Question 1Based on the case study provided, one could argue that Thomas Green was politically skilled in some instances, and in others he lacked the ideas to drive his political agenda. One of the political skills that helped him at Dynamic Displays was his interpersonal influence. When he arrived at this organization, he managed to dazzle other people through his compelling interpersonal style. By managing to establish rapport with others he obtained a managerial position at the firm at a very tender age of just 28 when others in this position were in their forties. Apart from that his apparent sincerity also singles him out as a good leader. After being promoted to a senior market specialist, his first task was to review the year-to-year sales to determine the accuracy of those sales. Despite having the mentioned skilled, he lacked the social astuteness needed to play the office politics in this organization. He could not realize that the senior management would be on his trail once he was promoted. His inability to sense these elements ultimately led to his downfall.
From the information provided in the case study and the troubles Green faced once he was promoted to the position of a senior market specialist, it is right to suggest that Dynamic Displays had a politically charged environment. One could stem from the fact that senior executives Frank Davis, the marketing director and Shannon McDonald, the division vice president felt threatened by the positive energy Green had brought to the organization despite his tender age. They felt threatened of their positions, hence, the reason for making the office more political knowing that Green would not be able to play this game. Once he attained this position, the aforementioned executives were always on his case by micromanaging every activity he indulged and disrupting him even when not necessary. By always finding faults with what he did, it is right to suggest that the environment at Dynamic Displays was always politically charged. One could argue that Green’s lack of experience counted against him. However, he should have known better that in such organization, being on the right side of office politics is key to having the right relationship with the managers.
When he first worked at Dynamic Displays, Thomas Green was deployed as an account executive and he was to serve in the Southeast territory for the Travel and Hospitality Division. In his early months at this firm, his main function involved completing contracts for Journey Airlines, one of the largest airline carriers in the country. Due to his exceptional work rate, the firm’s management noticed his efforts and quickly promoted him to a senior market specialist once this position remained open. His role quickly changed in this organization after being promoted to this role. After the promotion, he was shifted to Boston, the headquarters of the firm. In this role, he was supposed to identify the industry trends, evaluate the new business opportunities, as well as establish sales objectives. All these functions differed from his previous one because in this role he was more of a supervisor than a supervisee. Moreover, he directly reported to Frank Davis, whereas in the past he did not have a direct engagement with such a senior executive.
In Dynamic Displays’ Travel and Hospitality Division, Shannon McDonald, Frank Davis, and Thomas Green are three most senior executives in that order. However, their sources of power differ. Shannon McDonald being the top most official in this division has legitimate power. Also known as positional power, it comes from the fact that she holds the highest ranked position in the hierarchy. One could also argue that Frank Davis, also has a legitimate power, given that he is the division’s marketing director. On the other hand, Green’s power comes from his expertise in the division. The knowledge he possesses in this area is the reason why he was selected as the senior market specialist. His understanding of the different market dynamics as well as problem solving skills is the reason behind his holding of this position. If he was lacked such knowledge, he would not have been promoted given that the firm had other experienced heads. Green’s position could be attributed to referent power given the good interpersonal relationships he had with other employees when he first arrived in the firm.
As seen in the case study, Green’s influence in the organization and relationship with the other senior executives started to wane immediately after his promotion. It is worth noting that his problems were mainly created by internal conflicts with the other officials. Despite these challenges, Green could make the politics to work for him. If Green held the top most position, he could have remapped the organization chart to work in his favor. Since he lacks this option, he can focus on building relationships with everyone in the organization. He should get to know the politically influential people within the organization. Green could also focus on having these relationships with the employees who have informal power. He should become a better listener and make the most of the network he already has. Given that most of his troubles in the organization have been brought by negative play, Green should focus on neutralizing it. He can attain this by knowing people and being courteous about their needs. Understanding the elements that motivate them is also key in countering this negative energy.
- Clarke, J. (2012). Savvy: Dealing with People, Power and Politics at Work. London: Kogan Page Publishers.