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Strategic Contingencies Theory

 

Explanations > Theories > Strategic Contingencies Theory

Description | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

Intraorganizational power depends on three factors: problem skills, actor centrality and uniqueness of skill.

If you have the skills and expertise to resolve important problems, then you are going to be in demand. And by the law of supply and demand, that gives your the upper hand in negotiations. It also gives you power from the reciprocity created.

If you work in a central part of the workflow of the organization, then what you do is very important. This gives you many opportunities to be noticed. It also means you are on the critical path, such that if your part of the company fails, the whole show stops. Again creating attention and giving you bargaining power.

Finally, if you are difficult to replace, then if you do make enemies up the hierarchy, then they cannot just move you out or sideways.

Example

A production manager in an organization is in charge of a key manufacturing operation (centrality), and understands its complexities very well (uniqueness). From a long experience, when things go wrong, he is very good at fixing things, both mechanically and with the unions.

So what?

Using it

Get a job on the critical path through the organization. Become expert in problem solving in it. Acquire and defend knowledge and skills that nobody else has.

Defending

Do not let any one person become indispensable.

See also

Power

References

Hickson et al (1971)

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