This essay examine modern and symbolic-interpretive perspectives in which enables the understanding of power and the limits in organizations. Approaches such as organization structure, organization culture, research and methodology in each of the perspective are used to discuss in this essay.
In bureaucratic organizations personal power is linked to authority with authority being the legitimate power that adheres to roles. Organizational roles provide actors with moral constructs for the enactment of power. Actors evaluate each other's acts of power in part on the willingness to obey role instructions. For a person to sustain power in an organizational setting he or she must self-consciously exercise power so as to signify the awareness of role obligations (Biggart & Hamilton 1984).
Power and authority are closely related but theoretically different concepts (Faeth 2004). The exercise of power is legitimated through authority (Weber 1947) and Weber was the first to develop a systematic version of these terms as keystone of his social theory. Lewin (1941) developed the study of leadership by introducing the concept of social power in terms of the differential between interpersonal force and resistance. French and Raven described five sources of power namely reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, referent power and expert power (Raven & French 1958).
Reward power is derived from the ability to provide rewards to others for behavior such as pay increment or job promotions. Coercive power is the ability effect negative consequences such as a demotion or transfer to a less desirable assignment. Legitimate power is the right to make a request based upon their official position in the organization. Referent power refers to the ability to seek the target’s response based upon the target’s desire to please the agent. (Biggart & Hamilton 1984). Expert power is the power wielded by those who possess the particular knowledge and skills needed by the organization (Faeth 2004).
Authority is a social relation that stands at the outer limits towards social relations of domination. These relations constitute the normalcy of organization whereby there is a likelihood of resistance. 1
Weber as a modernist introduced the term Herrschaft as the likelihood that a command with a given particular content will be obeyed by a given group of persons (Weber 1978). Whenever obedience occurs, example of legitimate Herrschaft will be shown. The concept of legitimate Herrschaft refers to legitimate thus authority is a relationship of legitimate rule where the meaningfulness of the social relation rests on assumptions accepted without imposition by all parties to that relationship. Legitimacy is usual term theorists use with reference to a structure attributes of social systems (Weber 1978).
There are three types of legitimacy proposed by weber. However, Friedrich attacks all three types of legitimacy proposed by Weber. He accuses Weber of insensitivity in treating different types of legitimacy under the single category of ‘traditional’. Friedrich also opposes Weber’s strong distinction between legal-rational and traditional legitimacy because the legal system is a keystone of this type of rule and is central for its acceptance.
Since the legal system and constitution after some time become a tradition, with the constitution deriving its authority from its duration in time, the legal-rational form of legitimacy is inseparable from the traditional type of authority (Malesevic 2002).
Modernist’s goal is to discover the ‘truths’ that dominate organizations. They believe in evidence and analysis of data that are eventually used to substantial the truth and therefore make decision for results which is defined as their instrumental value. Hence, they are view as objective. (Hatch, 2006).
On the other hand, symbolic-interpretivists are view as actors in a stage play. They are compelled to innovate and give character to a role,...
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