The Role of Influence Processes in an Organization

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The Role of Influence Processes in an Organization

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Nahavandi (2006) defines leadership as the process of influencing other people to accomplish shared objectives. On the other hand, Baldwin and Grayson (2004) argues that  leadership is a transactional event that occurs between leaders and their followers. Leadership has several components and they include change and culture management, community collaboration, strategy development, organizational design and visioning (Baldwin & Grayson, 2004). The role of leadership in an organization cannot be underestimated. Six influence processes are used by leaders to shape the strategic direction and performance of an organization. This paper discusses the influence processes that leaders use to transform their organizations.

Influence processes

Direct decisions

Leaders often face changing business environments. Depending on the complexity of the situation, a leader is supposed to make direct decisions and provide clear and direct communication. These decisions influence the direction that an organization takes besides shaping the organization’s culture. For instance, a leader could decide to change the organization structure by reducing the levels of management and increasing the span of control as a way of reducing costs and enhancing communication between workers in all levels.

Allocation of resources

Besides making direct decisions, leaders are charged with the responsibility of allocating resources in order to achieve the set objectives. The top management has direct control over human and capital resources and how they are used in order to support the strategic initiatives of an organization. In this regard, a leader could allocate more resources to growth functions such as innovation while outsourcing the support functions. In addition, a leader could decide to sell off parts of business that do not fit strategically with the organization’s objectives and then use these resources for process-engineering. All these decisions impact on the performance of an organization.

Reward system

Kouzes and Posner (2003) defines organizational culture as a set shared beliefs, values and norms that influence the way workers behave in the workplace. The available literature has established that organizational culture has a direct impact on the employee’s job performance. A reward system can also be used to influence an organization’s culture. The rewards are either extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are tangible and they include pay, fringe benefits, bonuses and compensatory time off. On the other hand, intrinsic rewards are intangible and they include autonomy, recognition, praise from superiors, and personal satisfactions. Rewards plays an important role in the society. Firstly, rewards motivate workers hence increasing productivity. Secondly, they communicate and reinforce the desired behaviors and attitudes. The behavior and the attitudes that they reinforce, become dominant in the organization. Based on this information, it is important for a leader to decide from the onset the kind of culture he or she wants to instill and then choose a suitable rewards system. For instance, if the manager wants to achieve a participative culture then he or she should consider involving the employees in pay decisions.

Select and promote other leaders

Besides using a reward system, a leader can decide to select and promote other leaders who can help the organization to achieve its goals. This was a key strategy that Andrea Jung, Indra Nooyi and Brenda Barnes used to transform their respective companies.

Role modelling

Another way in which executives affect business entities is through their own behavior. For instance, if a leader has a passion for customer services, he or she is likely to transmit the same values to the rest of the employees. A leader could also use her skills and knowledge to influence workers to improve the weak areas in an organization.

Case studies

Andrea Jung

Andrea jung has been the Chief Executive Officer of Avon for 12 years. Avon is the largest direct seller of beauty-related products. Under her leadership the company has made ambitious plans to expand .............


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