Power and Politics

Session 1

David Rockefeller, Part I

Sources of power

David Rockefeller had reputation without performance, exceptionally. Ordinarily, persons must start from performance. Performance creates reputation, and reputation makes easy to establish allies. Then, reputation and allies bring the persons position power. Personal characteristics may be one of the common sources of power. Many powerful persons have prominent characteristics.

The mixture of sources and positioning are important. David Rockefeller has appropriate personal characteristics in accordance with his inborn reputation. He may not be successful in a political field. He chose aneconomic field.

David Rockefeller, Part II

Compromise for power

Tactics for power

Compromise is a common feature in his power game. He thought that mutual compromises are fundamentals to realize purposes. He uses meals as a tactic. He invited guests in his breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Jeffrey Pfeffer Chap. 1 Decisions and Implementation

  1. Set goals.
  2. Determine the influential individuals.
  3. Define the viewpoint of the influential individuals.
  4. Determine the power bases of the influential individuals.
  5. Determine my power bases.
  6. Develop strategy and tactics.
  7. Define a course of actions.

Session 2

 Review of Power & Politics


 Texcorp Case: I learned very little.


Power: Power is the potential ability to influence behavior, to change the course of events, to overcome resistance, and to get people to do things they otherwise would not do. It is manifested in a variety of manners covertly and overtly; formally and informally.


Power bases:

 Opinion: Power bases can work well when they are combined properly and at appropriate timing. Proper combination and appropriate timing may be depended on luck or fortunate.

 Politics: Informal influence process (both covert and overt) through which power is utilized.

 Influence tactics:

Jeffrey Pfeffer Chap. 2 When is power is used?

Jeffrey Pfeffer Chap. 3 Diagnosing Power and Dependence

Session 3

Case, Robert Moses

Moses used law, media, court, allies and so on. He made state law, which allows him a coercive power. He used newspapers to acquire the public popularity. He used allies to accomplish his projects.


We learned 5 social power sources, which were proposed by French and Raven (1959).

Jeffrey Pfeffer Chap. 4 Where Does Power Come from?

Jeffrey Pfeffer Chap. 5 Resources, Allies, and the New Golden Rule

Session 4

Skill Learning: Building a Strong Power Base

Kanter's 8 managerial power indicators

Position Characteristics of Power

Personal Attributes for Power

Delorean's Case

Due to promotion, Delorean lost his power sources.

Jeffrey Pfeffer Chap. 7 Formal Authority, Reputation, and Performance

Formal position



Jeffrey Pfeffer Chap. 9 Individual Attributes as Sources of Power

Session 5

Henry Kissinger

Kissinger used power sources to get National Security Advisor post.

Organizational Affiliation Questionnaire

Donna Dubinsky Case

Donna only confronts with Debi's idea. They could cooperate. Donna focused on position power, but she should have considered allies.

Jeffrey Pfeffer Chap. 8 Importance of Being in the Right Unit

The power of unity comes from following factors.

Session 6

Pfeffer Chap 10, Framing: How We Look at Things Affects How They Look

People are affected, unconsciously, by following three factors.

Pfeffer Chap 11, Interpersonal Influence

Interpersonal influence is affect by following three factors.

Pfeffer Chap 12 Timing is (Almost) Everything

Being early and moving first

Moving first sometimes work well. (Agee's case in Bendix)


The waiting game



Order of consideration

Propitious moments

 Lehman brothers

 Stage 1: Battle between Peter Peterson and Lewis Glucksman

Stage 2: Battle between Glucksman and the other board members

 Stage 1:

 Pete Peterson

 Lew Glucksman

Trading generated main portion of Lehman's profit but traders did not get enough reward.

Lew Glucksman was appointed to Co-CEO by Peterson.

The best ally of Glucksman, Bob Rubin was assigned by Peterson as a spy.

Gluksman set a maneuver to exclude Peterson at board member.

Glucksman prepared golden parachute for Peterson.

