Thomas Green: Power, Office Politics, and a Career in Crisis Individual Case Analysis Kay Saeteurn BUSA 305-01 Dr. Catherine Pratt November 17, 2008 Thomas Green: Power, Office Politics, and a Career in Crisis Individual Case Analysis Power is the capability that A has to influence the behavior of B so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes, especially dependency power where a certain individual has something of importance, scarcity, and non substitutable, that another person seeks for.
Thomas Green and Frank Davis both display individual power over one another causing a conflicting relationship without completing their task, which lead to a political war involving outside group members. In March of 2007, Thomas Green was recruited by Dynamic Displays for an account executive position. In just four months, Green completed a contract for Journey Airlines. Four months after the completion of his contract, he attended a week long training session at Dynamic Displays’ headquarters for promotion opportunities.
After meeting with Shannon McDonald, Travel Division Vice President, she promoted Thomas Green to Senior Marketing Specialist. Within one week, Green met Marketing Director, Frank Davis. On October 8th, Green attended Davis’ Budget Plan meeting. After a disagreement about Davis’ regional sales goals, Davis emailed McDonald regarding Green’s personality issue. Green and Davis’ rocky relationship continues to escalate after Davis gives Green a poor informal evaluation. There was nothing left for Green to do except to express his negative feelings about Davis to people outside the group while avoiding Davis.
The main problem becomes obvious that Frank Davis and Thomas Green both believe that they posses the power to perform their job better in accordance from one another. Frank Davis becomes dependent upon Thomas Green because in order for Davis to perform his task, he needs information from Green, who is responsible for identifying industry trends, evaluating new opportunities, and establishing sales. Along with the main issue, there are numerous key issues with the case. There are conflicts between Green’s work environment and his personal life as well as his trust in the organization and his relationship with his boss.
Each individual displayed a unique personality and evaluation of how their job was to be completed. These factors caused a problem between Thomas Green and Frank Davis. There are numerous reasons contributing to Davis’s and Green’s problems. Both Davis and Green hold different values and beliefs. Frank Davis was previously a Senior Market Specialist so he has had experience with the job and has strict expectations that Green would do the same. Although Thomas has been promoted to Senior Market Specialist, he believes he is capable enough to fulfill this role with out any previous managerial experience.
On his previous jobs, he has displayed strong willingness for ambition and growth in the company. Green’s willingness to except his role and the lack of skills he possesses to fulfill his task created a conflict between Davis and himself. Thomas and Frank both use different working styles and have different personalities. Frank Davis prepares memos and proposals when meeting clients, while Thomas Green delivers to clients as he thinks of ideas. The organization Thomas and Frank work in has no clear structure.
Green spent his first week as a Senior Marketing Specialist reviewing year-to-date sales while Davis expects Green to spend his time preparing for client meetings and developing proposals. Frank Davis uses his formal power to dictate Green, and in response, Green shows characteristics of defensive behaviors. As marketing director, their roles are dependent upon gathering information from senior marketing specialists. Thomas Green has a dependency power over Frank Davis. The information Green has about regional sales are extremely important to Davis and there are no up-to-date substitutable information.
This created a conflict between Davis and Green. The organization had no structure and Davis could of reported to the other two marketing specialist for sales information. Power tactics are ways in which individuals translate power bases into specific actions. Based on the nine distinct influence tactics, Frank Davis uses Legitimacy and pressure to get Thomas Green to complete his job to the Davis’ ability. Legitimacy power is relying on one’s own authority position provided with the organization. Davis is Green’s boss.
Under their organization and the scope of the organizational policies and rules, Davis is Green’s higher chain of command and it is reasonable that Green follows direction from Davis. An obvious example of legitimate power that Davis uses with Green is the numerous email complaints to Shannon McDonald. Davis persuades McDonald that Green is not fulfilling his position, therefore causes McDonald to send an email asking Green for a self-evaluation. The constant pressure Davis expressed toward Green was based around his working schedule. He expected Green to Atlanta during certain days and did not allow time for flexibility.
Davis do not use much of rational persuasions when presenting McDonald with an e-mail regarding Green’s evaluation. This caused a downward influence and did not provide Green with the appropriate expectation. With Davis and Green’s conflicting relationship, Green practices political behavior with people outside his working group by commenting on his thoughts and feelings about Davis. Dynamic Displays’ low trust environment, unclear performance evaluation systems, high pressure performance, and zero-sum reward allocation practices caused Green to practice political behavior.
On numerous occasions, Green has expressed concerns about Davis to managers and friends outside his scope of work. It is clear that there are no work incentives or clear performance feedback evaluation systems installed at that organization. Green’s lack of trust in Davis’ evaluation and McDonalds’ intentions caused a higher level of defensive behavior. At one point Thomas was avoiding contact and interactions with Frank. Green has negative feelings toward the organization is skeptical about the changes McDonald might make. This calls for improvements in the organization.
Some recommendations Thomas Green and Frank Davis should take are setting a structured organization and providing a better use of power tactics. Exhibit 14. 2 in Robbins and Judge’s Organizational Behavior text book explains that in order to positively influence by direction, a person and organization needs to experience rational persuasion. Evaluating logical arguments and explanations toward a behavior will decrease a downward influence on direction. The most effective power tactics are collaborating between rational persuasion, inspirational appeals, and consultation. 4] Another strong recommendation is to set organizational goals and rules to govern power and initiate flow. Setting goals in an organization decreases role ambiguity. When there are fewer limits and employee behaviors are not clearly defined, employees participate in politicking. Incentives are a great reward for groups within an organization. Incentives motivate employees and can allocate power effectively. The unequal use of power conflicted in a bad relationship between two colleagues. Each individual sought company from outside group members.
Thomas Green and Frank Davis’ issues grew into a mass conflict. Power tactics are effective when properly used, and people of lower status can hold s great amount of power upon higher status employees. Organizational factors influence a person’s political behavior as well as the amount of power a person holds. Power and political differences should always be kept inside the involved group. References Beckham, H. , & Sasser, E. W. Thomas Green: Power, Office Politics, and a Career in Crisis. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing. Judge, T. , & Robbins, S. 2009). Organizational Behavior. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education. ———————– Definition provided in chapter 14, page 451 of Robins and Judge’s Organizational Behavior text book. According to a market specialist who had accompanied Green on his meetings said, “Thomas is great when it comes to selling the clients on his idea. He is very charismatic and can think quickly on his feet. ” (p. 5, “Thomas Green: Power, Office Politics, and a Career in Crisis. ”) Robbins and Judge ( p. 456 to 457) Robbins and Judge (p. 458)