COHR 404 - Power and Politics

The overall objective of this course is to help you develop political intelligence: A systematic awareness of the presence and dynamics of political forces in organizations and the different styles and strategies for acquiring and managing power. This course will equip you with the ability to diagnose and deal effectively with the difficult situations you may encounter by providing you with the ability to view and to respond to these situations from an informed and thoughtful standpoint. You will learn to avoid, minimize, and effectively manage power struggles and the negative impact they may have on your career, those around you, and the quality of the decisions made in your organization.

This course presents conceptual models, tactical approaches, and self-assessment assignments to help you develop your own influence style and understand political dynamics as they unfold around you. By focusing on specific expressions of power and influence, this course gives you the opportunity to observe the effective—and ineffective—uses of power in different organizational contexts and stages of a person’s career. The subject matter will introduce difficult ethical questions. By design, this course will challenge you to define for yourself what will constitute the ethical exercise of power and influence in your life.

Learning objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • be able to identify the various sources of power in organizations.
  • be able to thoughtfully consider both the positive and negative consequences of power.
  • be able to diagnose and reflect on their personal attitudes and beliefs about power.
  • have experience in how to use power and influence to achieve personal, organizational, and social objectives.
  • be able to discuss and critically evaluate the ethical and unethical uses of power.

Prerequisite: COMM 292 and one of COMM 203, COMM 392.

Course credits:
1.5

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