Interpersonal Influences

There exist a variety of relationships (although they are not always clearly definable) between power and authority. These relationships are usually measured by "relative" decision power as a function of the authority structure, and are strongly dependent on the project organizational form.

Consider the following statements made by project managers:

• "I've had good working relations with department X. They like me and I like them. I can usually push through anything ahead of schedule."

• "I know it's contrary to department policy, but the test must be conducted according to these criteria or else the results will be meaningless" (remark made to a team member by a research scientist who was temporarily promoted to project management for an advanced state-of-the-art effort).

These two statements reflect the way two project managers get the job done.

Project managers are generally known for having a lot of delegated author-ity but very little formal power. They must, therefore, get jobs done through the use of interpersonal influences. There are five such interpersonal influences:

• Legitimate power: the ability to gain support because project personnel perceive the project manager as being officially empowered to issue orders.

• Reward power: the ability to gain support because project personnel perceive the project manager as capable of directly or indirectly dispensing valued organizational rewards (i.e., salary, promotion, bonus, future work assignments).

• Penalty power: the ability to gain support because the project personnel perceive the project manager as capable of directly or indirectly dispens ing penalties that they wish to avoid. Penalty power usually derives from the same source as reward power, with one being a necessary condition for the other.

• Expert power: the ability to gain support because personnel perceive the project manager as possessing special knowledge or expertise (that functional personnel consider as important).

• Referent power: the ability to gain support because project personnel feel personally attracted to the project manager or his project.

The following six situations are examples of referent power (the first two are also reward power):

• The employee might be able to get personal favors from the project manager.

• The employee feels that the project manager is a winner and the rewards will be passed down to the employee.

• The employee and the project manager have strong ties, such as the same foursome for golf.

• The employee likes the project manager's manner of treating people.

• The employee wants identification with a specific product or product line.

• The employee has personal problems and believes that he can get empathy or understanding from the project manager.

Figure 5-6 shows how project managers perceive their influence style.

Like relative power, interpersonal influences can be identified with various project organizational forms as to their relative value. This is shown in Figure 5-7.

For any temporary management structure to be effective, there must exist a rational balance of power between functional and project management. Unfortunately, a balance of equal power is often impossible to obtain because each project is inherently different from others, and the project managers possess different leadership abilities. Organizations, nevertheless, must attempt to obtain such a balance so that trade-offs can be effectively accomplished according to the merit of the individuals and not as a result of some established power structure.

Achievement of this balance is a never-ending challenge for management. If time and cost constraints on a project cannot be met, the project influence in decision making increases, as can be seen in Figure 5-7. If the technology or performance constraints need reappraisal, then the functional influence in decision making will dominate.

Regardless of how much authority and power a project manager develops over the course of the project, the ultimate factor in his ability to get the job done is usually his leadership style. Project managers, because of the inherent authority gaps that develop at the project-functional interface, must rely heavily on sup-

Figure 5-6.

Significance of factors of support to project management.

Source. Seminar in Project Management Workbook, © 1979 by Hans J. Thamhain. Reproduced by permission.

Figure 5-6.

Significance of factors of support to project management.

Source. Seminar in Project Management Workbook, © 1979 by Hans J. Thamhain. Reproduced by permission.

plementary techniques for getting the job done. These supplementary techniques include factors that directly affect the leadership style, such as developing bonds of trust, friendship, and respect with the functional workers. Of course, the relative importance of these techniques can vary depending on the size and scope of the project.

RELATIVE INFLUENCE

-

PRODUCT INFLUENCE IN DECISION MAKING

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FUNCTIONAL INFLUENCE IN DECISION MAKING

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2 !

3

FUNCTION AI ORGANIZATION

MATRIX ORGANIZATION

PRODUCT ORGANU

FUNCTION AI ORGANIZATION

MATRIX ORGANIZATION

PRODUCT ORGANU

(^—FUNCTIONAL AUTHORITY STRUCTURE - DUAL--PRODUCT WTHORiry STRUCTURE ■

AUTHORITY

-PRODUCT TASK -

FORCES PRODUCT TEAMS-

FUNCTIONAL TASK-

FORCES -FUNCTIONAL TËAMS-H

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HEPOR1 ;NG SYSTEM

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MANAGERS

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DUAL INFORMATION AND REPORTING! SYSTEM

REPORTING SYSTEN

Figure 5-7. The range of alternatives. Source. Jay R. Galbraith, ''Matrix Organization Designs." Reprinted with permission from Business Horizons, February 1971 (p. 37). Copyright© 1971 by the Board of Trustees at Indiana University. Used with permission.

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Responses

  • Mira
    WHAT ARE THE FIVE INTERPERSONAL INFLUENCES?
    2 years ago

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