Power

Topics: Government, Organization, Organizational studies Pages: 8 (2940 words) Published: April 11, 2013
Power. The use of authority to control a group of people. It is the actor’s ability to manipulate opinions, emotions, and behaviour of groups, even against their will (Hardy, 1995; Hardy & Clegg, 1996). It is seen everywhere in organisational forms, from managers, to team leaders. But perhaps one of the most obvious use of power through businesses is government legislations. The government uses positional power to control and possess relevant sources such as managers, in order to get groups to do as they want (French & Raven, 1959). An example of government power in the workplace is through gender mainstreaming. Traditionally, men ruled the business world. Big business was their business. Emphasis was put on hiring white, straight, male individuals for high leadership jobs. The New Zealand government tried to change this behaviour in the late 1900's by making new legislations that encouraged equal rights within the work place. As a result many developmental organisations are undertaking gender mainstreaming. Interestingly however, analysis on gender mainstreaming shows that gender and development influenced company’s aren’t actually implementing gender and development approaches in practice. Has New Zealand organisations developed a resistance to this power change that the government has enforced on them? Since the 19th century the New Zealand Government has been undertaking initiatives to make workplaces, attractive, innovative, and productive to all people. In 1972 an equal pay Act between men and women was established within New Zealand (Fursman,2006). Women were guaranteed the right to equal pay for equal work in all sectors in the workplace. Also during the 1990's the New Zealand bill of rights Act announced that there was to be no discrimination against women (Fursman,2006). Labour market conditions in New Zealand continue today to be more favourable for women workers. Robust economic growth along with flexibility in job opportunities within the labour market has seen an increase in women’s participation within the work force by about 15% (Fursman,2006). However while the governments new legislations have managed to implement a bit of change, it has not created equality among men and women in organisations. The most evident example of this is through the differences between gender pay. Estimates found that the gap between men and women pay accounts ranged from 12 to 16 percentage points, and this is increasing (Fursman,2006). The New Zealand Income Survey (NZIS) found that the difference between wages in 2007 was $3.71, compared with $2.63 in 2002 (Female Labour Market Outcomes,2008). This pay difference can be attributed towards females being overrepresented in certain jobs, and how more females then males are part time workers, as they have other commitments such as family and household duties. However, evidence does show that even after controlling for these differences within occupational employment and qualifications, there still is a significant pay gap between female and male wages (Female Labour Market Outcomes, 2008). This raises the question of to what extent are the duties, goals, and desires of government legislations, no matter how noble, fundamentally at the mercy of the organisation forms themselves? To answer this question, one first has to analysis the type of power that legislations hold over businesses. According to Lukes, (2005), three conceptualizations of power, governments tend to implement latent power. Latent power, in this context, is when the interests of the authorities wanting to start the policy and the interests of the organisation are conflictual, yet one or both of the parties may be unaware of the fact that this tension exists. Thus power is implemented when the organisation conforms to the interests of the government. The policy imposes behavioural patterns on the organisation which the business adopts as its own (Luke, 2005). Almost taking on a hierarchical power approach....

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