Stage 2

Glucksman reallocate bonus, shifting from bankers to traders.

Several banker parter left the firm

In1983, Fall, company come to capital crisis.

Conagra, a former partner's client, offered $600 million purchase.

Glucksman and Rubin turned down this offer without concealing it to parters. (Timing was wrong. Glucksman think Conagra can not afford $600 million)

Peterson demanded to open this offer to partners.

After that Glucksman and Rubin had to give up to control compensation committee. (Fatal mistake for Glucksoman)

In 1984 march, Fortune revealed Lehman's capital crisis.

In 1984 April 3, Shearson / American Express offered acquisition with $360 million.

Vote among board members was not unanimous, but majority was sale.

Glucksman did not want to sell, but he has no power to control board.

In 1984 April 10, Acquisition was announced.

Lyndon Johnson

Johnson did not have preferable background to be a influential politician.

He started his career as a secretary at Congress.

He started the little congress and made it influential

To be influential in the real congress is not easy but he started from a small thing.

He created a channel for politician to be outstanding.

His work style was obsessive.

He was skillful to write a letter.

He is good at personal meeting. (male to male, physical closeness, body touch)

He frequently used illustrations, anecdotes, hyperbole.

His presentation was reinforced with his passionate belief.

He customized his persuasion to each person.

He kept good relationship with news reporters.

Session 8

Learning Journal

I start an alumni organization for Japanese alumni.


I plan to utilize alumni network for my business success in Japan.


We do not have any alumni organization for Olin MBA graduates in Japan.

What I did

I made an Alumni list home page.

I sent an e-mail to the Olin alumni director.

I did not receive a reply.

I asked three Japanese alumni to collect alumni information.

I demonstrated my plan to Dean.

I sent an e-mail to the Olin Asian alumni director.

I have not received a reply.

What I did not

I have not yet talked about my plan to any Japanese alumni other than the above three Japanese alumni.

Power Base

Performance: I have high capability to develop and manage an organization.

Reputation: No alumni know me.

Allies: ® I knew 1 alumni. (I expanded network through the first acquaintance)

Position power: I had no authorized power. (I requested an authorization to Dean)

Personal characteristics: I am exceptionally positive, diligent and cheerful.

Influence tactics

Interpersonal influence:

Framing: People like to be Alumni

Timing: I want to be an organizer. I moved first and take the first mover advantage.

Information and Analysis: I control the information about alumni and the organization plan.

Symbolic Action:

Language: I have not used Language tactic. (I will create the name of the organization)

Ceremony: I have not used Ceremony tactic.

Settings : I have not used Setting tactic.

Changing Structure: n.a.


Power base and Tactical influence framework are very useful. I found my weak points such as Reputation, Position power, and Symbolic actions. I will create a name for the organization and deliver as many e-mails as I can as a kind of opening ceremony, when the home page starts. After the authorization, I will get Position power and will accumulate Reputation.

Session 9

Learning Journal

I organize International Advisory Committee (IAC).


 IAC's purpose is to develop the processes for international students to socialize into Olin community.

Personal purpose is to let domestic students and administration staff know how international students are feeling. (Problem is very difficult to solve, but if decision makers understand the true feeling of international students, the situation will be improved.)


 Very few international students enjoy Olin school life.

Some domestic students discriminate international students somehow apparently.

International students speak very few in the class.

International students do not attend the students' organizations such as clubs, and FAC.


Some domestic students show us gentle cooperation. But they misunderstand the situation.

I have very limited communication ability in English.

I must take care of 1st year volunteers who join IAC. ( At least I must prevent them from discouraging to do efforts for improvement.)

Power Base

Performance: I speak relatively lots at the class. (Excessive exposure may affect


Reputation: I have a reputation that Hide is a somehow strange international student.

Allies: I have a tight relationship with Jean Milburn.

® I am trying to establish a tight relationship with a key domestic student.

Position power: ® I had no authorized power.

Personal characteristics: I am exceptionally positive, diligent and cheerful.

