Organizational Change

Powerlessness, Employee Engagement, and Organizational Change

Powerlessness, Employee Engagement, and Organizational Change

How employees with little power get even.
 
We often associate power with corruption—dictators run kleptocracies, business leaders make selfish decisions that do little for shareholders, government and political leaders squander taxpayers dollars on pet projects, and some non-profit and charitable organizations are run more like personal fiefdoms than contribute to the social good. Although we easily recognize the corrosive effects of power, Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s 2010 article in Harvard Business Review maintained that powerlessness plays an equally toxic role in many organizations. Leaders and employees with limited power jealously guard whatever they have by not sharing information with others and insisting those who need their help follow all rules, complete all forms correctly (and in ink!), and abide to their time lines. Those who fail to pay the appropriate tributes will experience expertly honed examples of passive-aggressiveness, as their calls will be ignored, forms lost, and time lines extended.