Power, Politics, and Knowledge
Power, Politics, and Knowledge
Steven Luke uses his theoretical perspective of the three dimensional models of power with the main intent of highlighting the various factors integrated in this feature as a major concept in organizational and societal developments. In his discussions, he emphasizes that power is a multi-faceted factor that has a close connection with democracy despite the conflicting nature of the concepts. Based on his argument, power is an influential factor in any social setting. For this reason, powerful individuals have the ability to alter the thoughts and behaviors of other people in a particular decision-making process (Lukes 2009, 27). The policies and values preferred by the person in such a powerful position overrides the interests of his or her subjects. For example, political leaders use their positions and acquired resources to block any policy that would deter them from meeting their personal needs.
In the three-dimensional view of power, Luke indicates that power may result in the manipulation of other people’s psychology. This is a form of institutionalized supremacy, which individuals in various positions utilize to modify the perception adopted by persons within his or her jurisdiction on reality. This leads to a state of latent conflict (Lukes 2009, 35). This environment has no notable differences between the influential individuals in the society and those outside the authority structure. This state of affairs puts emphasis on the paradox between power and democracy. While power involves the utilization of one’s position and the available resources to promote a particular policy or value that allows one to meet his or her personal needs, the latter concept encourages the adoption of techniques that disallow destructive conflicts in different settings (Lukes 2009, 47).
As I evaluate these philosophical perspectives, I cannot help but relate Luke’s concepts to the key principle in modern advertisements. Various commercial organizations use marketing tools and tactics that compel customers within the targeted market segments to consider these products as the only viable alternatives in the market. For instance, McDonald’s portray their products and services as the most appealing in the market. Although the general population is aware of the health risks associated with such foodstuffs as French fries and burgers, this company continues to record an overwhelming sales percentage on a daily basis. Accordingly, the manipulative nature of power is one of the aspects that best explains such situations. In these promotion tactics, they portray a situation where the targeted customers use their independence to choose the products. This relates to Luke’s theory, which links democracy and power (Lukes 2009, 49). Furthermore, as this philosopher explains on the use of one’s supremacy to alter the perceived reality in a societal subgroup, McDonald’s uses effective techniques in modifying the perception of the general population on the health aspect of its goods.
Machiavelli uses certain social values and principles to justify his position on power and the suitable techniques that individuals in various authoritative positions should adopt in order to succeed in attaining their preset objectives. To begin with, he refutes the conventional claim regarding the need for a leader to execute his or her official duties in a manner that concurs with the moral principles promoted by the society (Machiavelli 2013, 89). According to his argument, it is irrational to establish a moral basis for the evaluation of the legitimacy of power utilization. In addition, he equates the influential nature of power to supremacy.
For this reason, the societal and political settings dictate that those in powerful positions rule those outside the authority-based structure. However, the attainment and maintenance of this supremacy is not because of the activities of the individual under consideration, which the community considers as morally acceptable. For example, a political leader may rule for several continuous terms despite the existing competition and questionable moral values (Machiavelli 2013, 90). This is because his or her tactics focus on acquiring a broader and more stable foundation of power as opposed to seeking approval from the community based on his or her goodness.
In addition, this philosopher argues that comprehension of the most effective means of utilizing power will increase one’s influence in the society. Based on this notion, a successful leader uses his activities to persuade his or her subjects to obey the proposed policies. This aids him or her to maintain his position for along period. In addition, Machiavelli asserts that the coercive force within the reach of the political rulers is one of the chief factors that result in the adherence of the formulated laws (Machiavelli 2013, 110). In most cases, the general population does not follow the formulated laws because of their relation to the society’s moral values or essence in meting their personal needs but rather consider the possible consequences that may arise from questioning these policies. This fear is in accordance with his supposition that shows the inevitable use of violence in such situations. For example, the national laws formulated by political leaders may recommend the loss of life or certain privileges for people who do not follow the set rules. This shows the effectiveness of using violent techniques cautiously as a ruler (Machiavelli 2013, 111).
This theoretical perspective relates to the legal principles governing the political and social domains in a nation. I now understand why the structures of all political parties hardly use moral values to enhance their influence in the community. For example, in the United States, political leaders use political parties such as the Republican and Democrat to obtain and maintain significant positions in the country’s political system. At times, the values of these political entities differ with the conventional moral values although this aspect does not have a significant effect on the perception of the public about the candidates and the entire political sphere. For instance, these major political parties have a larger base of supporters in certain ethnic communities and social classes. Although this is against the basic value that discourages discrimination, the general populace continues to adhere to the parties’ operational mechanisms.
The objectives of any commercial organization revolve around the need to increase their market share and the subsequent returns. This is only possible by aiding the targeted customers to understand that the offered products are the best alternative in the market (Storey 2009, 40). Accordingly, the marketing principles used by the business institutions aim at using the concept of persuasion to acquire the benefits of power without employing the coercive force. In the workplace, the human resources ought to understand that obtaining power does not equate to dictation. It is an effective approach of influencing the decisions and behaviors of the employees in different positions within the corporate hierarchy while still acknowledging their contributions to the development of the company. For example, the formal model of supremacy offers a manager the power to reward or punish an employee depending on his or her behavior. The approach used by the supervisor depends on his or her evaluation of the mistake so long as the decided act is in accordance with the policies governing the company (Storey 2009, 45)
In my view, these arguments justify the need for all the human resources to acquire and improve their persuasive skills within the organizational setting and other platforms that facilitate career development. These skills are not only efficient in attaining the trust of the customers but they will also be useful in creating and maintaining cordial relationships with one’s colleagues and the senior management. In addition, the personal goals of an employee should consist of the increase of one’s influence and power. This is only possible through the attainment of the persuasive skills, which are essential at the team and organizational levels.
As a college student, I have observed the impact of persuasion from a personal and team perspective. To start with, perseverance is an attribute required for successful leadership and the subsequent attainment of persuasive skills. This resilience propels other individuals to modify their behaviors in order to facilitate the accomplishment of your objectives. This explains why this attribute has a clear link with the concept of teamwork. As I have learnt from my personal experiences, it is difficult to perceive failure as a developmental platform without the help of other people. Furthermore, proper communication tactics enhances one’s sense of persuasion (Storey 2009, 51). This is in accordance with the correlation between power and communication.
Lukes, S., 2009. Power: a radical view. New York, Palgrave Macmillan.
Machiavelli, N., 2013. Il principe = The prince. Milton Keynes, JiaHu Books.
Storey, R., 2009. Perfect persuasion. London, Random House.
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