putting an End To Organizational Politics

            It is not a hopeless case yet as far as putting an end to illegal organizational politics is concerned. The management should consider implement the following measures: (University of Lethbridge, n.d)

The resources provided by the organization should be sufficient so as to discourage employees from politicizing their co-employees.
The rules of the organization must be made transparent and clear cut.
There should be no obstruction in the flow of information from one department to another
Proper change management should be effected within the organization
Political agenda must have no place in the workplace
Get the services of employees who are less likely to engage in organizational politics
The organization should provide forums for dialogues
Employees must be educated about the bad results of organizational politics
Aside from that, the following measures are likewise suggested in order to limit organizational politics;

  1. Employee performance must be the basis for giving rewards, implementing demerits, increasing salaries. The person in authority must not request for favors in exchange for a good performance appraisal (Sabharwal, 2008).

2. When evaluating employee performance, the manager should put aside personal dislike for a certain employee but instead focus on the employee’s skill and performance (Sabharwal, 2008).

3. When rejecting suggestions or proposals, do so because they are illegal and not for the reason that the proposal was made by an employee who is known for criticizing previous

proposals of the authority(Sabharwal, 20080.

4. Be transparent. Whenever there is information that employees need to know, do not hide it from them. This could have an impact on the entire workplace (Sabharwal, 20080


            Leadership, power, and politics are factors that can have a huge impact on the performance of the employee or organization itself.


Alagse(n.d.). Leadership and Organizational Politics.  Retrieved on June 20 2008.  from


Fraser, M(2006 August 11). What types of conflicts are there?. Retrieved on June 20, 2008 from


Free Management Library(n.d). Overview of Leadership in Organizations. Retrieved June 20 2008         from <>

Sabharwal, D(2008 January 3). Workplace Politics and its affect on Organizational Culture.         Retrieved June 20 2008 from <            Organizational-Culture-13194.html>

University of Lethbridge(2008). Organizational Power and Politics. Retrieved June 20 2008 from              <>

Wee, K.P., Wee, H., & Huang, W(2006). Organizational Leadership and Its Relative Influences. Chung Yuan Christian University. Journal of Information & Optimization Sciences, Vol. 27,      241-248. < text/JIOS-27-1-2006/jios138.pdf >

Wilson, P.A.(Spring 1995). The effects of politics and power on the organizational commitment of          federal executives.  Journal of Management.             <            pnum=15&opg=16777715&tag=artBody;col1>


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The Effects of Leadership, Power, and Politics in Organizational Performance. (2016, Dec 21). Retrieved from

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