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OB 377: The Paths to Power

Power and influence processes are ubiquitous and important in organizations, so leaders need to be able both to understand power and to act on that knowledge. This course has three objectives: 1) increasing students' ability to diagnose and analyze power and politics in organizational situations; 2) increase students' skills in exercising power effectively; and 3) helping students come to terms with the inherent dilemmas and choices, and their own ambivalence, involved in developing and exercising influence. Topics covered include: the sources of power, including individual attributes and structural position; dealing with resistance and conflict; obtaining allies and supporters; maintaining power; how and why power is lost; living in the limelight--the price of having power; preparing oneself to obtain power; and the use of language and symbolism in exercising power.The class involves a reasonably large number of written, self-reflective assignments as well as two individual projects ( more »
Power and influence processes are ubiquitous and important in organizations, so leaders need to be able both to understand power and to act on that knowledge. This course has three objectives: 1) increasing students' ability to diagnose and analyze power and politics in organizational situations; 2) increase students' skills in exercising power effectively; and 3) helping students come to terms with the inherent dilemmas and choices, and their own ambivalence, involved in developing and exercising influence. Topics covered include: the sources of power, including individual attributes and structural position; dealing with resistance and conflict; obtaining allies and supporters; maintaining power; how and why power is lost; living in the limelight--the price of having power; preparing oneself to obtain power; and the use of language and symbolism in exercising power.The class involves a reasonably large number of written, self-reflective assignments as well as two individual projects (doing a power diagnosis on an external organization that is important to the person) and a doing-power project (using the class material during the quarter to gain power in some group or organization). The class emphasis is on both learning the conceptual material and also incorporating it into one's own strategies and behaviors.
Terms: Win | Units: 3
Instructors: Pfeffer, J. (PI)
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