Power Implications Within Competitive Organizations

Power Implications Within Competitive Organizations

Mark E. Nissen (US Naval Postgraduate School, USA), Shelley P. Gallup (US Naval Postgraduate School, USA), Paul R. Shigley (Navy Information Warfare Center Pacific, USA), and Robert M. Tanner (Navy Information Warfare Center Pacific, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3351-2.ch009
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The power of a competitive organization is often very clear: one organization is able to impose its will upon another, dominate a competitive arena, or otherwise succeed in a contested environment. However, the implications of power within such competitive organization are tenuous: the concept organization power remains ambiguous, resists quantification, and continues a longstanding lack of research attention, particularly in a dynamic context. Building upon recent work to develop a system for visualizing and measuring dynamic knowledge in the organization, the research described in this chapter addresses the power within organizations. It also identifies important linkages between organization knowledge and power, providing a novel focus on how power is wielded and perceived in the competitive organization. This elucidates how the effects of organization power on knowledge, action and performance can be measured empirically. The use and utility of this approach are illustrated through two measurement examples, both in overtly competitive contexts. The research makes a theoretic contribution by advancing a coherent approach to dynamic knowledge measurement and by extending the understanding of organization power. It makes a practical contribution also through the organization illustrations. As such, it is likely to stimulate considerable thinking, discussion, debate, and continued research.
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Although a relatively wide metaphoric net is cast in terms of reviewing the knowledge and organization literatures, building heavily upon Nissen and colleagues (2019), here the focus is on summarizing linkages between organization knowledge, power and performance. Such focus enables a streamlined background discussion and highlights prior research that is leveraged most directly through the present effort to quantify dynamic knowledge and power. Key findings from this prior research are summarized in Table 1. The interested reader is directed to Nissen and colleagues (2019) for details.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Measurement: The process of associating numbers with physical or socio-technical processes and phenomena.

Dynamics: The branch of physics concerned with motion caused by forces.

Analogic Reasoning: A fundamental cognitive process, representing a notably powerful learning and communication approach that spans many domains, that can promote creativity, and that can facilitate thinking in domains with negligible precedent.

Knowledge: That which enables action by intelligent people and machines.

Information Systems: A research field concerned with people in an organization setting, who use computer and network technologies to collect, process, analyze, distribute, and store knowledge, information, and data.

Knowledge Management: The process of leveraging intellectual capital for competitive advantage in an organization setting.

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