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Managing an organization is a complex and difficult process because of the many players engaged in it, especially in making key decisions. This article examines how power, conflict, and coalition come into play in management as well as ability of making key decisions.
Power, Conflict, and Coalition
Making of major decisions often brings many players into a common platform to form a coalition. Each of such players tries to do his or her best to uphold interests from which he or she will get more benefits. When there are competing interests, conflicts emerge, and power, as a rule, prevails. The cycle of forming a coalition, emergence of conflicts, and later prevailing of power is often witnessed in decision making processes.
Organizations, especially in the process of making decisions, can best be viewed as coalitions. In a coalition, there are players who need to come to a common view. The aim of arriving at a common goal is often hampered by the interests that the coalition members may share. Such interests often pit coalition members against each other, whereby each individual wants his or her interests to be primarily addressed.
This often leads to conflicts in decision making process. In such a scenario, power comes into play. Power is an overriding factor in decision making. Power may favor a decision which may not the best but which is chosen by the vast majority of players in a coalition. This was the case of the Challenger Shuttle with consistent pleas by Thiokol engineers to have the take off postponed fell on deaf ears (Bolman and Deal 191).
In a coalition setting, the players who have power often prevail. It is, therefore, important that such players would be appropriately informed so that they would not be swayed to making wrong decisions. Unfortunately, there are cases where even after the correct information has been channeled, still inappropriate decisions are made.
This is often the case when some external powerful forces push for such decisions. There are various sources of power depending on an organization and the kind of decisions being made. It is noted that managers in organizations need to align themselves well with the sources of power in order to influence decision making processes.
Authority is just one source of power which can be easily overridden by other sources, such as expertise, alliances and networks, as well as reputation. It is, therefore, important for managers to be aware of this fact and stop relying solely on position powers. Managers who solely back on authority position display power gap in their leadership.
Such a leadership is never effective and can be easily outflanked in critical times, when hard decisions are to be made. People with authority position need to form coalitions with those of other sources of power. This will lessen intensity of conflicts when they arise and make decision making process easy.
Conflicts are often encountered in the course of running organizations. Conflicts arise when there are competing interests which need to be addressed. Formation of coalitions has been seen as an amicable way of solving conflicts. The members of a coalition need to work in unison to come up with the best decisions. Managers are particularly informed to form coalition with other members with different sources of power to enhance smooth decision making.
Bolman, Lee G., and Terrence E. Deal. Reframing organizations. New York: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.