Notes on pfeffer book

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Rex Mitchell - 1/09/06

Pfeffer, Jeffrey (1994). Managing with power: Politics and influence in organizations. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
This is an excellent book and very worth reading, although somewhat complex and detailed. These notes are designed to introduce you to many of the most important points in the book. Note the following regarding formatting in these notes: (a) numerals in parentheses are page numbers; (b) entries are quotations unless preceded by an asterisk; similar items may be grouped together.
Ch.1 - Decisions and Implementation

(p.4) Confronted with a problem... or opportunities... organizations are often unable to get things accomplished in a timely manner. (*gives examples of 1989 Bay Area earthquake and only the Bay bridge repaired after 18 months, also delay from 1981 to 1984 in screening blood for AIDS, also failure of Xerox to capitalize on its PARC developments in the mid-1970s that were used by Apple to create the Lisa in 1983, then Mac, then Windows)

(7) It is my thesis that problems of implementation are, in many instances, problems in developing political will and expertiseBthe desire to accomplish something, even against opposition, and the knowledge and skills that make it possible to do so. Today more than ever, it is necessary to study power and to learn to use it skillfully...
(8) Organizations, particularly large ones, are like governments in that they are fundamentally political entities. To understand them, one needs to understand organizational politics, just as to understand governments, one needs to understand governmental politics.

(10) It is not clear that by ignoring the social realities of power and influence we can make them go away...

By pretending that power and influence don't exist, or at least shouldn't exist, we contribute to what I and some others (such as John Gardner) see as the major problem facing many corporations today, particularly in the United StatesBthe almost training or produced incapacity of anyone except the highest-level managers to take action and get things accomplished.

(12 quoting John Gardner, 1990) In this countryBand in most other democraciesBpower has such a bad name that many good people persuade themselves they want nothing to do with it... But one cannot abjure power. Power, as we are now speaking of it... is simply the capacity to bring about certain intended consequences in the behavior of others... To say a leader is preoccupied with power, is like saying that a tennis player is preoccupied with making shots his opponent cannot return. Of course leaders are preoccupied with power! The significant questions are: What means do they use to gain it? How do they exercise it? To what ends do they exercise it?

(12) Bennis and Nanus, 1985 noted "These days power is conspicuous by its absence. Powerlessness in the face of crisis... Power, the basic energy to initiate and sustain action translating intention into reality, the quality without which leaders cannot lead... power is at once the most necessary and the most distrusted element exigent to human progress... power is the basic energy needed to initiate and sustain action or, to put it another way, the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it."
(13) That we are ambivalent about power is undeniable. ...(*quoting Rosabeth Kanter) "Power is America's last dirty word. It is easier to talk about moneyBand much easier to talk about sexBthan it is to talk about power."
(14) *1980 survey of managers' feelings about workplace politics: statements, then % expressing strong or moderate agreement:

1. The existence of workplace politics is common to most organizations (93.2%)

2. Successful executives must be good politicians (89.0)

3. The higher you go in organizations, the more political the climate becomes (76.2)

4. Powerful executives don't act politically (15.7)

5. You have to be political to get ahead in organizations (69.8)

6. Top management should try to get rid of politics within the organization (48.6)

7. Politics help organizations function effectively (42.1)

8. Organizations free of politics are happier than those where there is a lot of politics (59.1)

9. Politics in organizations are detrimental to efficiency (55.1)
(14) ...(I) define organizational politics as the exercise or use of power, with power being defined as a potential force. ...It is as if we know that power and politics exist, and we even grudgingly admit that they are necessary to individual success, but we don't like them.
(16) There is no doubt that power and influence can be acquired and exercised for evil purposes. (*e.g., Jonestown) ...Power and political processes in organizations can be used to accomplish great things. They are not always used in this fashion, but that does not mean we should reject them out of hand. It is interesting that when we use power ourselves, we see it as a good force and wish we had more. When others use it against us, particularly when it is used to thwart our goals or ambitions, we see it as an evil. A more sophisticated and realistic view would see it for what it isBan important social process that is often required to get things accomplished in interdependent systems.
(19) [*An alternative perspective on decision making]

1. A decision by itself changes nothing

2. At the moment a decision is made, we cannot possibly know whether it is good or bad

3. We almost invariably spend more time living with the consequences of our decisions than we do in making them.

[*Therefore, should spend more attention and time on implementation]
(24) *Three problems/limitations of hierarchy as a way of getting things done:

1. It is out of fashion and less effective than in the past

2. Many positions and projects need the cooperation of others who are not in our chain of command

3. The top boss may be wrong

(29) [*Process of implementation - this book is about the details of these steps]

1. Decide what your goals are, what you are trying to accomplish

2. Diagnose patterns of dependence and interdependence; what individuals are influential and important in your achieving your goal?

