Often the work of a manager is forcing employees to perform a specific task in a certain way. In order for the activity and the result of the work to match the managers’ expectations, they must have an influence. This quality is vital in the workplace, as it helps to make a person to be heard. For administration representatives and managers, power and influence are significant features. If they are used correctly, they will become a factor in the organization’s success, and if power and influence are abused, they can turn into a dictatorship and become a threat. Moreover, the lack of control leads to the circumstance when high-ranking managers, with all the rights that accompany their positions, have little authority or ability to influence others. In turn, many people do not have the legal right to influence others but are incredibly influential.
Forms of Influence on the Example of TV Show
This work analyzes one episode of the television show House M. D., which was popular from 2004 to 2012. The plot of each episode of the show is devoted to an unusual medical case. However, it can be used to study influence since the medical sphere requires significant organizational efforts and managers’ professional work. It is crucial to organize employees’ collaborative work in hospital conditions and increase their devotion to the organization and duties. Managers should monitor compliance with the rules since important ethical dilemmas often arise in medicine. Moreover, doctors and nurses use their influence in communicating with patients to convince them of the need for tests, procedures, and medication. For analysis, the 14th episode of season 1, entitled Control, was chosen since part of the plot is devoted to the issue of influencing people.
The main character is the head of the diagnostic department, who uses influence for three subordinates and the hospital’s chief physician. His preferred form of influence is the reason or in communication with the administration – issue selling. He uses knowledge and assumptions to convince of the need for specific procedures. Depending on the situation, he can change the strategy – when communicating with subordinates, retribution can also be used, and with the head physician – reciprocity.
The character’s unique feature is that of the four determinants of personal power, only two are characteristic for him, but at the same time, they are so strong that they allow him to remain influential. Whetten and Cameron (2015) describe such elements as expertise, personal attraction, effort, and legitimacy. Dr. House stands out for his unique approach, knowledge, and dedication to patients. However, he tends to be rude and also disregards hospital rules (Kaplow & Zisk, 2005). Thus, expertise and effort compensate for other qualities making the character influential.
The hospital’s chief doctor is presented to the audience through communication with the main character, and therefore, the episode demonstrates how she affects him. Since Dr. House successfully neutralizes most of her ways of reason influence, she more often applies reciprocity, particularly bargaining. Thus, her choice of strategy depends on the situation and communication with a particular subordinate. However, House’s resistance is so strong that Cuddy is not always successful.
Mr. Vogler is a new character in the discussed episode – he donated a considerable amount of money to the hospital and became the chairman of the board. He does not like the main character’s disobedience to the hospitals’ rules and applies retribution tactics, in particular coercion. Vogler uses threats and blackmail to influence Dr. House, claiming that he can dismiss other employees. Although this series does not show how successful his impact is, in subsequent ones, with initial efficiency, retribution still leads to resistance from other workers and to refusal from Vogler’s help.
Other characters in the series also apply forms of influence on colleagues. The patient named Carly is a CEO of a cosmetic company, who appears before the audience at an important presentation. Here, she demonstrates expertise and uses issue selling to influence the company’s management and convince them that her department’s work is thriving. Allison Cameron, who is one of Dr. House’s department physicians, tests new impact skills. She emphasizes the benefit of a specific action, thus applying a mix of reason and reciprocity forms. Allison successfully influences both colleagues and the boss, forcing them to act according to the plan proposed by her.
In conclusion, influence is a crucial aspect of the managers’ work since it allows them to empower others to work exactly as the manager wants. Certain personal qualities and actions are necessary to obtain such power. There are several main categories of influence – retribution relating to the manager’s strength and high position, reciprocity emphasizing mutual benefit, and reason based on facts, needs, and personal values. On the example of an episode from the show House M. D., this work demonstrates various forms of influence. Choice of strategy for characters depends on the circumstances of the communication, the goals to achieve, and also on the position of the one who should be convinced. Moreover, the example showed that the effect may not always be successful since the recipient may neutralize it.
Kaplow L., (Writer), & Zisk, R. (Director). (2005). Control (Season 1, episode 14) [TV series episode]. In D. Shore (Creator), House M. D. NBC Universal Television Studios.
Whetten, D. A., & Cameron, K. S. (2015). Developing management skills, (9th ed.). Pearson