Power-base

WHO

Group

WHERE

Group-room

YOU NEED

Computer, Mac, Pen, paper

FACILITATOR

Host

Intention

In this task, we create awareness of our current power base, to be able to make better use of the power we have, and over time increase our level of influence. We start by describing where we currently have the capacity to have influence, based on our position, structures, relational skills, etc. This allows us to ask whether we are using our power in the way we would like to, and what personal strategies to use to use it better.

Introduction: Power is a complicated concept that is often associated with being destructive or misusing our influence. Here, we approach power as a neutral force, as a relative ability to influence the people and processes around us.

In critical management studies, they differ between low-influence-persons and high-influence-persons. Understanding power-structures and how to increase your level of influence is a part of both leading or being a leader (Alvesson 2011). A lot of texts on leadership avoid the topic of power, because of the common view of power as something negative or destructive. If we assume that power is a neutral force or a relational phenomenon, this changes, and we will have to learn how to use power in an ethical way that does not hurt others.

Studies on power usually differ in three aspects. Either it is seen as an uneven relation, where one part can influence to a higher degree than the other. Where the one who has power can put forth her/his will, even if there is resistance. Today we often view this view of power as unethical, tainted with misuse and destructive action. Another view is power as a mandate that is earned or given as a right, you have here a right to influence something. It is then given to one part through, procedures position, knowledge or/and norms. The last view is that power is not something that a person 'has', but it's a relational phenomenon, in play between people at all times through interaction (Karp 2016). It could also be important to note that your power-base is not only a result of external circumstances but also what you say to yourself about yourself. To get to know your power base, you need to know yourself. This self-awareness forms the basis for how much you can influence others and what power you have.

How:

1

(30min) Where do you have power right now? What gives you power? Describe or map out your current power base, trying to be as objective as possible. You can use the following questions as guidance.

Structural: What power do your formal roles give you? What can your resources do for you? What power does your position in society give you? What power does your education and cultural knowledge give? What alliances/ partners do you have? Personal:

Who listens to you? What power does your personality give you? Which networks do you have access to? What can you do that influences the attitudes and actions of others? (e.g. using language, rhetoric, symbols, structures, and processes) The answers to the questions make up your power base. It can give you some sense of your level of influence.

2

(30min) Reflect on your insights together with your buddy Guiding questions: Do you dare to use your power, or are you uncomfortable with it? What could you do to increase your level of influence/power? Where do you need to be aware of not misusing your power? When do you feel powerless? What can you do about it?

3

(30min) Share key insights with your team and discuss the topic of power.

Referances:

Karp, Tom. Til Meg Selv, 2016.

Alvesson, Mats, ed. 2011. The Oxford Handbook of Critical Management Studies. Reprint edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA.

Firth, Joshua, and Brigid Carrol. 2017. β€œLeadership and Power.” The Routledge Companion to Leadership.

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