Political Organizations and Power Differentiation Case Study

  • Length: 3 pages
  • Sources: 3
  • Subject: Political Science
  • Type: Case Study
  • Paper: #62305546

Excerpt from Case Study :

United States Congress, and the lens used in this case study analysis includes political theories. Viewed through this lens, the organization will be analyzed in terms of who has what power in the organization, who has access to agendas and control over information, what power coalitions or alliances exist, and how the unit attempts to influence other units and create upward influence in the organization. As Morgan (2006) points out, all organizations can be perceived as political systems concerned with and dependent on political activity. The United States Congress happens to take that concept of political systems a step further because the precise and overt purpose of the organization is political activity. To achieve its goals, Congress does exhibit the universal political traits of organizations that hinge on the relations among "interests, conflict, and power," (Morgan, 2006, p. 152). It is how the stakeholders in the organization pursue their interests, resolve tensions, and wield power that highlight the most salient issues. For instance, tensions within the organization can be resolved in a number of different ways such as debate or pressure. In Congress, several dynamics coexist including the bureaucratic and democratic, two of the primary means of tension resolution as outlined by Morgan (2006).

Power, defined as "the possession of authority and influence over others," is a "tool that...can lead to either positive or negative outcomes in an organization," (Merchant, n.d., p. 1). There are different types of power in organizations like Congress; those types include legitimate, expert, referent, coercive, and reward-based power. All members of Congress possess legitimate power, as each member has been publically elected and retains a political mandate to represent his or her constituency or special interest groups. Although some degree of coercive power does exist in Congress, the most potent and pervasive type of power evident in this organization is referent power. Referent power is "derived from the interpersonal relationships that a person cultivates with other people in the organization, (Merchant, n.d., p. 1). The nature of politics based on relationships and consensus building within the organization (Hirsch, 2016). Members of Congress therefore possess legitimate power but different members of the organization wield power differentially depending on their roles and relative rank in the organization. The influence of special interest groups on political negotiations in Congress cannot be underestimated, as members of Congress can align themselves with external organizations.

In terms of who has access to agendas, control over information, knowledge of procedures, and the ability to cope with uncertainty, the hundreds of members of Congress vary in their roles. Different members of Congress will oversee agendas that are meaningful to their constituency or areas of interest. For example, states that are dealing with fracking issues…

Sources Used in Documents:


Donges, P.& Jarren, O. (2014). Mediatization of political organizations. Chapter 10 in Mediatization of Politics. Esser & Stromback (Eds.): 181-199.

Hirsch, A.V. (2016). Experimentation and persuasion in political organizations. American Political Science Review 110(01): 68-84.

Merchant, P. (n.d.). 5 sources of power in organizations. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved online: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/5-sources-power-organizations-14467.html

Morgan, G. (2006). Images of Organization. Sage.

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