Power and the accompanying political behavior are inevitable in all organizations. French and Raven categorized power as having five forms: reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, referent power, and expert power. Power can be used for personal gain, or for social purposes. Etzioni identified three types of power and three types of organizational involvement that lead to either congruent or incongruent use of power. Symbols of power are discussed. A final section addresses managing the boss and sharing power through empowering organizational members.
After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following:
1. Distinguish between power, influence, and authority.
2. Describe the interpersonal and intergroup sources of power.
3. Understand the ethical use of power.
4. Explain power analysis, an organizational-level theory of power.
5. Identify symbols of power and powerlessness in organizations.
6. Define organizational politics and understand the major influence tactics.
7. Develop a plan for managing employee–boss relationships.
8. Discuss how managers can empower others.
Chapter 11 introduces the following key terms:
zone of indifference
THE CHAPTER SUMMARIZED
I. LOOKING AHEAD: Carly Fiorina: Fortune’s Most Powerful Woman
II. THE CONCEPT OF POWER
Power is the ability to influence another person. The process by which we affect the thoughts, behavior, and feelings of another person is called influence. Authority is the right to influence another person. Most individuals prefer to use influence rather than authority to get things done.
When we attempt to influence an individual, our approaches may or may not fall within the employee's zone of indifference. The zone of indifference is the range in which attempts to influence are perceived as legitimate, and the receiver responds to the influence willingly.
III. FORMS AND SOURCES OF POWER IN ORGANIZATIONS
A. Interpersonal Forms of Power
French and Raven identified the five most common bases of power in an organization as reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, and expert power.
1. Reward Power
Reward power is the control over rewards that are valued by another. Typical examples of rewards are salary increases, bonuses, and promotions. In addition, praise can be used as a reward.
2. Coercive Power
Coercive Power is the ability to administer unpleasant consequences. The implied force relates to threats and punishments. Some forms of coercive power include verbal abuse, lack of support, and disciplinary actions.
3. Legitimate Power
Legitimate power is similar to authority, and is based on position and mutual agreement. This form of power is provided to individuals by the organization. Some managers resort to legitimate power if they are insecure with their ability to influence employees using other forms of power.
4. Referent Power
Referent power is based on interpersonal attraction. Followers identify with the leader and willing follow out of admiration and respect.
5. Expert Power
Expert power is based on knowledge and/or skills. Followers must perceive the agent as an expert, and trust that the expertise is valid and that the knowledge or skills are relevant and useful to them.
B. Using Power Ethically
The following three questions can help managers determine whether they are using power ethically: (1) Does the behavior produce a good outcome for people inside and outside the organization? (2) Does the behavior respect the rights of all parties? (3) Does the behavior treat all parties equitably and fairly?
C. Two Faces of Power: One Positive, One Negative
McClelland takes a stand for the use of power in a right or wrong fashion. Personal power is used for personal gain, and results in a win–lose approach. Conversely, social power involves the use of power to create motivation or to accomplish group goals.
D. Intergroup Sources of Power
Groups also use multiple sources of power. When groups control activities that other groups depend on in order to complete their tasks, they control strategic contingencies. In order to exercise this control, a group must have the ability to cope with uncertainty, its function must be central to the organization’s success, and it must perform an indispensable function for the organization.
IV. POWER ANALYSIS: A BROADER VIEW
Etzioni's approach to power measures the involvement of members that will lead to either congruent or incongruent uses of power. He also proposed the classification of organizations by the type of membership, which included alienative membership (members have hostile, negative feelings about the organization), calculative membership (members weight the benefits and limitations of membership), and moral membership (members have positive feelings about the organization). He also identified three types of organizational power: coercive, utilization, and normative.
Coercive power forces members to do something through threat or intimidation. It is appropriate for use in organizations with alienative membership.
Utilitarian power influences members by providing them with rewards and benefits. Managers prefer this form of power if it is available, and it is appropriate for businesses and other organizations with calculative membership.
Normative power influences members through peer pressure, or by letting the individuals know that they are expected to act according to the overall wishes of the group. It is the appropriate form of power for an organization with moral membership.
V. SYMBOLS OF POWER
Since organizational charts only reveal authority and not power, it is important to determine what the symbols of power are across most organizations. One of the more easily identified power symbols is that of a uniform for a police officer.
