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Koch Industries is one of the most profitable privately held corporations in the country. In spite of being owned primarily by four brothers, it has not been immune from intense internal power plays and intrigue. A decades-long dispute between CEO Charles Koch and his younger brother Bill Koch led first to an internal battle for control of the company and ended with a lawsuit between the brothers.
Carefully review the background materials regarding sources of power within an organization and power tactics. Examples of sources of power include reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, and expert power. Examples of power tactics include forming coalitions, pressure, and exchanging favors. Make sure to understand the main power sources and tactics and know the vocabulary and definitions from the background materials before starting the assignment.
The epic battle between two of the Koch brothers tested the limits of both of their power bases within Koch Industries. Both used multiple tactics before Charles Koch ultimately secured his position of almost unrivaled power within the corporation. Do some research about this power struggle using the Trident Online Library and online news sources. Here are some articles to get you started:
Schulman, D. (2014, Jul). Koch vs. Koch. Mother Jones, 39, 16–27,64,2
Tomsho, R., (1989, Aug 09). Blood feud: Koch family is roiled by sibling squabbling over its oil empire: Fired by his brother, William sues often, helps feds to probe Koch Industries, haling mother into court. Wall Street Journal [ProQuest]
Once you have finished your research, write a 4- to 5-page paper addressing the following issues:
- What were Charles and Bill Koch’s sources of power within Koch Industries? Did they have reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, or expert power? Any other sources of power? Refer to Anderson (1998) or Luthans et al. (2015) in your answer, as you should demonstrate a solid understanding of these readings as part of your answer.
- What power tactics did each of them use in their battle for control? Refer to Anderson (1998) or Luthans et al. (2015) in your answer.
- Ultimately what do you think led to Charles Koch’s victory in this battle, and what do you think are the most important lessons on organizational power that you learned from reading about this power struggle?