3. What are their points of view likely to be? How will they feel about what you are trying to do?

4. What are their power bases? Which of them is more influential in the decision?

5. What are your bases of power and influence? What bases of influence can you develop to gain more control over the situation?

6. Which of the various strategies and tactics for exercising power seem most appropriate and are likely to be effective, given the situation you confront?

7. Based on the above, choose a course of action to get something done.

(30) ...all too often, otherwise intelligent and successful managers have problems because they did not recognize the political nature of the situation, or because they were blindsided by someone whose position and strength they had not anticipated.

Power is defined here as the potential ability to influence behavior, to change the course of events, to overcome resistance, and to get people to do things that they would not otherwise do. Politics and influence are the processes, the actions, the behaviors through which this potential power is utilized and realized.

Ch.2 - When Is Power Used?

(33) Although power plays an important part in organizational activity, not all decisions and actions within an organization involve power to the same extent, nor are conflicts of power equally common in every organization. It is important to be able to recognize and diagnose the context if you are to implement your plans effectively. Not understanding the degree to which the situation is politicized may cause a person either to use power and influence when it is unnecessary, and thereby violate behavioral norms as well as waste resources, or to underestimate the extent to which power needs to be employed, and fail in the task of implementation.
(37) ...these data together suggest that power is more important in major decisions, such as those made at higher organizational levels and those that involve crucial issues like reorganizations and budget allocations; for domains in which performance is more difficult to assess such as staff rather than line production operations; and in instances in which there is likely to be uncertainty and disagreement.
(38) Power is used more frequently under conditions of moderate interdependence. [*with little interdependence, there is no need to develop power or exercise influence; with high interdependence, people have incentives to work together]
(47) These examples illustrate the more general point: your success in an organization depends not only on your intelligence, industriousness, and luck, but also on the match between your political skills and what is required in the position you occupy.
Ch.3 - Diagnosing Power and Dependence

(49) To be successful in getting things done in organizations, it is critical that you be able to diagnose the relative power of the various participants and comprehend the patterns of interdependence. One needs to know and understand not only the game, but also the players.

(50) Three tasks to assess power distributions in an organization:

1. The relevant subunits or subdivisions must be identified

2. Come up with some indicators of power and apply them to the units to assess their relative power ranking

3. The patterns of dependence and interdependence among them must be considered to determine an effective course of action

(54-64 re task #2, some indicators of power) *reputation, positions, membership, observe consequences including pay, location, other symbols of power (need multiple indicators).
(64) [*However, need to consider cultural differences - in different organizations as well as across geographic differences] In diagnosing power cross-culturally, one must be careful not to import, without question, the same indicators one might use in the United States...In the United States, both power and salary are related to the status and capability of the individual... However, in Japanese organizations, power and salary distributions are based on somewhat different criteria... Salary is determined largely by the age, length of service,... Power... is based on the expertise of the individual.

(65) The best way to diagnose power in Japanese corporations is not, therefore, to look at the formal distinctions conveyed by salary, rank, or office space. These are all quite equal, often based on age or seniority, and in many instances, they have been designed intentionally to mask the real distribution of power. ...because of the importance of consultation in decision making, the best diagnostic tool is the pattern of interaction among individuals involved in the decision. Who gets consulted, at what point, and with what result provides information about where power resides.

(67 re task #3, assess power distributions) [*set of four questions to diagnose interdependence, could substitute a name or group for "I"]:

1. Whose cooperation will I need to accomplish what I am attempting; whose support will be necessary in order to get the appropriate decisions made and implemented?

2. Whose opposition could delay or derail what I am trying to do?

3. Who will be affected by what I am trying to accomplish, in either (a) their power or status, (b) how they are evaluated or rewarded, or (c) in how they do their job?