A. Kanter's Symbols of Power
The primary characteristic of Kanter's seven symbols of power is that they provide an ability to aid or assist another person. Her symbols are active and other-directed. The symbols are: (1) ability to intercede for someone in trouble, (2) ability to get placements for favored employees, (3) exceeding budget limitations, (4) procuring above-average raises for employees, (5) getting items on the agenda at meetings, (6) access to early information, and (7) having top managers seek out one’s opinions.
B. Kanter’s Symbols of Powerlessness
Powerlessness is a lack of power, which may have different symptoms in managers at different levels of the organization.
C. Korda's Symbols of Power
Korda's symbols of power are easier to determine, and they include office furnishings, time power, and standing by.
VI. POLITICAL BEHAVIOR IN ORGANIZATIONS
Organizational politics is the use of power and influence in organizations. Although many managers feel that politics distracts members from focusing on goal achievement, most also feel that it is common in their organizations and necessary for success as an executive. Political behavior consists of actions not officially sanctioned by an organization that are taken to influence others in order to meet one’s personal goals.
A. Influence Tactics
Influence is the process of affecting the thoughts, behavior, or feelings of another person. Influence can be levied upward, downward, or laterally. The four tactics used most frequently are: (1) consultation, (2) rational persuasion, (3) inspirational appeals, and (4) ingratiation.
B. Managing Political Behavior in Organizations
Since politics is inevitable in organizations, the best strategy is to take a proactive stance in managing political behavior in the environment. This can be accomplished through open communication, clarification of performance expectations, participative management, encouraging cooperation, managing scarce resources, and providing a supportive organizational climate.
VII. MANAGING UP: MANAGING THE BOSS
One way to be proactive about office politics is to assess the relationship of power between employee and boss. The classic Harvard Business Review article by Gabarro and Kotter (1980) indicates a need to (1) understand your boss and your boss’s context, (2) assess yourself and your needs, and (3) develop and maintain a mutually supportive relationship.
VIII. SHARING POWER: EMPOWERMENT
Sharing the power within an organization is empowerment. This creates a condition for heightened motivation through the development of a strong sense of personal self-efficacy. The essence of empowerment resides in the four dimensions of meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact. In implementing empowerment, managers should: express confidence in employees and set high performance expectations, create opportunities for employees to participate in decision making, remove constraints that stifle autonomy, and set inspirational goals.
IX. MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: USING POWER EFFECTIVELY
X. LOOKING BACK: B2-4B Program Aims to Bring the Power of Technology to Third
· Power is the ability to influence others. Influence is the process of affecting the thoughts, behavior, and feelings of others. Authority is the right to influence others.
· French and Raven's five forms of interpersonal power are reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, and expert power. Information power is another form of interpersonal power.
· The key to using all of these types of power well is to use them ethically.
· McClelland believes personal power is negative and social power is positive.
· Intergroup power sources include control of critical resources and strategic contingencies.
· According to Etzioni's power analysis, the characteristics of the organization are an important factor in deciding the type of power to use.
· Recognizing symbols of both power and powerlessness is a key diagnostic skill for managers.
· Organizational politics is an inevitable feature of work life. Political behavior consists of actions not officially sanctioned that are taken to influence others in order to meet personal goals. Managers should take a proactive role in managing politics.
· The employee–boss relationship is an important political relationship. Employees can use their skills to develop more effective working relationships with their bosses.
· Empowerment is a positive strategy for sharing power throughout the organization.
REVIEW QUESTIONS: SUGGESTED ANSWERS
1. What are the five types of power according to French and Raven? What are the effects of these types of power? What is information power?
The five forms of interpersonal power are (1) reward, enabling an individual to grant positive reinforcements to employees, (2) referent, enabling an individual to influence others based on charisma or admiration, (3) coercive, which rests on being able to administer negative consequences, (4) legitimate, enabling the individual to take advantage of his or her official authority, and (5) expert, when an individual utilizes knowledge or expertise that transfers to the circumstance needing influence. Reward and coercive power lead to compliance, but they both require the manager to be present to dole out rewards and punishment, thus creating dependency relationships. Legitimate power produces compliance, but doesn't necessarily lead to goal accomplishment or employee satisfaction. Referent power has been linked with organizational commitment, but it is also potentially dangerous. Expert power has the strongest relationship with employee performance and satisfaction. Information power is access to and control over important information.
2. What are the intergroup sources of power?
The ability to control critical resources is an important resource for groups. In addition, groups that control strategic contingencies have a resource that others in the organization depend on to complete their tasks. The strategic contingencies include the ability to cope with uncertainty, a high degree of centrality within the organization, and nonsubstitutability.
