Power and negotiation in safety program development in a research university
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] The research on power and negotiation in program planning has concentrated on the effects that interests have on planning. With the exception of Umble, Cervero, and Langone (2001), who briefly discussed the effects of societal and organizational pressures on power relationships, only limited attention has been given to outside influences on traditional power relationships within program planning. Hall (1997) has suggested that meta-power may alter normal power relationships and planning outcomes across space and time. This case study explored the decision making processes and outside influences on the development of a laboratory safety training program at a research university (very high research activity). More specifically, this study examined what ways meta-power and meta-negotiation (Elgstrom and Riis, 1992) are associated with the planning of a laboratory safety training program. Results found metanegotiations about power relationships affected who was seated at the planning table. Metanegotiations about conceptual frame factors over course purpose were affected by discussions about time, identified as a material frame factor by the research. Meta-power and metanegotiation were found to limit or restrict each other. Meta-power restricted meta-negotiation by making regulations non-negotiable, meta-power shifted power to strategic agencies within the institution, and meta-negotiations about material frame factors limited the influence of metapower. The research suggests that planners should be aware of the influence that outside, distal organizations have on program planning through the exercise of meta-power.
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