4. Who are the friends and allies of the people I have identified as influential?

* Pfeffer's Ch. 4 is his overview; Ch. 5-9 elaborate on this.
(69) Although individual attributes are important, my view is that being in the right place is more essential. Factors that create the power of an organizational position: control over resources, control and access to information, and formal position. Then, how each of these is affected by the subunit. Finally individual characteristics that reflect the ability of an individual to reach good organizational locations and to make the most out of the resources at hand.
Ch. 4 - Where Does Power Come From?

* See my Web module, Fundamental Notes on Power, regarding the five sources (categories) of power we will be using in this class, listed below:

1. Formal authority & reputation

2. Resources: control, acquisition, & creation - giving ability to reward and punish

3. System connections & positioning: centrality, political access, visibility, relevance (alignment), criticality, discretion, non-substitutability

4. Expertise: including information, performance, professional credibility, & fit with organizational requirements

5. Personal: charisma, attractiveness, energy, stamina, focus, determination, communication skills, personal reputation, flexibility, able to confront, able to let others get credit

Use Ch. 4-9 to expand on and help you understand some of the elements within these five categories.

(73) Not only do we over-attribute power to personal characteristics, but often the characteristics we believe to be sources of power are almost as plausibly the consequences (italics added) of power instead.
(76 re structural sources of power) The point about situational sources of power is that one possesses power simply by being in the right place - by being in a position of authority, in a place to resolve uncertainty, in a position to broker among various subunits and external vendors - almost regardless of one=s individual characteristics. ...Of course, not all people in the same situations are able to do equally well.
(78 re matching personal characteristics to the situation) Ronald Reagan... came to office at a time in which mass communication, through the medium of television, was essential. Reagan had no skill in dealing with details, but was a Agreat communicator.@ Lyndon Johnson rose to power at a time when television was less important, and part organizations were stronger. The ability to pay attention to small details and the willingness to do favors for colleagues and constituents were critical. Had Reagan and Johnson been able to exchange decades, it is likely that neither one would have been elected president.
Ch. 5 - Resources, Allies, and the New Golden Rule

( 83) *New Golden Rule: the person with the gold makes the rules.

(84-88 re *several examples of building a power base, Robert Moses in NYC and Lyndon Johnson in Washington.)

(87) "in a niche that is largely uncontested. Then, having obtained a position of influence in an organization, figure out how to use that organization to obtain resources that are more consequential and substantial. This requires determining how to create resources and to make others dependent on you for things that they need."

(92) Power is vested in us by the dependence of others... another strategy for developing power is to ensure that there are no alternative ways of obtaining access to valuable resources we control. (*note examples p.88-92)

(100) ...the ability to bring in resources provides an independent and important source of power. ...Power can often be increased by finding underutilized resources and exploiting them.

(110) One needs friends and allies to attend to the many details of implementation, which are often too much for one person. One also needs allies to help fend off attacks from rivals for power. In getting things done, building coalitions of support, as well as finding and developing resources, are essential activities. (*note examples of gaining and losing allies (p.101-110)

Ch.6 - Location in the Communication Network

(111) ...power is a function of one's position in the network of communications and social relations, where this position is assessed not only simply in terms of structural centrality, but also in terms of the power of the people with whom one is connected.

*Use portions of 111-118 to help you understand the three related aspects of centrality:

o Betweenness: the extent to which a person falls between pairs of other (important) individuals on the communication paths that link them

o Connectedness: the number of (important) others with whom one has contact

o Proximity or Closeness: how quickly/easily one can reach (important) others and, therefore, have relatively more independence from control of access by others

(121) Where one sits has an important effect on the number and content of one's interactions. And this, in turn, influences what one knows, whom one knows, and one's relationship with others.
(124) Cultivation of social relationships, and the jockeying for position in social as well as physical space... is essential. (125) We can work the numbers or the hallsBand often it is more effective to work the halls.
Ch.7 - Formal Authority, Reputation, and Performance

(127) A major source of power is your reputation in the organizationBhow well you have performed in this and previous positions, particularly in terms of getting things done and holding onto power.

