POWER, POLITICS & CULTURE 1
Power, Politics and Culture
POWER, POLITICS & CULTURE 2
1. Influence of Politics and Power:
Politics and power play a crucial role in organizational culture. The harsh working culture
at Amazon can be attributed to the influence of politics and power. Organizations, including
Amazon, are political structures. Amazon, like other organizations, functions by allocating
authority and establishing a stage for the exercise of power by its executives, managers, and
employees. In this case, employees that are highly motivated to gain and exploit power derive a
familiar and welcoming environment at the company whereas those that are less motivated to
gain and use power may experience an unfamiliar and inhospitable working environment at
Amazon (Abraham, 1979).
The interplay between politics and power can either create a positive or negative
organizational culture. In the case of Amazon, the interplay between politics and power among
its managers and employees may have influenced its harsh work culture. Resources are often
scarce within organizations, which must be allocated however limited (Bauer & Erdogan, 2010).
In this case, individuals such as managers at Amazon may conflict on how to apportion such
resources and thus, they may innately attempt to gain the resources for themselves or their
coalition groups leading to politics at the organization (Bauer & Erdogan, 2010). Because the
managers have to make choices that meet their limited resources including efficiency and
increased productivity, they may use their influence and power to exert pressure on the
employees to achieve unrealistic goals despite the availability of limited resources. This may
lead to punitive working conditions for the employees to meet the individual agenda or self-
interest of the managers.
Additionally, power and political struggles among managers and employees may have led
to the harsh work culture at Amazon. The managers at Amazon may want employees to work
POWER, POLITICS & CULTURE 3
longer hours and commit to realistic goals. However, the employees may not be willing to
endure such extreme conditions. In this case, the managers at the organization may be using their
power and authority to attempt to make the employees comply with such working conditions.
This interplay between politics and power struggles between the managers and the employees
may have influenced the harsh work culture at Amazon.
2. Sources of Power
Explore at least one source of power and describe how management could use this
influence to benefit the department and improve organizational performance.
The major sources of power include reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, expert
power, and referent power. The current harsh work culture at Amazon shows that the
management at the organization relies on their legitimate and coercive power to influence their
departments and realize organizational performance.
The management at Amazon uses legitimate power that stems from their organization and
position to influence their departments and the company’s performance. When the management
assigns tasks or gives directives, the employees are inclined to comply with such directives
because they approve of the legitimacy of the management’s position even when they disagree
with some of the directives such as working without bathroom breaks or over-ambitious goals.
Similarly, it appears that some of the managers use coercive power to influence performance
among the employees at Amazon. Coercive power grants Amazon managers the ability to punish
the employees for noncompliance. This type of influence stems from fear and forces employees
to comply with requests that they may not ordinarily elect to do. Amazon’s workplace has been
described as being full of fear and intimidation and threats of disciplinary action or firing if an
employee objects to harsh working conditions (Kantor & Streitfeld, 2015).