It is reported that power corrupts even though in the real sense, it is the use of power that determines whether people with authority succeed or fail. In a local school, the new principal found himself between a rock and a hard place when the president of the board approached him and proposed that the vacant librarian position be reserved for her daughter. The principal was the party responsible for evaluating the list of recruits before the final list was submitted to the board of trustees for approval.
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The final decision on who was hired rested in the hands of the principal as per the school’s tradition. What made the situation tricky was that the daughter of the board president was not qualified for the post while the three other candidates had the required qualifications for the job. Do you think it would be right for the principal to hire an unqualified candidate on the basis of their interpersonal relationship?
To influence the decision making process of the principal, the president assured him that she would get the board to support whichever policies that he brought forward. The principal considered how beneficial it would be to have his policies supported and approved by the board and so he gave in to the president’s demands. The outcome of this decision was that the performance of the new librarian began to raise question marks after a few weeks.
This made the board to confront the principal and inquire why the other three qualified candidates were not appointed for the librarian position. The matter threatened to blow out of proportion when the three candidates who were not appointed heard about what happened and publicized the story during the next board meeting.
The issue was resolved by the board agreeing to staff the three candidates in the school while retaining the president’s daughter as the librarian. Talk of a messed up situation. What would you have done at this point if you were a board member?
One factor that contributes to the crooked nature of management systems is the need to survive. All persons are struggling to survive in the competitive world despite the tough economic times. Opportunities are no longer reserved for those who are qualified as the capitalist philosophy takes over in most parts of the world. In a free world, any person has the right to own property and succeed. Success is not only for those who work hard but for those who work smart.
In this sense, unqualified individuals are using other means to achieve success. Since some people lack qualifications, elite backgrounds and relevant working experience, they use interpersonal influence to capture opportunities; e.g. the approach taken by the president of the board of trustees in the case (Du Brin 10; Pfeffer 214).
Management of power is required in society because many managers fall prey to connection power and influence tactics that are used by their superiors (Du Brin 63). Those in power always try to influence our decisions through the use of bribes, threats and exchanging favors (173).
Others attempt to use social networking so as to use their friendly relationships to obtain benefits from others (197). The president of the board of trustees approached the principal in a friendly manner and assured him that she would approve the policies that he developed. By agreeing to this, the principal and the president formed an alliance which was based on exchange of favors for mutual gain (106).
If I was the new principal of the local school in question, I would have considered the consequences of accepting the proposal before agreeing to it. The offer would have been tempting because it is important for a new principal to gain favor with the board. But in the long run, hiring an unqualified employee would result in poor performance and more trouble for the appointing party. Political blunders become costly in the long run even though they are good for short term benefits (Du Brin 241).
Based on these facts, I would take a stand not to be responsible for the hiring of an unqualified candidate. In order to maintain good relations with the board of trustees, I would still include the daughter of the president in the final list of candidates but leave it to them to decide the person to be hired. Revealing the agreement between the president and I would not be good for interpersonal relationships with her in future so I would not bring it to light.
On the other hand, if I was one of the candidates who was wrongfully denied the employment opportunity, I would also have raised the issue during the board meeting. Whistleblowing comes in handy in such situations where the welfare of stakeholders is compromised by the acts of a few individuals.
If I was a member of the board of trustees, I would have reacted to the allegations made by advocating that the recruiting process be done afresh so that a qualified candidate was hired. The proper course of action from the beginning would have been to set rules which were compulsory to be followed irrespective of which individual sat on the principal’s seat. This would eliminate the possibility of external forces interfering with the recruitment process.
Du Brin, Andrew J. Political behavior in organizations, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2009. Print.
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Pfeffer, Jeffrey. Managing with power: politics and influence in organizations, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1992. Print.