(130) The power inherent in a given formal position is... power invested in that position by all (or at least most) members of the social organization. ...Leaders cannot maintain authority ...unless followers are prepared to believe in that authority. In a sense, leadership is conferred by followers.
(135-7 re the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy, which is an important concept we will elaborate on in class) ...which notes the effects of expectations on behavior. People who are expected to succeed tend to do well, while those who are expected to fail often perform poorly. ..Another reason why perceptions can become reality is that perceptions affect how others interact with us, and we respond accordingly.
(140) (*Two points re importance of reputation:) First, what happens early is critical. ...The second implication concerns the question of when to fight on the losing side of an issue. ...Just as a person is known by the company he or she keeps, we are known by the issues we are associated with, and by what happens to those issues when they are decided.
(142) Position, reputation, and performance are interrelated, and if any of the three is favorable, the others will be positively affected.

(143) In most organizations, performance means being knowledgeable, drawing criticism away from the boss, and accomplishing things that make the subunit and the boss look good.

[143 example re Robert Moses in NYC] But such considerations [*building the right public works in the right places] pale in comparison with the ability to provide answers and to reduce uncertainty at all.

(144) Performance is an important source of power in organizations. But we need to understand performance for what is usually isBthe ability to exercise influence and get something done. We also need to deemphasize our preoccupation with correctness as a measure of performance. Being correct is not always the same as solving problems for the boss and the organization, which are the accomplishments that really define performance in most organizations. (*Although cynical, there is much truth in these comments.)

Ch. 8 - The Importance of Being in the Right Unit

(149) ...people fare better if they are in favored units in the organization. (*note examples, then skim the rest of the chapter, which talks about some of the factors that provide some units with more power than others: unity, solving critical problems, being irreplaceable, and having pervasiveness of activity and involvement)

Ch. 9 - Individual Attributes as Sources of Power

(166) (I) emphasize the following characteristics as being particularly important for acquiring and holding great power in organizations:

1. energy, endurance, and physical stamina

2. ability to focus one's energy and avoid wasted effort

3. sensitivity that makes it possible to read and understand others (173, this requires, at least for a moment, to stop thinking about oneself and one's own needs and beliefs)

4. flexibility, particularly with respect to selecting various means to achieve one's goals

5. willingness to engage, when necessary, in conflict and confrontation, or a certain degree of personal toughness

6. ability to submerge one's ego, at least temporarily, and play the good subordinate or team player to enlist the help and support of others

[*The chapter has good examples and comments to help you understand these six characteristics]

(188) It is not enough to know that power exists. It is also critical to know how power is usedBto have an arsenal of strategies and tactics that translate power and influence into practical results.
Ch.10 - Framing

* See my Web module on Framing

* Many good examples in the chapter

(190) (*Contrast and anchoring) We see and experience events in terms of what has just occurred. (*or some other anchor that we have just heard or experienced)

(192ff) *commitment process and the slippery slope of escalating commitment
(199) How can we counteract the principle of commitment, when we need to get others to change their behavior? (*unbinding commitment) One way to do this is to suggest that they were not really responsible for their past decisionsBthey faced external pressures or information that naturally led them to act as they did, but now the situation is different and they are free to do something else.

*Note example of Twelve Angry Men. Fonda argues that, although the evidence made the defendant appear to be guilty, perhaps the defense lawyer did a poor job. He asks only if they have doubts about the verdict. He gets their commitment, not necessarily to change their votes, but at least to talk about the case for an hour...

(201) Scarcity (201) How things look to us also depends on how scarce they are (203) ...what you advocate should always appear to be scarce. If you are looking for a job, you should appear to be in high demand. If you are pitching a proposal, the proposal should only appear to be feasible for a limited time... Even better, someone else should be on the verge of taking advantage of it.
(203-6) good examples (206) Because decisions and actions inevitably have multiple components, which can be viewed along multiple dimensions, the ability to set the terms of the discussion is an important mechanism for influencing organizational behavior... We need to be aware of historyBthe history of commitments, of past choices that set the context within which present events are evaluated, and of the set of cognitive lenses that affect what we see and how we see it. Being skilled at both recognizing and using these ideas provides great leverage in getting the things that you want accomplished.
Ch.11 - Interpersonal Influence

(207) *Three topics in chapter: social proof (we are influenced by what our colleagues are saying and doing), use of ingratiation, and the role of emotions in interpersonal influence

(212 re social proof) (a) Momentum is very important in affecting a decision or accomplishing something. Once a social consensus begins to develop in one direction, it is difficult to change that consensus. (b) It may be more appropriate to think of decisions as unfolding rather than being made. (c) It is invaluable to have allies or supporters to provide evidence of social consensus around a particular position.