3. Distinguish between personal and social power. What are the four power-oriented characteristics of the best managers?
Personal power is viewed as self-serving. Social power is used for the benefit of the entire organization or its goals. Managers who use power effectively believe in the authority system. They prefer work and discipline, and believe in justice. They are altruistic, and publicly put the organization and its needs before their own.
4. According to Rosabeth Moss Kanter, what are the symbols of power? The symptoms of powerlessness?
Kanter lists 7 symbols, including (1) the ability to intercede for someone, (2) ability to get placements for favored employees, (3) exceeding budget limitations, (4) procuring above-average raises for employees, (5) getting items on the agenda at meetings, (6) access to early information, (7) and having top managers seek out one’s opinion. You exhibit powerlessness if you are overly supervised, have inflexible adherence to rules, or your supervisor tends to do the job rather than training you to do it. It might be worth asking students which symbols of power will change significantly through empowerment.
How do organizations encourage political activity?
Organizations encourage political activity through unclear goals, autocratic decision making, ambiguous lines of authority, scarce resources, and uncertainty.
Which influence tactics are most effective?
The effectiveness of influence tactics depends on the target – whether the influence attempt is upward, downward, or lateral. Overall, rational persuasion is the most effective influence tactic.
What are some of the characteristics of an effective relationship between you and your boss?
An effective relationship between you and your boss: 1) fits both your needs and styles; 2) is characterized by mutual expectations; 3) keeps the boss informed; 4) is based on dependability and honesty; and 5) selectively uses your boss’s time and resources.
8. What are some ways to empower people at work?
In order to assure their employees are truly empowered, managers should express confidence in them and set high performance expectations, create opportunities for employees to participate in decision making, remove bureaucratic constraints, and set inspirational goals.
DISCUSSION AND COMMUNICATION QUESTIONS: SUGGESTED ANSWERS
1. Who is the most powerful person you know personally? What is it that makes the person so powerful?
Be sure that students answer this question in the context of the information presented in the chapter. The bases of social power and the symbols of power are good for discussion here.
Why is it hard to determine if power has been used ethically?
There are three questions to ask in determining whether power has been used ethically. The questions examine: 1) whether there is a good outcome for people both inside and outside the organization; 2) whether the rights of all parties are respected; and 3) whether all parties are treated fairly and equally. It is sometimes difficult to determine when all of these goals have been met, and they can often conflict.
3. What kinds of membership (alienative, calculative, moral) do you currently have? Is the power used in these relationships congruent?
There should be a significant difference between work-related membership and social organization membership. Students could also compare classroom membership with either of the previous examples. Students should be asked whether a single form of power is appropriate in an organization, as Etzioni suggests.
4. As a student, do you experience yourself as powerful, powerless, or both? On what symbols or symptoms are you basing your perception?
Answers will vary. Sometimes it is useful to analyze the family structure and where the individual falls among siblings.
5. How does attribution theory explain the reactions supervisors can have to influence tactics?
How can managers prevent the negative consequences of political behavior?
Supervisors will react differently to influence attempts depending upon the attribution they make for the reason for the influence attempts. Managers can prevent the negative consequences of political behavior through having clear policies and procedures, and through proactive communication with subordinates.
6. Are people in your work environment empowered? How could they become more empowered?
Most of the positions that students have held are largely powerless. It is helpful to point out that it is not the position than renders them empowered or powerless, but the nature of the organization.
7. Chapter 2 discussed power distance as a dimension of cultural differences. How would empowerment efforts be different in a country with high power distance?
The empowerment goal would probably be much more difficult to initiate. "Unfreezing" the cultural norm would be challenging, because people would believe in the legitimacy of hierarchy.
8. Think of a person you admire. Write a newspaper feature analyzing the person’s use of power in terms of the ideas presented in the chapter.
This is a good task to help students learn to write in an understandable way without using too much academic jargon.
ETHICS QUESTIONS: SUGGESTED ANSWERS
1. Which of French and Raven's five types of power has the most potential for abuse? How can the abuse be prevented?
Any of them can be abused. One that students might not name as readily as legitimate authority is referent power. Individuals who are charismatic have the ability to sway individuals in areas where they often have little or no expertise. For example, why should you vote for a political candidate because an actor or actress supports that person? Many cults also have leaders with significant referent power. Referent power may be an ego builder for the power holder, and thus holds potential for abuse.
