Family businesses area especially prone to power plays since there are several opportunities for people to abuse positions of power. The immediate family of the founder and the other family members are all in positions of power that can impact the business. Sometimes, the matriarch of the family acts as a power centre instead of as a love centre – giving rise to problems in the business.
In a hierarchical structure, the power of inherited positions often conflicts with the acquired power of knowledge and merit. For example, the person who brings in the maximum business for the organization automatically accrues more power and is conflicted with someone who has power only by appointment.
Success contributes to power and power tends to make a person egoistic, thereby hampering further success. In extreme cases, it triggers feelings of invincibility and megalomania.
Power also breeds new associations that might influence the business leaders to steer the business away from the founding values.
How does power work in your organization? Do your employees feel empowered or caught in power struggles?
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Keywords: Power, human need, affiliation, achievement, inherited power, acquired power, knowledge, position, matriarch, love centre, power centre, groupism, success