(213 re liking and ingratiation) We most prefer to say yes to the requests of people we know and like.

(216) Flattery or ingratiation is a very effective technique of interpersonal influence. [Consider two main possible reactions when you receive a compliment: sincere and accurate or instrumental. Which makes me feel better about myself, including that others do not think I can be easily taken in by flattery?]

(218) One of the more subtle but effective forms of flattery is being responsive and attentive to others.

(220) ...importance of working through friends or mutual acquaintances to influence third parties.

(224 re influence through emotions) Although using expressed or displayed emotion can be an effective technique of interpersonal influence, it is not something everyone can do. There is... some skill involved in the strategic display of emotions.
Ch.12 - Timing Is (Almost) Everything

(227) Actions that are well-timed may succeed, while the same actions, undertaken at a less opportune moment, may have no chance of success (good examples)

1. Being early and moving first: (227) Agee at Bendix in early 1980s. (230) In political struggles, giving the opposition time to get organized and mobilized is not a very good strategy.
2. Delay: (230) One of the best ways to stop something is to delay it, and a very successful way of delaying something is to call for further study or consideration... Delay works for several reasons [(a) proponents may simply tire, (b) backers may not still be around, or (c) sometimes decisions have deadlines - several good examples]
3. The waiting game: (235) *Can appear to be accidental, other times intentional, as in making others wait for you to arrive.
4. Deadlines (237) always favor the side that has the momentum or the edge.
5. Order of consideration (239ff): not only anchoring effects, but also effects of a sequence of decisions and resulting commitments, also interdependence of decisions
6. Propitious moments (243ff): Perhaps the scarcest resource in organizations is attention. Time spent attending to one issue is time not devoted to other concerns. Thus, finding the right set of circumstances to advance one's ideas is critical. (245)
Ch.13 - Politics of Information & Analysis

(247) There is little doubt that information, and the certainty that it can provide, is a source of power... can be used as part of a very important political strategyBgetting one's way through analysis.

(248) Information and analysis are important for getting things done, largely because of our faith in them and in those who seem to have mastered them. But it is not invariably true that they will produce the "right answer," or even a good answer. (e.g., Vietnam War)
(248 and rest of chapter) Four useful points to make about information and analysis as political tactics:

1. Need for the appearance of rationality: Organizations strive for the appearance of rationality and the use ...of information and analysis to justify decisions, even if this information and analysis is mustered after the fact to ratify a decision that has been made for other reasons.

2. Limits of facts and analysis: In complex decisions... it is very unlikely that processes of straightforward analysis will clearly resolve the issue of what to do

3. Selective use of information: Leaving room for the advocacy of criteria and information that favor one's own position, or, in other words, there is the opportunity to use information and analysis selectively. (260) ...this means strategically ignoring information that does not advance one's own point of view.

4. Why there is often no learning or evaluation: The discovery of decision quality is both difficult and often avoided. As a consequence, the opportunity to use information and analysis as potent political weapons is available.
(262) Many decisions have remote or highly indirect connections to the outcomes that are measured... Outcomes are over-determined in the sense that they have multiple causes.

(263) This time lag before decisions come to fruition makes it less likely that who is responsible will be clearly remembered. It is also the case that the very nature of most organizational decision making involves building up some degree of collective responsibility. ...there is a collective unwillingness to determine the causes of past failures.

(265) is important to recognize that the connection between results and what happens to people inside large organizations is quite tenuous, for all the reasons that I have presented. [involving top management] What this means is that we should probably not hesitate to use information and analysis to exercise power in organizations, since the strategy is an effective one and the likelihood of our being called to account for our actions is not very great.
Ch.14 - Changing the Structure to Consolidate Power

(267) Skilled managers employ structure to tactical advantage (*although this is at variance with the well-established principle of using organizational design to ensure the efficient operation of the enterprise)

(268) *Divide and conquer (read examples)

(271) *Expansion of one's domain (see examples)

(274) *Use task forces and committees to institutionalize your power and diffuse responsibility for decisions and actions, co-opt others (read examples)
Ch.15 - Symbolic Action: Language, Ceremonies, and Settings

(279) Given the choice of influencing you through your heart or your head, I will pick the heart. ...Symbolic management operates fundamentally on the principle of illusion, in that using political language, settings, and ceremonies effectively elicits powerful emotions in people, and these emotions interfere with or becloud rational analysis.