2. Under what circumstances is it ethical to manipulate people for the good of the organization?
If the situation satisfies the following three conditions, then it could be considered ethical to manipulate people for the good of the organization: 1) there is a good outcome for people both inside and outside the organization; 2) the rights of all parties are respected; and 3) all parties are treated fairly and equally. However, managers must be careful not to adopt a Machiavellian attitude in assuming that the end justifies the means. There are numerous examples in which companies believed the end justified the means and abused their power.
3. Are moral memberships the only ethical organizational memberships? That is, can alienative and calculative memberships be ethical? Explain.
Discussion on this issue might center on the idea that the memberships themselves are neither ethical nor unethical. However, the use of various forms of power may be considered ethical or unethical, depending on the membership.
4. What are the most common forms of political behavior that you see in your work or school environment? Are they ethical or unethical? Explain.
Students should be careful not to mention individuals or companies by name, and should focus their answers on behavior.
5. Is it possible to have an organization where all power is equally shared, or is the unequal distribution of power a necessary evil in organizations? Explain.
Students may confuse the concepts of organization and reporting lines with equally shared power. Empowerment does not take away responsibility, nor would it necessarily result in ineffectiveness. It would most likely be inefficient, especially in the early stages. The benefits of empowerment probably outweigh its inefficiencies in most organizations.
11.1 EVALUATE YOUR POLITICAL POTENTIAL
Students often have a very negative view of politics in organizations, because the press typically reports only the negative outcomes of political behavior. This challenge provides them with an opportunity to think more broadly about political behavior and to apply it to their particular situations. You may want to discuss whether any of these characteristics seem contradictory (i.e., sensitive and devious).
11.2 ARE YOU SELF-EMPOWERED?
To go beyond the challenge, you may want to ask students to develop an action plan for becoming more self-empowered, particularly if they scored low on this scale. This exercise might also lead to discussion related to the types of jobs or careers individuals might be most comfortable in given their level of self-empowerment.
11.1 social power role plays
The French and Raven’s (1959) taxonomy of bases of social power is a useful conceptual tool. In an organizational behavior course, we invariably deal with notions of power, influence, and authority, often as a prelude to getting into issues of leadership. The distinctions among legitimate, expert, referent, reward, punishment, and information bases of social power are also very relevant. While the material can be presented in lectures using relevant and entertaining illustrations, students often do not appreciate the richness of the concepts. This experiential exercise involves students in learning the material in an active way.
Goals of the Exercise
Three things happen with the exercise: (1) students get an opportunity to devise influence attempts based on the French and Raven taxonomy; (2) the class assesses the probable results of using each kind of power; and (3) the class could more clearly focus on understanding social power at work in the class itself. This exercise is most effective one-third of the way into a typical course, when control and influence issues are most salient.
Divide the class into six groups of equal size, each of which is assigned one of the power bases. (It is helpful to have three or four people who do not join a group but remain outside to assist with data collection and tabulation.) The groups are given the same scenario, which involves one person (a teacher) attempting to influence another person (a student). Each group has 10-15 minutes to prepare an actual influence plan using the type of power that has been assigned their group.
You may wish to tailor the presented situations to your own needs. The following one has worked well with undergraduate classes.
You are an instructor in a college class and have become aware that a potentially good student is repeatedly absent from class and is sometimes unprepared when he is there. He seems to be satisfied with the grade he is getting, but you would like to see him attend regularly, be better prepared, and thus, do better in the class. You even feel that the student might get really turned on pursuing a career in this field, which is an exciting one for you. You are respected and liked by your students, and it kind of irritates you that this person treats your dedicated teaching with such a cavalier attitude. You want to influence the student to start attending class regularly.
This situation may be particularly useful because it allows you to discuss, at the conclusion of the exercise, your position in the class and how that particular class might respond if you were to use these different kinds of power.
When all groups have completed their planning, each selects one member to play the instructor. In the development of their role play, the group has to decide where the influence attempt is to take place (in the classroom, teacher's office, snack bar, and so forth). The group may also pick, from their own or another group, a “student” who is to be the recipient of the “instructor’s” attempt.
