MGT 420 Module #1 Case & SLP

Module 1 – Case

Power Tactics and Sources of Power

Assignment Overview

Koch Industries is one of the most profitable privately held corporations in the country. In spite of being owned primarily by four brothers, it has not been immune from intense internal power plays and intrigue. A decades-long dispute between CEO Charles Koch and his younger brother Bill Koch led first to an internal battle for control of the company and ended with a lawsuit between the brothers.

Carefully review the background materials regarding sources of power within an organization and power tactics. Examples of sources of power include reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, and expert power. Examples of power tactics include forming coalitions, pressure, and exchanging favors. Make sure to understand the main power sources and tactics and know the vocabulary and definitions from the background materials before starting the assignment.

The epic battle between two of the Koch brothers tested the limits of both of their power bases within Koch Industries. Both used multiple tactics before Charles Koch ultimately secured his position of almost unrivaled power within the corporation. Do some research about this power struggle using the Trident Online Library and online news sources. Here are some articles to get you started:

Schulman, D. (2014, Jul). Koch vs. Koch. Mother Jones, 39, 16–27,64,2

Tomsho, R., (1989, Aug 09). Blood feud: Koch family is roiled by sibling squabbling over its oil empire: Fired by his brother, William sues often, helps feds to probe Koch Industries, haling mother into court. Wall Street Journal [ProQuest]

Case Assignment

Once you have finished your research, write a 4- to 5-page paper addressing the following issues:

  1. What were Charles and Bill Koch’s sources of power within Koch Industries? Did they have reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, or expert power? Any other sources of power? Refer to Anderson (1998) or Luthans et al. (2015) in your answer, as you should demonstrate a solid understanding of these readings as part of your answer.
  2. What power tactics did each of them use in their battle for control? Refer to Anderson (1998) or Luthans et al. (2015) in your answer.
  3. Ultimately what do you think led to Charles Koch’s victory in this battle, and what do you think are the most important lessons on organizational power that you learned from reading about this power struggle?

Assignment Expectations

  • Follow the assignment instructions closely and follow all steps listed in the instructions.
  • Stay focused on the precise assignment questions; don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.
  • Make sure to cite readings from the background materials page. Rely primarily on the required background readings as your sources of information.
  • Include both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 13 and 14 on in-text citations.

Module 1 – SLP

Power Tactics and Sources of Power

For the Session Long Project this session you will be applying the concepts from the background materials to your own personal experiences in the workplace. You likely have experienced many if not all of the concepts at one point or another in your career, but you may not have been familiar with the precise terminology.

In preparation for the SLP, make sure you have a thorough grasp of the terminology from the background materials including the main sources of power and types of power tactics. Once you are comfortable with the terminology and concepts from the background materials, think of a manager that you worked with closely who held a fair amount of power at the organization you worked for. Then write a 2- to 3-page paper addressing each of the following questions. For each answer, make sure to cite at least one reference from the required background readings.

  1. What were this manager’s main sources of power? Include a discussion of reward power, legitimate power, and expert power as well as other sources of power discussed in the background readings.
  2. Discuss some power tactics used by this manager. Include a discussion about whether or not this manager used the power tactics discussed in Anderson (1998) and Luthans et al. (2015) from the background materials.
  3. Did this manager make good use of his or her sources of power and power tactics, or did they misuse or abuse their power?

SLP Assignment Expectations

  • Follow the assignment instructions closely and follow all steps listed in the instructions.
  • Stay focused on the precise assignment questions; don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.
  • Make sure to cite readings from the background materials page. Rely primarily on the required background readings as your sources of information.
  • Include both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 13 and 14 on in-text citations.

Course Materials/Bibliography

Module 1

Required Material

Power tactics. (2014). Pearson Learning Solutions. New York, NY.

Luthans, F., Luthans, K. W., & Luthans, B. C. (2015). Chapter 10: Power and Politics. Organizational Behavior: An Evidence-based Approach. Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing, pp. 280-287 [eBook Business Collection]

Anderson, D. A. (1998). Using power and influence tactics for better results. Marine Corps Gazette, 82(12), 37-38. [ProQuest]

Haneberg L. (2012). Chapter 5: Positively using your power. The ASTD Management Development Handbook : Innovation for Today’s Manager. Alexandria, Va: American Society for Training & Development. [eBook Business Collection] 

Required Case Assignment Reading

Schulman, D. (2014, Jul). Koch vs. Koch. Mother Jones, 39, 16-27,64,2

Tomsho, R., (1989, Aug 09). Blood feud: Koch family is roiled by sibling squabbling over its oil empire—fired by his brother, William sues often, helps feds to probe Koch Industries—haling mother into court. Wall Street Journal [Proquest]

Optional Material

Pfeffer J. (2010). Power play. Harvard Business Review, July-August, Vol 88 Issue 7/8, p. 85-92. [Business Source Complete]

Robbins, S. (1997). Chapter 11: Power and politics. Essentials of Organizational Behavior. Pearson Education, New York, NY. Retrieved from www.rim.edu.bt/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/OBCDCH116.pdf

Hellriegel, D. & Slocum, J. (2004). Chapter 9: Power and political behavior. Organizational Behavior 10th Edition. Mason, Ohio : Thomson/South-Western. Retrieved from http://www.swlearning.com/management/hellriegel/ob10e/isc/web_chapters/00-032C09.pdf







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