 Influence tactics

 Interpersonal influence:

Framing: Two thirds of international students are feeling almost same as I am feeling.

Timing: ®

Information and Analysis: ® I have relatively much information but some domestic students have another

Information source.

Symbolic Action:

Language: I can not use language effectively.

? In order to establish a tight relationship with a key domestic student, I send him e-mails frequently to ask his opinions. (This tactic may be a dialect tactic)

Ceremony: We had focus groups and will deliver a survey.

Settings : I have not used Setting tactic.

Changing Structure: n.a.


 The problem is that very gentle and helpful domestic students misunderstand the situation. Further my language proficiency is not enough to explain their misunderstandings. For example, at the general meeting I can not control the discussion. Even at International Advisory Committee, domestic students take control of discussion. Under their control, true solution is difficult to be revealed. I gave my ideas to a key domestic student before the meeting as a kind of framing, using dialect tactic.

Session 11

Learning Journal

We learned evaluation and selection from the power and politics viewpoint. Further, we learned change management from two viewpoints such as from OD approach and from Power approach.

Case: How a consulting failed

7 major factories + 2 major sales sites® 12 factories + 7 sales sites

<Power and Politics>

Session 12

Learning Journal "Early career development & Power & Politics"

We learned Power and Politics in an early career stage. "Fit" is key word in early career power and politics. "How we fit the value and motives of ourselves and organizations". In the class Performance, Affiliate and Power were variables. But I prefer Mazro's 5 step desires such as life, safe, social, respect, self-realization.

 Articles said that income and promotion are not essential. But young MBAs think income and promotion are desirable, because they do not have money and position. Even if they choose the other goals, they will not be satisfied.

Session 13

Learning Journal "Managing your boss"

 Too much expectation

 When I have high expectation to my boss, I will be disappointed at my boss. We can learn through our work experience that bosses are not usually excellent. We meet many unreliable bosses but we can rarely meet reliable bosses. But at an early career, subordinates may feel frustrated, because they expect too much to their bosses.

 Difference of skills

 Even if a manager has an excellent technical skill, if the manager does not have a human skill, the manager can not manage subordinates effectively. Very few businesspersons have a technical skill, a conceptual skill and a human skill together. Therefore management is problematic in nature.

Young MBA graduates are excellent only in conceptual skill. They do not have specific technical skill and human skill. (To acquire a specific technical skill in an early career is very difficult. Talented young graduates can have a human skill even if they have no business career). On the other hand, existing managers, who must take care of the young MBA graduates, have specific technical skill through their career and they are very proud of their technical skills. Young MBA graduates usually do not respect their managers' technical skill, since they can not understand importance of career-based technical skill. Then young MBA graduates and their managers rarely get along with each other. Further, as often as not, both sides do not have a human skill. A human skill is the most difficult to acquire.

I think human skill is far more important than technical skill and conceptual skill. But MBA graduates want to use their conceptual skill, which they learned during their two years.

 After-graduation career

When I will go back to my company after MBA graduation, I must be very careful for a human skill in the organization. In MBA curriculum, my classmates are very smart. I do not have to explain minutely. They can understand what I want to say without explanation. Because our topics are all relating to business analysis, and we have the same business knowledge. We share values. But in my company, my coworkers are working in very specific and narrow specialty field. I will not understand their values and they will not understand my conceptual explanation.

In particular, relationships with my bosses are the most difficult to manage. They may be skeptical about what I learn in MBA program. They may feel threatened because they may feel I will take their positions.

Fields of subjects

As far as I know, in a finance and accounting business, MBA knowledge is very close to necessary technical skills. In a marketing and operation field, MBA knowledge are very general to apply it into real business situations. Unfortunately, organization behavior is the most general and far-away from real situations. For example, if we try to use Power Base and Influential Tactics frameworks in real situation, they seem to be too much conceptual foe bosses and coworkers. We can not share the framework with them. Even if we use the frameworks in our mind, we should not show the highly conceptual frameworks.