While the role play is going on, the students in other groups are asked to think of themselves as the student being influenced. They fill out the “Reaction to Influence Questionnaire.” After each presentation, all students outside the playing group record their reactions as if they were the student being addressed by the teacher. As an option, the forms can be collected by the assistants who tabulate the results while the next group is playing the influencer. When all groups have presented, the aggregated response to each question by influence type can be displayed on the board for discussion. (The assistants are helpful since the data comes in fast, and your time is spent coordinating role playing. It's helpful for the assistants to have calculators.) The entire activity, including introductory lecture and post-exercise discussion, can be completed in 50-70 minutes.
The data allow the generation of tentative answers to several interesting questions:
1. Which kind of influence is most likely to immediately result in the desired behavior?
2. Which will have the most long-lasting effects?
3. What effect will using a particular base of power have on the ongoing relationship?
4. Which form of power will others find most acceptable?
The group can use the answers to these questions to begin to draw a contingency framework for the use of different kinds of power. Under what conditions will a particular kind of influence be most effective and what will be the likely side effects?
It is fruitful to share your own reactions to the data. A typical class had the following mean response (5 = high agreement):
Q#2 Q#3 Q#4 Q#5
Punishment 4.0 3.1 2.1 1.6
Reward 3.9 3.6 4.2 4.2
Referent 2.9 2.2 3.4 4.6
Legitimate 3.3 2.1 2.4 1.2
Expert 3.7 3.3 3.4 3.6
Information 2.5 2.3 2.8 2.7
For this group, it is clear that you could get compliance by using punishment; however, that would have a detrimental effect on your ongoing relationships with students (they have power of their own of all six types!). Likewise, using your superior role may get results but not without relationship costs. It looks as if rewards are the most effective way to influence this group, but you can also rely on your expertise.
Anecdotal data collected following class sessions leads to the belief that this is an effective way of teaching the French and Raven model. Most students appear to be actively and thoughtfully involved, and when asked to evaluate the class, give high marks.
*Adapted with permission from Gib Akin, Exchange 3, No. 4 (1978): 38-39.
11.2 empowerment in the classroom
Stress to the students that the ideas do not have to be workable, just discussible. One of the ways to keep the discussion moving is to ask students to keep in mind the goals and mission of the university. This deters comments with simplified solutions like, no grades, no classes, no teachers, etc.
Alternative experiential exercise
The power dependency model allows students to analyze the influences on their lives. Once students begin this exercise, they are typically surprised at the number of influence and power points that are surrounding them. Be sure to mention that work experience is not necessary to complete this exercise. Students may choose to view the environment they are in as a student.
A Power /Dependency Analysis of Your Position
from R. E. Quinn, S. R. Faerman, M. P.Thompson, M. R. McGrath, Becoming a Master Manager, A Competency Framework, Wiley and Sons, c1990, 273.
In some areas of your life you have a great deal of control over power and influence. On the other hand, in organizations you may have little control over power.
The diagram below illustrates the network of power and influence for a hospital manager. The degree that the manager depends on people and positions and the degree of emphasis are indicated between the position and the hospital manager.
On a separate sheet, list your organization and provide five medium and five high dependency categories. You may choose a position in an organization with which you have experience, or you could analyze your position as a student or a member of your family. After you have completed your list, answer the following questions, first to yourself, and then, if time permits, in small groups.
1. Whom do you really depend on in the position you're analyzing? How important is each dependency? What is the basis of each dependency?
2. Are any of these dependencies inappropriate or dysfunctional? What can you do about that?
3. How do you maintain your own base of influence in each of these dependencies? Do you feel you have a base of influence in each of them?
4. What kinds of power and influence do you think you need to develop further? What resources can help you?
HOSPITAL MANAGER - EXAMPLE
HIGH DEPENDENCY MEDIUM DEPENDENCY
Mayor's office City bureaucracy
Accreditation agency State government
Main employee union Local community groups
Eleven smaller unions Other hospitals in the city
Civil service Local press
Affiliated medical school Federal government
Exercise Learning Objectives:
a. Students will be able to define power and explore how they use it.
b. Students should understand that different people view the concept of power differently and that groups get strengths from that difference.
1. Students should have taken the MBTI or the short version in Chapter 3.
2. Students will be formed into groups based on how they perceive themselves obtaining energy.
3. Students will use the text as a reference.
a. Ask students to form groups based on E or I energy direction. Limit 6 students to a group--make enough groups so that everyone is in a group of at least 4 people.
b. The instructor asks each individual to define power.
c. The instructor has each individual review the text chapter on power and identify the types of power they use most often.
d. The instructor now asks the groups to discuss their research; the end result will be a group statement that defines power and identifies the most common uses of power by that group. The instructor should ask the students to give specific examples of when and where they've used power.
e. Report out--look for similarities and differences.