* Skim chapter. Is important in practice, but I will not require you to know the material.
Ch.16 - Even the Mighty Fall: How Power Is Lost

(302) For the organization, shifts in power are more often than not therapeutic, permitting new ideas, new information, and new skills to take over and solve critical problems that may have developed under the previous regime. (*But, for the person, loss can be painful, devastating)

(302-6) times change, people don't - several good examples

(306) To avoid losing power we need to be sensitive to sometimes subtle changes in the environment, and to understand how a particular style, a particular set of activities, and a particular approach are effective because they fit the customs and concerns of a specific era. We also need the flexibility to adjust our behavior to accommodate the new reality, even if this means abandoning well-worn habits. People in power are seldom challenged or given bad news, and even when challenged, they have a tendency to reject the discrepant information... It is no wonder, then, that changing circumstances often produce, with some lag, a dynamic that causes those in power to lose that power.

(309) [Easy come, easy go] Power has many sources and position, as we have seen, is only one. Those who plan for long-term survival are quick to use their position to build other sources of power, and never believe that the position itself gives them more security than it really does.
(310) *Pride, privilege, and patience: We sometimes try to reap benefits of position immediately, also let power go to our heads

(311) To be proud is to think that you are almost invariably right, and to fail to bend to the needs of others. It is to set yourself above and apart from others, and thus to forfeit their support. It is a way of behaving that leaves you vulnerable to attack

(315) Regardless of your power or your position, your dependence on others remains. How tempting it is to gloat or to revel in the power you have worked so hard to obtain, and to receive some payoff from your efforts. But, seeking too many benefits too early will invariably undermine the foundations of your power.

Ch.17 - Managing Political Dynamics Productively

(319) ...where does change in organizations come from? Not from the insiders, with their intellectual blinders and their vested interests. Rather, innovation, adaptation, and change almost always come from someone at least partly outside the mainstream.

(321) One problem with power dynamics is that it takes time, energy, and effort to engage in attempts at intraorganizational influence, and some see these efforts as a waste of organizational resources.

(324) A second problem that can arise if power dynamics are not managed successfully is delay.

(326) A third problem can be incomplete analysis.
(328) There is sometimes confusion about what stage the organization is in, or needs to be in. (*Different skills and actions are needed for implementation, changing direction and policy, or figuring out what to do in the first place.)
(323) *Story about Alfred Sloan, when he ran GM in the 1920s and 1930s, Awho would refuse to make a decision at a meeting if no one could argue a strong case against what was being proposed. He felt that if no one had any objections to what was being decided, it was because they had not thought long and hard enough about the question under consideration.@
(336) ...change in large organizations is often the result of a political process, in which power dynamics play a prominent role. But such change does not guarantee a favorable outcome for the organization. Power and politics may be useful and necessary to align the organization with its environmental contingencies, but there are no guarantees that the process will inevitably work out well... power dynamics are often useful for organizational adaptation; we can say with much less assurance whether the changes they produce will be beneficial for organizational effectiveness or performance.
Ch.18 - Managing with Power

(337) It is one thing to understand powerBhow to diagnose it, what are its sources, what are the strategies and tactics for its use, how it is lost. It is quite another thing to use that knowledge in the world at large. And putting the knowledge of power and influence into actionBmanaging with powerBis essential for those who seek to get things accomplished.

(340ff) What does it mean, to manage with power?

1. Recognize that there are varying interests, diagnose the political landscape and figure out the interests and groupings

2. Figure out what point of view these various individuals and subunits have on issues of concern to us. ..and why

3. Recognize you need more power than those whose opposition you must overcome ...try to get it our sources of power

4. Understanding the strategies and tactics through which power is developed and used in organizations, including the importance of timing, use of structure, ...
(342) It means being ...willing to do something with knowledge. It requires political savvy to get things done, and the willingness to force the issue.
(345, last paragraph in book) This is why power and influence are not the organization's last dirty secret, but the secret of success for both individuals and their organizations. Innovation and change in almost any arena require the skill to develop power, and the willingness to employ it to get things accomplished. Or, in the words of a local radio newscaster, "If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own."

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