What the instructor should expect:
a. The "E" group should give the impression that power is the continual gathering and using of information. Power is an external, organizational issue. With "Es", you will sense that power is "overpowering" others, up front, and outwardly directed.
b. The "I" group should give the impression that power is internal, kept close to the vest, used diligently, and almost a personal issue. With "I" you will sense that power is "quietly" used, behind-the-scenes, and inwardly directed.
As we've pointed out, power means different things to different people. Additionally, people use power differently even when going after the same result. Some people are very outwardly directed in most everything they do. These people can appear to be overpowering and, when in a powerful position, overbearing.
Other people are more inwardly directed and hence their use of power is more subtle--kept within. Even when in a position of power these people may give the appearance of being unwilling to use their power.
In both instances, outward or inward use, complete understanding of the types of power and your personal preferences of its use will help you as you enter and progress in your chosen field.
EXTRA EXPERIENTIAL EXERCISES
The following alternative exercises to supplement the material in the textbook can be obtained from:
Marcic, Dorothy, Seltzer, Joseph, & Vaill, Peter. Organizational Behavior: Experiences and Cases, 6th Ed. South Western College Publishing Company, 2001.
Empowerment. p. 103-116. Time: 25-60 minutes.
Purpose: To introduce the topic of empowerment; to help individuals focus on the skills needed to be empowering; to help individuals distinguish between what makes them feel empowered and what makes them feel powerless.
A Simple - But Powerful - Power Simulation. p. 119-120. Time: 60 minutes or more.
Purpose: To understand power dynamics in organizations.
CASE QUESTIONS: SUGGESTED ANSWERS
The American Heart Association: Exercising Influence through Public Advocacy
The chapter defines influence as “the process of affecting the thoughts, behavior, or feelings of another person.” Explain the American Heart Association’s public advocacy programs in the context of this definition.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has the “goal of reducing heart disease and stroke by 25% by the year 2010.” The AHA’s public advocacy programs are geared toward influencing policy makers and legislators to make a difference in the fight against heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases, thereby contributing to the realization of the 25% heart disease and stroke reduction goal.
Using Table 11.2 as a point of departure, describe the influence tactics that the American Heart Association uses in its various approaches to public advocacy.
The two influence tactics that predominately characterize the American Heart Association’s public advocacy programs are coalition building and rational persuasion.
The AHA seeks to influence policy and resource allocation decisions through its participation in The National Coalition for Heart and Stroke Research and its linkage to and promotion of The Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition. The National Coalition for Heart and Stroke Research unites organizations in working for increased funding for heart and stroke research. “The coalition is a catalyst for the coordination of research advocacy efforts of its member organizations. This includes the coordination of strategy development, information sharing, participation in ‘lobby day,’ and developing coordinated grassroots efforts.” The American Heart Association encourages it Web site visitors to e-mail their senators and representatives, asking them to join The Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition. This Coalition works to raise awareness of cardiovascular diseases, serves as a resource center on relevant issues, and seeks to advance public policy aimed at fighting cardiovascular diseases.
Coalition building is also evident in the successful efforts of the president of the American Heart Association to form a strategic alliance with four agencies of the federal government. This public/private partnership will help the AHA achieve its goal of significantly improving cardiovascular health. Finally, the creation of the Grassroots Network can be considered to be a form of coalition building.
The AHA uses rational persuasion to influence the actions of The National Coalition for Heart and Stroke Research. Rational persuasion is also used through the Grassroots Network, wherein the AHA asks members to write, call, or visit decision makers at the local, state, and federal levels to express their views on important AHA issues. Rational persuasion is further evident in the action alerts of the AHA’s Legislative Action Center, and in the Center’s provision of tips regarding how to effectively contact members of Congress.
Suppose that you considered joining the Grassroots Network of the American Heart Association. Why would you join the Network and what would you do to try to exercise influence through the Network?
This question provides students with an opportunity to examine their own motivation for joining (or for that matter, not joining) a volunteer organization that seeks to influence public policy which impacts cardiovascular health. They also have the opportunity to explore how they would behave in response to their personal motivation by identifying the influence mechanisms they would be most likely to use. In discussing how they might try to exercise influence, the students could draw of the influence tactics that are described in Table 11.2.
Additional role plays relevant to the material in this chapter are located in Appendix A of this instructor's manual.